Monday, December 29, 2014

The Perfect Gift

Here's the way I see it:  By the time you're 70 you've gotten every sweater you'll ever want to get, and you only wear two anyway. You have every household item anyone could want. Twice. You're trying to clean crap out not bring more in.

Generally speaking by the time you're 70 you're practical in your needs, simple in your tastes, wise in your choices. If you're not, you probably missed a step.

You don't wear tons of jewelry, you don't eat crazy foods or care for expensive venues. You don't appreciate tight, uncomfortable theater seats. You do everything you can to avoid being cold.

So my mom is turning 70 and I've been really killing myself to think of the perfect gift. I've wanted her to be able to celebrate in a big way - or at least a memorable way - with as many people as she could. But it's been impossible, precisely because she's at an age where she doesn't want much. My dilemma is made all the more challenging by her struggles with health issues, which make it hard to take her out or have loud, busy parties with lots of people.

Then it came to me! The one thing my mom loves more than anything else is to read. And while I do my best to provide supply, she devours everything you give her and she has read so much it's hard to find new things.

That's where you come in: I'm asking - I'm begging - could you write me a letter for my mom? It could be to her if you know her, or to no one in particular, or just the re-telling of a funny little story, or a joke (clean, please), or any little thing, a favorite saying and why, a memory, an ode. I'll collect all the tidbits into a book and give it to her for her birthday, and I'll sign your name (if you'd like) to the card. You can send to me via FB comment or PM or send to my email:

I know this is a big ask, but I'm desperate to show my quiet, introverted, sweet, kind, gentle, and generous soul of a mother that she is deeply loved and appreciated for her 70 years on earth. I think this kind of gift might just do it. In fact, it might be the perfect gift.

We are celebrating her big day on Sunday January 11th so I'd need your note by Friday, January 9th to get it done.

Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me make this day special.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I Bought A Crooked Christmas Tree

I bought a crooked Christmas tree this year. He's terribly crooked, actually. So much so that his crown appears to be standing behind him.

I'm usually very particular when I select a tree - just the right height, it has to be, not too broad, not too narrow, only a certain green will do.

But when I saw this tree, he just took my breath away.

I recounted tearfully to my son, why I absolutely had to have him. 'Imagine being a tree,' I told him. 'Full, and lush and green in some forest somewhere. And everyone around you is growing straight and strong just as they should. And you are warping and twisting, trying as hard as you might but still going entirely the wrong way. I would think your mother would watch over you even more carefully. Imagine then that you were cut down, taken away from your comfort, knowing you were going to your death. The only reward for this suffering would be that you might get to be a Christmas tree for a family. You would be brightly lit and decorated and sung around and adored. And then imagine that when the families came to select a tree, every time you were passed over. No one wanted you. Can you imagine that? So I just had to bring him home.'

I was sobbing by the time I finished. My son looked at me like I'd grown a fish out of my forehead. He hugged me nonetheless, being the good boy he is, and when the girls came down and looked at the scene he just waved them off and we stood there until I shook off my melancholy.

The thing is, it's not just about the tree.  It's about an imperfect world, my city so worn and weary from its troubles, my children's schools, a million things. All of these things capable of great glory and wonder, broken in places, entirely wrong in others. I wish I could fix all of those things. I wish I could get people to see.

The message of the season is not, 'Be pretty, even if you have to pretend. Love and appreciate only the right and righteous in life. You must pass by the ugly, disregard the broken.' 

What good is there in that?

The message of the season is, 'Love even the twisted and failing. Love before all other things. Love as He loves, completely and without judgement of your flaws. You are all ways beautiful.'

So I bought a crooked Christmas tree.  And I love him. Isn't he grand?