Story by Debra Penny
Christmas was just around the corner, and this Christmas was to be a very special one. In my search for a “perfect gift,” I found myself at the mall, where the Christmas lights sparkled like stars in the night and the festive spirit of the shoppers brought warmth to my heart. I knew the task would not be easy, finding the “perfect gift,” but I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it actually was.
Buying gifts, or even cards, has always been quite a task for me. My feeling is that a gift should reflect your heart as well as the heart of the person you are buying it for. I find great enjoyment in seeing the face of someone light up when they receive a gift that touches their heart. That is the gift to me ~~ giving joy to another.
While browsing through the store, one of the clerks offered to assist me. When the clerk asked how she could help me, I explained to her that I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for except I was searching for a “perfect gift” for someone. Eager to assist me, the clerk asked who the gift was for. Hanging my head low in embarrassment, I softly answered, “A gift for my mother.” The clerk, in a cheerful, bubbly tone, exclaimed, “Oh, that should be easy!” I thought to myself, “Easy? Oh, if she only knew.” The clerk then asked the dreaded question, “What does your mother like?” At that moment, the world around me seemed to disappear as I stood in complete silence. It was as though you could hear a pin drop. “What did she like?” I thought to myself. I had no idea. Here we were talking about my mother, the one who brought me into the world, and I had no idea what her likes and dislikes were! I honestly knew very little about her.
My parents were divorced when I was two years old. Contrary to the tradition of children residing with one of the parents, my brother and I were sent to Florida to live with our grandparents, who later adopted us. Although I still am not clear as to the reason why, and at this point it seems unimportant, my brother and I were not able to have contact with my mother. My father would occasionally visit in the beginning, but those visits became more infrequent as he started a new life with a new wife and family in Virginia.
Later in my childhood, I returned to Virginia to live with my father and his new family. My father readopted me, and I remained living with him until after I graduated from high school.
During my childhood, I carried a deep desire in my heart to see my mother. The desire grew stronger as the days, weeks, months, and years went by. There was nothing that could ease the aches of my heart or fill the empty spot that I carried inside me. There were times I would search the faces in crowds, wondering if a woman I was looking at could possibly be my mother. I had seen a very old photograph of her so I had a mental picture in my mind as to how she might look. The curiosity became overwhelming at times, and the desire continued to grow.
When I was 19 years old, I was finally able to locate my mother in hopes to begin a relationship with her. That attempt, however, was foiled by my father, who made me choose between him, and the only family I had known, or my mother. In fear of losing the only world I had ever known, I chose my father and his family. At that time, it hurt to walk away from my mother, but deep inside I was harboring a bit of anger toward her for once walking away from me. Hiding behind this anger was the only way I could cope with the fact I was not able to see her.
Years later, I received an unexpected call from my mother. She was eager to share with me that she had been saved, having accepted Jesus into her heart. She expressed her desire to see me again and hopefully make another attempt to begin a relationship. That was several years ago, and since then she and I have developed a very warm, loving relationship. Although it is not quite the same as a “mother – daughter” relationship, as it is impossible to replace the years that were lost, we still have a very special friendship which I cherish deep in my heart. My father is aware of this relationship, and although he may not like the fact that I see my mother, he finally respects my decision.
I was finally able to find the “perfect gift” for my mother. At the time, I had no idea just how perfect it actually was! I found an elegant music box that plays one of my favorite tunes called “Fur Elise.” I love music boxes myself and thought perhaps my mother might love them as well. Even if she didn’t share my love for music boxes, I thought she would appreciate the beautiful music it plays. You can only imagine my surprise when I opened the gift she had for me and discovered a music box as well! It is a beautiful glass music box with a rose etched on the top and plays a beautiful tune called “Evergreen.” Since I collect glass, the music box goes beautifully with my glass collection! Tucked inside the music box is a small card my mother gave me that Christmas which reads:
This little gift to you comes as a gift from the heart.
I bought this music box in 1987 while living in Missouri. I want you to have it as a special gift and to let you know I really love you and am so proud to have you as my daughter. I have never stopped loving you, even though we were not always together.
I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a mother and a friend to you now. This Christmas is my most special one, for I have the joy of being with you.
Never forget I love you very much! God has answered many of my prayers and has given me the most precious gift – my daughter!
I am here now when you need me.
Imprinted on the card is the message, “May the true meaning of Christmas touch your heart and life this season.”
Christmas is once again around the corner. Soon we will be celebrating the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and God’s love for sending His Son to save us from our sins.
God’s love is the greatest gift. Out of God’s love, both my mother and I found our Savior, Jesus Christ. Out of His love, we also found each other and were reunited. With His love, we were able to put the past behind us and appreciate the gift of the present. There is much truth in the saying, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, which is why it’s called the present.”
I will forever treasure my glass music box and the special note I received from my mother our first real Christmas together. Every time I visit my mother, I see the music box I gave her proudly displayed on her favorite shelf.
There is nothing that can replace the love of a mother and a daughter, or the love of our Father in Heaven with His children. Love truly is the greatest gift ~~ a gift from the heart.