Each year, as we bring out the Christmas decorations, these two wrapped gifts carefully get set aside. The kids know what to do with them but each time someone new comes into the house, they ask about these two unwrapped gifts. Other than for photo ops such as this, these two gifts get set aside where they stay safe and sound. These gifts are fragile.
Let me start from the beginning. I grew up with my grandparents as a big part of my life. A mini-roadtrip down to Southern Minnesota was very common and staying at their house was always an adventure. First off, they had a bicycle built for two. Looking back, it must have been fun for the people of Windom to see John and Inez biking around town with various grandchildren hanging on for dear life in the back basket.
We enjoyed so many holidays and family celebrations, they’re too numerous to add up. Many of the traditions we still enjoy today are those that were taught by Grandma. Our dining room table is the same table the Peterson’s sat together for a quick meal; a Christmas feast; even in times of pain as we mourned the loss of family members. It is one of my most prized possessions and still pales in comparison to my two unwrapped gifts.
When my Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, we had no idea what pain we had ahead of us as we watched her slip away, year after year. The occasional glimpse I got of my grandma of days past was a treasured gift, I remember them to this day. After Grandma died and Grandpa decided to sell their duplex, we were going through boxes and boxes of their things. What do we keep, what can go on the garage sale, and what can we carefully slip out to the trash?
I was assigned a downstairs closet, seemingly easy enough, fairly unexciting. When under some towels, there they were, two unwrapped gifts. Huh. I brought them up to my Dad and asked what I should do with these? He shrugged, said Grandma must have wrapped those at some point and forgot about them. Probably just toss them. TOSS THEM?! No way!
I can picture my grandma who was a very beautiful, very classy woman. Her long, thin hands and perfectly manicured nails were always a fascination of mine as my ginormous, thick hands looked silly next to hers. When I look at my unwrapped gifts, I remember her hands and picture her carefully wrapping a pink bath towel for a loved one. Her present thoughts were a mystery, but to her, wrapping these gifts made perfect sense and I love that.
The idea that even when we thought Grandma’s mind was gone, she was still there. Being loving…being Grandma. My unwrapped gifts remind me that all is not as it may appear. Take time to look beyond the obvious. Be loving, even if people don’t realize it. They will, someday.