What is the best Christmas present you received? What is the best one you gave?
I talked about the jacket I got that was the perfect gift at the perfect time in Christmas in February (and there's a great photo of it, too). I still think that was the best gift I have received, because it was exactly what I wanted and it was still such a surprise that I got it. That's hard to pull off. But mom and dad did it. Hooray for mom and dad! Hooray for me!
Another great gift I received was a bit more unconventional. It happened last year, when Suzy allowed me to attend the Children's Book Writer's Conference in Big Sur. It was a magical experience, and I got so much of what I'd been looking for in critique, suggestion, and advice for several years. I met some wonderful people from all over the country and bonded with them-- told stories, laughed-- it was a whirlwind of activities and learning and cheerful growth-- like getting the right medicine and finally getting a chance to be well after years of suffering... Thank you, Suzy, for trusting that I could handle such a thing by myself at a pivotal time in my recovery-- and even though I ended up back in the hospital, I think it made me a better person, a better man. I became in tune with my heart and really felt whole for the first time in a very long time. And coming out of the hospital, afterward, I think I was the most put together that I've been since the diagnosis. I received very good care at the Kaiser facility and made strides toward wellness that I haven't made in years. So I got a gift from Suzy in allowing us to splurge on Big Sur, which led to more gifts from my caregivers and fellow "students" at the hospital. And all well before Christmas!