I wrote this post last year about a very emotional moment created by my nephew during our 2014 Christmas festivities. Well, that emotional little apple did not fall far from the paternal tree.
Last year (2014) was the first Christmas without my mother so it was a very emotional time for all of us. This past Christmas, I vowed I would get my shit together and celebrate the holiday the way my mom would have wanted us to – with happiness and joy and time with family. And although it was filled with all of those things, my brother threw in a bit of overwhelming sentiment and my tears flowed freely once again on the eve of our Christmas Day celebration.
As I have for every Christmas Eve since 1976, with the exception of the one year I lived in Halifax, I donned my gear and headed out to gather, en masse, at the end of a family driveway to watch Santa Claus go by on the Fire Truck. The weather was comparatively balmy and Santa was much more jovial than he was two years ago when he was braving the minus 30 C temperatures. After the truck had disappeared, we went inside and my brother handed me a Christmas gift bag. I was instructed to wait until I got home to open it and my first question was “do I require Kleenex”. That question was remarkably redundant.
When I got home, I carefully opened the box and found myself holding what looked like a jewelry box with the words “Dear Daughter” embossed on top. I thought about what a lovely gesture it was and then I lifted the lid and realized it was a music box. Somewhat reluctantly, I turned the dial and the song, unrecognizable at first, began to play.
As soon as the familiar strain was recalled by my memory, the first tear slid slowly down my cheek. It was immediately followed by a torrent of emotion and I was in a full-blown ‘ugly cry’. The song was Edelweiss. It was a song I had known since I was a child. And it was a song that my mother and I would sing together as we continued our holiday ritual by watching “The Sound of Music” together every Christmas Eve.
I couldn’t bring myself to watch it in 2014, but this past year I vowed I would, and I did. And each time Edelweiss played in the movie, I found myself lost in a sea of tears once again, but they were happy tears.
My brother not only picked the perfect gift but he held onto that gift for a year because he knew I wouldn’t have been ready to receive it a year earlier. I have remembered a lot of gifts I received during the holidays but this gift, this truly touching gift, is the one I will always cherish the most. Not only did it come from the heart of someone I love and will fiercely defend, it represents the heart of the person who created us both. I cannot think of a better gift.