This is the season of giving. Yes, we hear it everywhere we go, we focus on others, we speak more softly, act more deliberately, look more kindly. And we should. This is also the season of receiving and of gratitude. Every year around this time we receive a gift in our family. One that we quietly hope for, one that arrives without notice, and one that we secretly wish could grow and develop into something more. We don't speak of our expectation of it's arrival, and we certainly do not mention the hurt should it one year not arrive. It is one small piece, one beautiful smile, one girl's image that we hope to someday become closer to... but for now we settle with what we receive, and wait in anticipation for it's annual arrival.
This year it came with something more, however. The simple, brief paragraph note attached to the school photograph came with a two page letter and a compilation of photographs burned onto a disc from the last three years. It was an unexpected bonus. Watching this child, my husband's daughter whom he has been forbidden to see for the last eleven years, flashed on our computer screen and it was like watching this beautiful girl's important moments on a viewfinder. Click, school play, click, basketball, click, homework project, click, a family vacation. We don't speak while watching, we don't make eye contact with each other, we just watch. When it is over we share misty eyes, a hug and hope.
Now, we wait. Until next year to see if we get our most precious Christmas gift again. May this season bring you joy and love so that you too may cherish all that you are able to see.