My Grandparents on my Father’s side were always gracious in remembering birthdays and Christmas gifts to (as far as I can tell) all of their 13 grandchildren. The gifts weren’t lofty – usually a 10 spot or sometimes a 20 for the family to split (Dad -where is my 25% by the way?). We’d often lovingly joke about the riches we had just inherited when the card arrived in the mail.
So when my Grandmother Elsie Renda gave me a blanket that she had hand made, to be honest the gift was lost on me. It wasn’t cash, or whatever cash could have bought me that i was into back in those days. To be frank, and embarrassed now, I never paid it much attention. I lugged it across country during my “finding myself” moves and shared it with someone from time to time, but it went back in the trunk or attic when the Summer came or the stranger left. I’m sure I said “Thank You” and even meant it – I was raised to be visibly polite and to accept gifts with a certain appreciation even if I feigned more than I ought to have. I packed it up, moved along and went about the securing of more gifts. A vagabond hopping along the Christmas gifts highway, stowing as much in my sack as possible with little regard to why or how.
I recently celebrated my 40th birthday and 2 weeks later my son celebrated his 3rd. I watched with bemusement how he opened his gifts – his joy instant and immediate, but fleeting as everything to a 3 year old is. His sister at 6 understands more but can be prone to the same shaking and dismissal of clothes (unless its the 45th Frozen shirt that will find its way into her dresser). Go for the biggest box available seems to be her motto. And like any Big Sister her words carry weight so Lucas dives for the next box. I worry that they will be the selfish child I was and pray I do a good enough job to let them be children as long as they can but become adults when they need to.
With Christmas season approaching at rapid pace everything is for sale. The tv, the mail delivered directly to one “Olivia Renda” is full of everything any little girl could – and does – want. No Daddy I NEED this one, she says. To all things. She can’t sleep without another Elsa doll or a set of Barbie Rockin’ Stage Legos I will assemble once, her brother will subsequently destroy in less than a nanosecond, and I will spend the remainder of my life cursing as I step on long-lost parts in the middle of my nightly naked-footed old man pee breaks.
Christmas also means cold. And Lucas was chilly the other night. I had my Grandmother’s blanket on and he wanted it. He liked the blue color, and since I had it, he HAD to have it. I laid it over him and he leaned up against me like only a Son can to his Father. There we both sat, warm and huddled. Lucas watching his wants displayed in full on tv, me finally recognizing the lifetime span of my Grandmother’s gifts. I never thanked Meme as much as I should have. Now as her gift of warmth keeps my future generations warm I finally can.