How a Christmas Card Became One of My Favorite Gifts

Life is funny sometimes. It almost never turns out the way we imagined it and has a knack for throwing curve balls at the most inopportune times.

Tragedy Strikes

When I was a little boy I never imagined that I would lose my mother while I was still young. Yet when I was in my late teens that was exactly what happened. I remember thinking that I hadn’t even reached adulthood, and I had siblings younger than I. How can this be real?

But it was very real. Just after I reached my eighteenth birthday my mother entered the hospital with kidney failure after a lifelong battle with type I diabetes and fell into a coma. A few months later she ended the fight for her life and I (as well as my siblings) was left without a mother just when I needed her the most.

All I Wanted

As I went through her things I thought of all the things I may want to keep. I did not care about her jewelry or her clothes. What I was really interested in were her writings. She had always been writing something, whether it was poetry, scribbled notes, short stories, or her daily life in an old weathered journal

Those words were hers, and I knew they could speak for her long after she was gone. But something was missing. Those words, while hers, were not speaking to me, which was what I so desperately wanted. Then I remembered something.

Searching the Box of Cards

I had always been the type of person to keep sentimental things and tucked away in the top of my closet was an old box filled with cards and letters I had received over the years. Frantically I searched through the box for those which were given to me by my mother. I found a handful of cards, but mostly they simply had her name signed. Then I found it.

The card itself was nothing special. A typical green wreath sitting beneath bright red letters that said “Merry Christmas” bedecked an otherwise plain white cover. But what was inside had me in tears.


The Words I Needed

I suppose one Christmas my mother was feeling sentimental herself, because she had taken the time to fill one small inside page with words. They were from her, to me, and they could not have been rediscovered at a better time.

“To You, My Darling Son,” the message began in her half cursive, half printed scrawl. “I cannot believe how quickly you have grown, and it has been my pleasure to watch you turn into the beautiful young woman you have become. I know that I will not always be here to watch you blossom, but it is my wish you never forget just how incredibly special you are to me. You bring light to my life, even in the darkest of times. I am so immensely proud of you. I love you. – Mom.”

Although I had not realized at the time just how much that simple Christmas card would mean to me, it quickly became my favorite gift I had ever received. I have kept it tucked away all the long years since her death. Occasionally, I pull it out and read those words when I feel like I need my mom the most.