From the heart : LUSENET : SARO1's Inner Connections : One Thread

From the heart -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From the Heart When I was fourteen years old (same age as my daughter is today), my mom and I didn't have money for a Christmas dinner, much less gifts. I knew she was sad about it, and I was determined we wouldn't let it get us down. Homemade gifts are nice, but I wasn't very imaginative and too broke for supplies. I decided to give my mom something I treasured myself - the one nice piece of jewelry I owned, a gold cross necklace.

I cleaned it, made sure there were no knots in the chain and wrapped it in the prettiest paper I could find. I was so excited, I couldn't wait for her to open it.

Single moms have it hard (as I know firsthand now), and I really wanted to see her smile. We always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve night, and that afternoon, I could wait no longer.

I asked if we could "have Christmas" early. I anticipated that Christmas more than when I knew I was getting a lot of nice gifts. I didn't expect to get anything that year. It was about giving.

I handed her the little box, hugged and kissed her and wished her a Merry Christmas. I waited anxiously for her to open it but she just sat there with the box in her hands and looked at it.

I remember the look on Mom's face was a mixture of sadness and serenity. She knew her greatest gift to me was her love. After what seemed a long time, she looked at me and said, "I have something for you, too."

She reached into her pocket, pulled out another small box, placed it in my hands and told me although it was not much, it was filled with love.

I was quite curious and a little scared. I knew money was tight and hoped Mom hadn't spent money on something we couldn't afford.

There was a little velvet box inside and when I lifted the lid, there was a tiny ring with a diamond chip in the center. In a note, she told me the ring was twenty-three years old, she hoped it brought me good luck...and "I love you."

I got a huge lump in my throat and looked at her. She smiled and told me it had been her wedding band from my dad. It was now mine. I slipped it on my finger and hugged my mom.

She opened my gift and when she saw the necklace, big tears filled her eyes. She asked me to put it on her. She held the necklace and told me she thought it was our best Christmas ever. I could only nod my head in agreement.

This Christmas, I give thanks for Mom and treasure every memory we shared. You see, my mom has advanced Alzheimer's disease and no longer knows me. But I look at "our" ring and remember her gentle, wise spirit and give thanks God blessed me with her.

But that's not the end of the story.

Our home was burglarized four years ago. One of the items stolen was that little ring. I had left all my jewelry at home for safekeeping, because it was Memorial Day weekend and I was going to the lake. I was totally heartbroken when I found out the ring was gone. Of course, so were her diamond rings, my wedding band, engagement ring, etc., but it was that ring I grieved for the most.

I wrote a letter to our local paper and begged whoever stole it to "PLEASE return it by mail anonymously."

A few weeks went by with no response and then one day a police detective showed up at my door. He held out a tissue and asked me to identify the item inside.

It was my ring! I have never found out where or how he got it, but it remains on my finger to this day.

By Nancy McBee Reprinted by permission of Nancy McBee 1999, from Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Kimberly Kirberger and Raymond Aaron

-- SAR01 (, March 09, 2001

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