There has been a thing of wonder, almost a Christmas Miracle that has happened at the House of Certain Man and Certain Man’s Wife.
When our family exchanged names earlier this year, our son in law, Jesse, (known as “Beloved Son in Law”) drew my name from the stash. I was so tickled when I realized he had my name because Jesse is the best gift-giver of our family. He just has something the rest of us don’t have. And very, very blessed are the recipients of his gifts. It wasn’t so much that he liked Christmas. But even with his avowed dislike, he was still just so good at it. I was quite sure that I was going to be happy with whatever he decided to do.
I had no idea.
In the days leading up to Christmas, I was surprised to hear him say that he was just so excited about Christmas this year. Not just once, but over and over again. And Eldest Daughter walked about with a secretive, but extremely pleased with herself air about her. I mused that having a little girlie who was old enough to know about Christmas and the ramifications thereof had changed Jesse into something different, and it pleased me to see Christina so pleased with his excitement. Now and then, I thought about the fact that he had my name, and I even thought that he must have something pretty interesting up his sleeve but —
I had no idea.
On Christmas Eve, the night when our family has traditionally opened their presents, we gathered in the living room. We had dined on the traditional Shrimp Chowder, and our children, now all adults, had each made some appetizer dish to go along with the supper. The excitement in the room following supper was barely contained as our Granddaughter said her Bible verses, Daniel read the Christmas story from Luke 2, and then led us in prayer. When it was my turn to open my gift, there were two carefully wrapped presents, a smaller, flat box on top of a larger, very heavy box.
Jesse said, “Mom, you are to open the small one first!”
It was then that I noticed that all the family had left their places and were gathered around, cameras ready and eyes so eager I could almost feel the electricity. I felt the weight of the package and wondered again what in the world could possibly be so exciting.
I had no idea!!!
I cut the ribbon, and pulled the pretty paper back and it was a book. A BOOK???
The book was a hardback, with a glossy, paper cover, and it was MINE!!!
I held that book in my hands and wept. I just couldn’t believe it. I’m weeping now as I write this. It felt like the dreams of forty plus years had miraculously taken flesh and bone before my unbelieving eyes. I looked at my Beloved Son in Law and couldn’t speak.
And then our children, these adults that I can still hardly believe are ours, began to talk. They said things about marketing and moving forward and how they wanted to help and how they thought that these stories would sell, and how important they felt it was to not just sit on something that people would really like to read.
I opened the cover and looked at the stories, and thought about a thousand things. I thought about how I have friends and family who write so much better than I do. They write about Growing Up Mennonite In Knoxville, about being the head nurse of an Emergency Room in Florida, about growing flowers and raising grandsons, and tending aged parents, and death, and about being a Mommy to three rambunctious and beautiful kids while struggling with depression, about being a grandma with stories that won’t be quiet in a grieving heart, about our family history and our family nemeses and quirks and strengths and victories — about so many things that are so interesting and well written! I looked at the earnest faces of our children, and the trickles of hope began to seep into the fear of “not being good enough” and I began to almost believe that it could be so. Maybe.
In the second package were five more books. One for each of our children. One for Beloved Son in Law and Eldest Daughter. One for Middle Daughter. One for Eldest Son and Ohio Heart Throb. One for Youngest Son and Girl With a Beautiful Heart. One for Youngest Daughter. Jesse asked that I sign one for each of them.
There are so many things to think about. Jesse has done an incredible amount of research, work and — yes, investment. I know that he worked hard, and had some help from Jessica (Girl with the Beautiful Heart) in editing. Judging from the reactions and words, I think he has had lots of encouragement from his brothers and sisters in law, too, but my mind is still overwhelmed at the immensity of this gift. I’m still processing, still thinking, still almost unable to believe it.
I had no idea.
But I surely am one grateful gal.
Oh, and don’t order one yet. He only got six printed, and as I was looking through, I saw some editing that I would like to do before we do anything on a grand scale. I feel so very uninformed about this sort of thing, but I think I would like to learn.
It looks like there just might be an adventure ahead.