“A Most Wanted and Needed Gift,” Dec. 14, 2021

Early in December, I start watching for my most wanted and needed gift. I never know what it will be, until it drops in my lap like a feather falling from heaven. When I see it, I always smile and shake my head.

The first Christmas I recall, I was almost 4 years old. My parents were divorced. I lived with my mother and missed my dad.

Christmas Eve, as she put me to bed, I said, “Mama, can I see my daddy for Christmas?”

“Not for Christmas,” she said, “but maybe soon. Go to sleep.”

I didn’t sleep. A knock at the door sent my heart flying. But it wasn’t my dad. It was the man my mother hoped to marry.

They went in the kitchen for cofffee. I fell asleep, but awoke a bit later to hear my mother arguing with someone at the door. Then she went in the kitchen and said to her friend, “It’s him. He’s putting together a toy for her. He won’t be long.”

Him? Santa? I tiptoed to the living room. And there on the floor—assembling the doll house of my dreams—was my dad!

I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. So I smiled, shook my head and went back to bed. I loved that doll house. But what I most wanted and needed was to see my dad for one moment and know he was thinking of me.

A week later, when I went to visit him and his folks on their farm, I said, “I saw you fixin’ my doll house Christmas Eve.”

“I saw you, too,” he said, then added with a wink, “and I stole that doll house off Santa’s sled.”

I could tell you stories about every Christmas I’ve been given a most wanted and needed gift. But we aren’t getting younger, so I’ll fast forward to this year.

My sister and brother and I are the oldest survivors of our family. They live in South Carolina. I live in California. We try to keep in touch by phone.

Bobbie recently moved to an assisted living facility. And Joe, who is totally blind and severely impaired by cerebral palsy, lives alone in public housing. Sending them gifts has never been easy, and it seems it’s getting harder.

The only gift Bobbie says she wants is a visit. Or candy. Due to Covid, I can’t visit her. So I sent her a box of candy and a small Christmas tree. I hope by some miracle they will reach her.

Joe is even harder. In recent years, most packages I’ve sent to him were stolen from his porch. Gift certificates and personal checks vanish from his mail box. Even shipments that require his signature don’t always work. Joe moves like a drunken snail with a walker. By the time he gets to the door, the carrier is gone.

“Don’t worry, Sister,” he says. “You don’t need to send me anything. I know you love me.”

It’s hard to picture my brother getting nothing for Christmas. But I couldn’t find a solution.

Then I called Bobbie and found her in rare high spirits.

“Martha came to see me!” she said, “and, bless her heart, she brought me all these treats!”

Martha is my forever friend. We grew up together and have stayed close, despite living miles apart. We don’t talk often, but when we do, it’s hard to say goodbye. When I phoned to thank her for visiting Bobbie, we spent a good hour catching up.

Finally, I said, “Thank you for visiting my sister. It meant more to me than it did to her. And she loved it. Especially the treats.”

Martha laughed. “I will do anything for you. I want to help. What can I do for Joe?”

Suddenly, there it was—my most wanted, most needed gift. I smiled and shook my head.

So I’ll send Joe’s gift to Martha. She’ll drive 30 miles in any kind of weather and maybe get lost looking for his place, but she’ll make sure he gets it.

Kindness is a gift any time of year. But it is especially wanted and needed at Christmas.

I wish you much kindness this Chistmas and always. I hope you get lots of it and give it all away.

And I pray you’ll be blessed, as I am, with a friend like Martha, whose kindness to you and to those you love will keep you smiling and shaking your head.

Comments

  1. Yes! We all need “Marthas” in our lives. And Sharon, too. Christmas and New Year’s Blessings to you and yours.

  2. Kate Sciacca says:

    Blessings to you and your dear family and friends! And I’m quite certain your dad DID grab that dollhouse off of Santa’s sleigh… how ELSE would he have gotten it?????

    My sleigh has a six hour window to get over the hill… I’m off to attempt the journey tomorrow. 🙏🏻🙏🏻

  3. Taska S Maybry says:

    Friendship is a blessing from above. Merry Christmas!
    Love, Taska

  4. Darlene says:

    As always, your column was so beautifully written I can imagine every moment as it occurred! Although, it left me wishing I could hear about all your Christmas gifts from the age of 5 to now! Could you contact a local church near Joe (even if he isn’t a member) and ask if there are any volunteers that are willing to perform occasional tasks, such as delivering packages to Joe? Our church has a name for those volunteers, although it is escaping me right now (Once in a blue moon volunteers?). I’d gladly do it if I didn’t live as far away as I do in Pennsylvania. Thank you for the gift of your beautiful stories! Have a Merry Christmas!💞

  5. Tim Bridler says:

    Sharon,
    Your columns are a wonderful gift.
    Thank you.

  6. Sarah Christopher says:

    How wonderful of Martha to do that! I have a little pillow that says, “ It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” That speaks to the friendship that you and Martha have maintained over these years. It’s a great blessing! Please give her my love when you have occasion to speak with her.
    I wish you and your family a warm and blessed Christmas together. Much love, Sarah

  7. Terry says:

    How true! Merry Christmas to you and yours. Your column is my favorite part of Monday..its a gift! Thank you
    Terry

  8. Cathy Followell says:

    Merry Merry Christmas to you Sharon. I feel like you are one of my sisters. The holidays are hard when you think of times past and miss those who are gone. I try every year to pass on to my grandchildren at least a smidgen of Christmas past. I hope you and your family have a holiday season filled with love and God’s blessings. My very best to you from Oklahoma, of all places!

  9. CHope Hall says:

    God bless you & yours at this special time of year. Your writings always help me so very much. You are a special person. Take care & keep writing.

  10. Peter Rankin says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours from the Rankin family in Nova Scotia.

  11. Katie says:

    Loved this piece. God surely does provide and when we see his hand in our answered prayers it is a blessing to all involved. Thanks for sharing these special moments in your life and your siblings. God is good! Merry Christmas to you and yours! Katie

  12. Susan Costanzo says:

    Everybody should have a Martha in their life. I am blessed to have a few! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  13. Patsy Styers says:

    Loved loved this column. It made me cry a little. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Please keep doing what you do it makes my day when I get to read your columns.❤️

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