A few short years ago, I started a sibling Christmas gift exchange. The reason was a simple one. After the death of our oldest and youngest brothers, I just wanted the remaining four siblings to connect. The idea was to be nothing fancy but should be handmade or recycled or at least had some kind of personal aspect. We all were living in different places so far away from one another. Lori in Grand Junction, Mark in Colorado Springs, Robin in Austin and me in Tucson.
The first year I had Mark’s name and made him a calendar with footprints of his grand kids and family photos. The second year, I made Robin an ornament using some of Gram’s old costume jewelry. I cannot say what I did this year for Lori, because it would ruin her surprise!
I loved the gifts that Robin and Lori bestowed on me the previous two Christmases. This year, Mark had my name. Imagine my surprise to see a huge package all wrapped in cardboard and taped together by our front gate yesterday. As soon as I began cutting the tape, I realized just what my gift from the heart was.
Some years back, with the blessing of Gram, I signed over the deed to her house to her niece, whom I affectionately called Sissy. This house shared a split deed with Sissy’s home since the day they were built. Gram’s home was built in the late 1800’s and Sissy’s house built in the early 1900’s. Gram’s house at 4500 Perry Street in Denver, was the original family home of my great grandparents and was built by my great-grandfather and other friends and relatives. Years later, in 1906, my grandma was born in the front bedroom of that little 2 bedroom home, as was my mother in 1927. To say that this home had sentimental family history that always touched my heart, is an understatement at the very least.
After Sissy passed away, my cousin had both homes demolished. Gram’s home was nowhere near modern building code and would have been cost prohibitive to bring it to building and safety code. After the demolition, Mark made the trek from Colorado Springs to Denver and managed to salvage a little 24 inch door for me. It must have been a difficult thing to see the house gone, but still, he did it because I asked. I had to hold back tears as I removed the layers of cardboard and packing and tape to discover the door that Mark took the time to grab and then store at his home for several years.
I have so many ideas for this door. Shall I make it into a kitchen table? Maybe a wall hanging? In the meantime, my first instinct was to dress her for the holidays. And here she stands in her glory showing off a new wreath. Thanks, Mark. You made my day. No, not day. You made my Christmas oh so special, and I love you so much for your thoughtfulness.