Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Christmas in October

I think the Journal Jar would like it to be Christmas all year round.  Look what it has to say today (in October, no less...)

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!

The Kolbs

Shifting gears to try and talk about gifts given instead of received... wow.  That's hard.  I don't remember anything standout right off the bat.  Come to think of it... I think the year that I framed up the Kolb family portrait and gave one to each of the siblings (and their offspring, and others that requested one) was a good one.  It was the first Christmas without "Daddy" and the family was grieving the loss of him earlier in the year.  Years earlier, we had gathered under the Kolb Place street sign for a photo session while all of the kids happened to be in town, and I had snapped a few shots and eventually settled on one that I liked of all the kids and mom and dad.  Then that Christmas, Suzy and I found a stack (a large stack) of picture frames at a store on sale.  I think we counted out 15 of them and set to work.  I got the prints enlarged to fit the frames and we assembled each one with care.  When the time came to open the gifts, we handed them all out and had everyone open them at the same time.  It was a very quiet room, filled with the emotion.  And love.  A few tears were shed, and we embraced the memory of Daddy and longed to have him there, passing out the gifts and running the show.  We quietly resumed the celebration with him on our minds and in our hearts.


Suzy said...

Definitely great gifts on both the sending and receiving ends. I do love that gift but one of the best you ever gave was my engagement ring. That has led to so many more gifts over the years and I am a better person for them.

Deb said...

Great picture!

I got rocks...