Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Monday, July 7, 2014

12/15/14 RMB Honoring the Gift

12/15/14 RMB Honoring the Gift  

Dear Rita Mae Brown,

Thinking it important for my nephews to learn about and enjoy the process of giving, I took them all Christmas shopping tonight for another of their caretakers, a friend, neighbor and honorary member of our “family” who has stepped up to pick them up from school, watch them during their spring breaks and provided a refuge, another place that they feel at home and cared for, on any day.

It was interesting to see them sway between what they wanted to our mission of buying for this one individual to buying something they would like her to have to what she would like or find most useful.

We settled on a few small gifts, some useful and some fun. Everyone needs a bit of both. Once home, all three wrapped the gifts with no assistance from any adult. On another night we will take them to her to complete the process. 

What she gives them is greater than any trinket can repay. What I hoped to show them is that what they give in return is far greater than any store bought item. Yet by making that effort, by spending an evening carrying a special person in their hearts, wrapping her gifts with care and feeling the resulting joy, all that is shared, given and received, becomes ever clearer.

Word came to me today that my stepmother had a stroke. It could be considered a minor stroke, although anything that shifts one’s reality seems major and she has some healing to do.

This was the woman, Pat Gulick, a young teacher at the time, who took a broken family and helped piece it back together. She mothered youngsters of various ages tossed under her wing along with her own two. She befriended each of us, nurtured us along and bandaged our wounds.

And as I send out prayers her way, occupying myself with boys and gifts, I wonder how does one reciprocate for a gift as incredible as motherhood?

How can any one of us that walks in a better place repay those that helped us get here, you for your work, Pat for her mothering?

And then it became very clear why I was so determined to give the boys the gift of giving, to make their lives more special, as Pat did mine. Because in the big picture, some gifts are too great to ever garner a response in equal measure. In such instances, we honor the gift and the giver by carrying it forward. 

When we take what has been given and extend it to make another's life better, the gift lives on.

Sending healing prayers and gratitude this holiday season,


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