This is one year I can’t imagine that anyone will be sorry to say goodbye to. We get to say Good riddance! to the current administration and, we hope, will soon be rolling up our sleeves for the gift of the vaccine.
The best gift
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
Christmas and Hanukkah have passed. Kwanza is mid-celebration, and the New Year is almost here. Gifts have been opened, wrapping paper and boxes have filled the recycle barrel, and the sweet gifts lovingly given have been put away. The number one gift this holiday season was one we could all afford and, in fact, cannot live without—the gift that came with the stay-at-home order. It will spare many from the dreaded virus that has decimated communities around the world.
My granddaughter opened her newest American Girl Doll, Courtney, adorned in her 1980s style clothing, with contagious glee, and the grandmas and grandpas watched the video with an unmatched joy. She was over the moon to receive an American Girl Doll, as they are not as readily available in Paris as in the States. She was ecstatic when she realized it was the very one that she had hoped for. My grandchild’s giggle and her ear-to-ear grin filled my heart. A week ago, she asked if I was an adult in the 1960s. I thought it was an unusual question for a nine- year-old, but replied that I was in high school and college during the 60s. She nodded and held up her 1960s American Girl Doll. “Grandma,” she said, “I think her outfit will speak to you because you were alive then.” She sounded so grown up. Wow. Just wow!
It reminded me of a time when I was a few years older than she is now and received the most exquisite doll I had ever seen. She had blond hair in an updo, pearls around her neck, a cobalt blue brocade dress with matching jacket, nylons and high heels. The only problem was that I had traded my dolls for boys and books in the previous year. It left me with a host of feelings. I was angry at my father’s boss, who obviously did not know how grown up I was. I was bereft because I did fall in love with her but at the same time knew I did not want her. There was also a bit of selfishness as I did not want to give this gorgeous creature to my sister who was 8½ years my junior and too young to care for her properly. In the end, I relented, and my sister did end up with her. One high heel went missing and the pearls were soon nowhere to be found, but my sister loved her dearly.
Gifts are less complicated now. This year, I drew a picture of Rocky, my sister’s pooch, for her. My Honey loves listening to the hoot owl. Their calls come in the dark of night and they are hidden in the trees. He received night vision binoculars. Thus far, the owls remain hidden, but he has gone out each night to look and one of these nights he will be successful. I was gifted with some watercolor pencils. I am slowly learning how to use them.
The best gift is that my loved ones far and wide are all safe and healthy. They do not leave the house without a mask and, though they are going a bit stir crazy, they are one hundred percent behind the stay-at-home orders. Much to my dismay, many people felt the need to shop and travel and thus will provide the world a rather unwanted present in about two weeks time—another horrendous surge in COVID-19 cases.
I hope you get to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year with Champagne, a lovely meal and, perhaps, your favorite music; but please do it at home. Please give the gift of safety to our medical staff, the elderly and damn near everyone else. The price is right and the joy of helping is beyond measure. I hope you have a safe and Happy New Year, filled with appreciation for all the big and small things that bring you joy.
Thank you, Sue, for the sweet memories you have managed to pull forth from the holidays and the positive wishes for the future. May we all stay safe and hopeful into the year to come!
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