The Gifts that Remain

As a boy, the youngest of eight children, my brothers and sisters drew names for Christmas each year. When I was four or five, my sister Jean had my name and put a gift for me under the tree. She wrapped the gift so that it looked like a roll of paper towels or two rolls of toilet paper. When I sneaked in and gave the gift a good shake, it was soft and made not a sound, so I decided my sister must have wrapped up toilet paper as my Christmas gift.

On Christmas morning I emptied my stocking and opened my other presents, leaving the TP under the tree. Finally, Jean and then Mom encouraged me to open her gift. It was a little stuffed donkey which quickly became a favorite in my menagerie of stuffed animals.

Last month in an Advent sermon I told this story, thinking about unopened gifts. My mother was listening online, and remembered her stash of old toys, now passed down through grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sure enough, my little donkey, after fifty-five years and generations of abuse, was still there.

So today, an early birthday present from my mother came in the mail with this note:

Drew - 

Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day. It's hard to believe my baby is sixty years old. I must be very, very old.

The gift enclosed is also old. You will notice wear and tear. After you mentioned it, I felt I must send it back to you. 

Love, - Mom

And there was my donkey, looking rather pitiful, but still kicking. I must say I was as touched to receive this little fellow today as the first time I opened it fifty-five years ago. Grateful today for a mother's love and all the gifts that remain.


Unknown said…
Lovely story. These are the memories that make Christmas rich, not only for the very important One we celebrate, but for the family that shaped our lives. And happy birthday, belated!
Bob Perry
Unknown said…
Awww loved this story today! Happy Birthday Drew and many more!
LisaatLeisure said…
Oh, Drew! I’m teary-eyed as I type this comment. What a beautiful gift and memory.

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