Last month’s post demonstrated a sweet side of teenagers and mother-in-laws. Today I’ll show how the season of gift-giving does not have to stop when the holidays are over.
The blinding glare of the late afternoon sun forces me to walk down the narrow paved street with my eyes almost closed. The warmth which penetrates my face, shoulders, and arms feels so soothing.
To my left I can hear the clicking sound of 16 little black toe nails tapping out a rhythm on the pavement. The main reason I decided to take this walk was to reward my sweet dog after she tremblingly endured me trimming her thick, fast-growing nails.
“The rough asphalt and concrete will file them nice and smooth by the time we get home. She needs the exercise, too.” The thought makes me smile; I always love accomplishing two things at once.
I turn my face away from the bright sun and look behind me to check for traffic before turning onto another street. No one is in sight in this sleepy neighborhood. No trucks, no cars, no trains, no planes, nothing disturbs the air except the pleasant sound of birds chirping and the continued pitter-pat of my faithful companion’s feet.
The sun emerges from behind a small wisp of cirrus cloud. “This is so relaxing,” I muse as the sun’s warmth intensifies slightly, now concentrated on my left shoulder. “This moment is like a special gift, appearing out of nowhere between last week’s snow and next week’s forecasted cold front.”
A happy realization flashes in my mind: “I’ve had a lot of wonderful moments like this lately, many special gifts and blessings!”
My thoughts wander over things that have happened since the holidays, and the “gifts” begin to stack up in my mind…
- On one of the coldest Saturdays right after Christmas, our central heater quit working. We tried several things to fix it, but had to give up and call a repairman. Fortunately for us, we were able to borrow a small electric heater while we waited. And, more fortunately, the heater was not broken after all! A small safety switch had flipped during the night due to unusually strong winds that happened to blow down the exhaust pipe at just the right angle. The repairman figured it out in less than five minutes, showed me where the switch was, and gave us a few extra tips about the heater. Then he left with a friendly goodbye and said it would be no charge for his time.
- The next weekend, my family was invited to a lunch in honor of special friends of ours who were back in town for a wedding. We were able to attend the wedding with them later that afternoon. The very creative bride had been making plans for the event for nearly a year, and it truly was one of the most beautiful weddings I’d ever been to. Every tiny detail was amazingly coordinated to be as fun and beautiful as possible, right down to their departure in the evening under the light of a tree-filled courtyard draped in miles of pale blue holiday lights.
- My daughter had her wisdom teeth surgically removed. I had misgivings after an initial consult with an oral surgeon. Thankfully, we followed the recommendation of several friends and got a second opinion. The second surgeon did a wonderful job (and saved us $1,300 in the process — HOORAY!). During the procedure, I was chatting animatedly with a friendly lady in the waiting room. Suddenly, in walks my husband with a large bouquet of flowers in hand. He had worked it out to take a break away from his job to give sympathy to his girl. On the drive home, our drugged-up daughter couldn’t remember how she got into the car or why she suddenly had her coat on; but she did remember getting the flowers from her daddy.
- The threat of surgery was looming over my mother. Thanks, again, to the recommendation of friends, she found a doctor with an alternative treatment idea. Within hours of meeting the doctor, my mother was feeling better, and surgery was no longer even on the horizon. We all breathed a sigh of relief for that one!
- Another weekend, we were able to spend the day with family, touring their new house. It was a lovely home on a great piece of land, that put put them quite a few miles closer to us, too. I’m so happy for them!
I notice the sound of panting has joined the rhythm of my dog’s tapping toes. Her tongue is hanging out and she’s fallen behind me a bit, so I slow our pace for the last couple of blocks. I search my memory during the remainder of our sunny walk and easily add more “gifts” to my growing pile.
- Teaching Home Ec as part of my daughter’s homeschool schedule means I’ve had motivation and help for deep cleaning the house!
- We woke to a beautiful, and unexpected snowy day, which afforded me an easy excuse to practice my photography hobby.
- My husband and I were invited to a get-together with a group of college students from church. It is so fun to spend time with them!
- I’ve been missing my busy best friend. Out of the blue, she set up an evening to go out to dinner with my daughter and I. We had a great time catching up, and she even demanded to pick up the tab. Finances are going well this month! Lol
- I surprised my mother-in-law by cooking some very low-salt venison chili to share with her. She is on a low sodium diet and was so excited about the mention of chili that she gave me a big hug. After sharing a couple of bowls with my neighbor, he told me, “I honestly think that’s the best chili I’ve ever eaten. I’m not kidding! It was that good.” (And he’s in his 80s — that’s a lot of opportunity for tasting chili! Lol)
The reverie ends as we arrive back home. “What a month it’s been! The best gifts don’t come don’t come in a package…”
My pup collapses in the middle of the living room and prepares for a nap. My husband looks up from the football game he’s watching and gives me a smile. My cup runs over!