Holidays are always the hardest and Christmas is the pinnacle of pain.
The tree is up…big deal.
It’s missing all of Eric and Jena’s handmade ornaments hanging off its fake, lighted limbs.
No Christmas dishes are out.
No Christmas cookies are baking in the oven.
No Christmas cards will be written.
No, I’m not a Ba-Humbug kind of person, I just don’t care anymore.
It’s just that Jena took the magic with her.
If you listen carefully, you can hear her yelling at me right now.
“Mom, get a grip!”
“Where’s the Christmas music?”
“Where’s the Santa sugar cookies?”
“And where’s my glittered pine cone I made in second grade?”
She’d be so angry with me for the way I’m acting. She’d also be bugging me which present was hers under the tree; holding each one up, shaking, guessing…
One morning in December of 2007 I woke up from a “Jena” dream. Jena was shaking a wrapped present and said, “I just know this is my favorite gift, ever!” When I asked her what she meant, she smiled and told me I’d figure it out. Then I woke up.
Great…riddles at Christmas…from Jena.
Turns out, I figured it out and I wouldn’t dare let a Christmas go by without a present for my daughter-especially her favorite gift ever.
What’s inside, you ask?
Jena once told me, “When you see love, you’ll see me.” I believe her. I know for certain that we take our hearts with us when we leave this world and that love transcends.
So, back to the ‘Jena Gift’… for two years now at Thanksgiving, my niece and nephew and I wrap an empty box and leave a slit at the top. Then between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve our whole family engages in as many random-acts-of-kindness as possible.
Here’s the catch: they can’t tell a soul-it’s a secret.
Then we write down all our random-acts-of-kindness on an index card, like we are addressing it to Jena, and slip each card in the wrapped box.
On Christmas Eve, when we are all gathered around the Christmas tree at my in-laws, we read them out-loud to Jena, it’s her favorite gift, ever. It’s giving of yourself, it’s giving of your time, it’s giving of your love.
She is forever with us. We want her to know we still go “shopping” for her to find her that perfect Christmas gift.
EDITORS NOTE: This blog was written last year (2009) but it made such a wonderful impact to our family Christmas Eve it would be such an honor for Jena to do it again this year…Love, it’s the greatest gift.
I will post the winner on Beyond Breathing Facebook page Christmas Day and send the book shortly thereafter.