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In Which I Am Kind to a Sister

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas presents

In Which I Am Kind to a Sister

Who doesn’t like to get presents? I think of little children. My four little ones (when they were little), and just about every other small child I have ever known. Even most adults I know enjoy getting presents. Receiving a gift-wrapped package, wrapped in pretty paper.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Two of my children and I drove into Chicago mid-afternoon today, to see my sister. She had been quite sick for most of last week. So sick, she needed antibiotics from the doctor, right in the middle of the holidays. Sadly, last week was one of my busiest weeks of the past few months, so I was not very available to her. After spending several days quiet at home, she is now much improved. We all went to one of the Christmas movies currently showing in the theater. Afterwards, we went to a nearby restaurant to get some delicious Italian food.

True confession time: when she was living, my mother was difficult to buy presents for. She was a tremendous woman, strong-willed, kind to a fault, generous, artistic, fond of music and books and the creative impulse within. And—she was incredibly picky. (I haven’t been willing to do a full analysis of it, but I know that some of my attitudes and “stuff” associated with gift-giving comes from this.)

I do try to choose presents that I think people will enjoy. With everything I know about that person, I am on the lookout all year for presents. Understand, I definitely do not haunt retail establishments on a weekly basis. No, that’s not my favorite thing to do, at all. However, if I see something—even something little or inexpensive—that I am reasonably sure one of my close relatives likes or might enjoy, chances are that I’ll buy it. And put it away for a gift-giving occasion. Just so, in the case of my sister.

At dinner after the movie, we brought the presents into the restaurant. My sister pulled them out of the small bag they were in. She made the comment, “This is the first present I’ve opened this Christmas.”

That sudden statement made me reflect. Some people do not receive Christmas presents. Do not have anyone to give them Christmas presents. Or, sometimes, do not have any money to buy Christmas presents for their loved ones.

A sad thing. Desperately sad. Just as some people are alone on the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day. I know that some years, I have been caught up in my own family doings, and haven’t been as attentive to others as I ought. I am sorry. I hope I can make up for it by being a good, gracious, loving person from this point onward.

I hope my sister enjoyed her small presents. I honestly chose them with great care. And—despite all the attitude “stuff” that is a legacy from my mother—I hope all my presents this year are useful, or enjoyed, or bring a smile to people’s faces. God willing, may it be so.

@chaplaineliza

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