Thursday, September 29, 2011
My grandmother, Mamaw had lived a full, long life and was in her late 80’s. My whole family converged on her house in East Alabama to celebrate her last Christmas on this earth.
My sister, Maresa, had her husband and two kids there. I was there with my husband and two kids.
Celebrating Christmas at someone else’s house is always hectic. In addition to the normal packing, there is last minute shopping to insure that everyone has a gift. I was horrified to realize after we had arrived at Mamaw’s house that I had failed to get her a Christmas gift. What do you buy for someone that has accumulated a lifetime of possessions and memories? Someone that, if she needs something, she can just go out and buy whatever she needs? It was a hard task for the well organized person, much less for me.
So, I did what I had always done when we were growing up. I told Maresa about my error.
Her smile immediately calmed me as she said, “Don’t worry about it. I bought some extra presents. I have something that I can give you to give her. And it is already wrapped.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief. My wonderful sister had come through for me once again.
Mamaw had a gas fireplace. It was great: the beauty and warmth without the mess of a traditional fireplace. It had to be manually lighted. The best thing to use was long matches, which gave the most protection from being burned. They were twelve to 18 inches long. Maresa had bought a box of those for Mamaw’s Christmas present and this is what she was letting me give her instead. Maresa always had the best ideas!!
On Christmas day, we all gathered around the Christmas tree after breakfast and someone distributed the gifts. My grandmother opened her matches and she was so excited! She told me that it was the best gift that she had received. I just chuckled and shot a glance over at my sister who was chuckling too. Then Mamaw started talking about how good I was at picking out gifts, and buying presents at Christmas. Well, she just flat out started bragging on me to everyone. I just smiled and kept looking back and forth from Maresa to Mamaw.
I was wondering if Maresa would tell her the truth: that it was her idea and her gift, not mine. She never said a word. As the day progressed, and my Aunt and cousins all called Mamaw to wish her a Merry Christmas, Mamaw bragged on me and my gift to her to every one of them. Every time she did this, I would look at Maresa with eyes widened and a smile and Maresa would just smile back. She never divulged our secret.
That selfless act of Maresa’s was truly a gift to me.
copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins