Mom and I loved to play Santa to children each year. We would always pick at least one name from the Giving Tree at church and sometimes one from the Giving Trees at work. We would plot and plan our shopping trip to figure out which store would make our money go the farthest because we were trying to buy as many items on each child's list.
This year, Mom and I went to the Mall to simply see the decorations and do a little "targeted shopping". The days of going to the Mall for hours and wandering around with Mom are gone. I push her in her wheelchair and we spend no more than an hour. It breaks my heart. My mother taught me how to shop!
On that day in early December, we had wandered around a bit, bought one or two things, looked at the decorations and were leaving when I spied the Salvation Army Giving Tree! I stood there reading every child's wish to my mother and then selected two children to shower with gifts!
As I shopped, my heart was full and broken at the same time. I missed my mom, who would often say "don't worry about the money, let's just get the gifts" when I was figuring out the best price, package, etc. So, I got the gifts. I bought everything on each child's list. (Let's not get crazy, I did establish a budget and maximized it.)
I told Mom and Dad about my shopping spree and how I had a large shopping bag of gifts for each of the children that included toys, clothes and of course Christmas PJ's. And all within budget! We laughed, smiled and felt the spirit of Christmas. That was our early Christmas Gift.
I know today that Mom gifted me her Giving Spirit. We didn't always have a lot growing up, but we always had enough. We always made time or resources available to give back. When we didn't have extra money, we gave our time. And we had extra money, we gave it. The Giving Spirit.
When I brought the bags of gifts back to the Mall for the Giving Tree, I was happy to give and sad that I was dragging the packages in by myself. My partner in crime was not with me. What I later realized was...Mom was with me, not in person, but in the Giving Spirit.
Do you have a favorite holiday memory with your Mom, Dad or caree? Holiday memories are special. I would love to hear your holiday memories. They are the stories that keep traditions alive! Please share the comments below.
Wishing you peace, love and beautiful memories, Deb
Debbie is a wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to many. She served as a part-time caregiver and full-time advocate for her mother, Barbara, who passed away from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Dementia in July 2018. Her mission is to help caregivers not only survive but thrive during their caregiving journey!