Every little girl wants a pony for Christmas.
After visiting my cousin in Kansas over the Thanksgiving holiday one year, my desire for a pony grew to monumental proportions.
Granted, the one I wanted didn't have fur and it wouldn't carry me through a sunny meadow. The pony on my wish list needed to a have a base and springs and be able to provide hours and hours of bouncy entertainment.
I wrote letters to Santa. I told my mom and dad. I scanned the Sears toy catalog. Like the Ralphie on "A Christmas Story" lusting after that Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, I told everyone I knew about the spring horse I wanted Santa to bring me.
I made sure I was on my best behavior so Santa had no reason not to bring me that horse.That Christmas, I attended midnight Mass with my parents and sisters. Returning home, I knew Santa had visited. He always came while we were at church.
I climbed to the top step in our split-level home and peered around the stub wall to see if there was a package under the tree that might have even remotely had the same shape as a spring horse.
Glory of Glories! It wasn't even wrapped!
It didn't even matter that I had other presents beneath that tree. I hopped onto that spring horse and rode off into the sunrise (since it was nearing dawn before I finally settled down enough to sleep). I played with that horse day-in, day-out for months.
I never thought anyone would ever top the delight I felt that Christmas eve.
But somehow my mother managed to this year. Before my family's Christmas get-together on Saturday, my mother had warned me and my sisters that she wasn't going all-out on gifts this year.
When I opened the large gift bag she brought for me, I couldn't believe my eyes. Before my grandmother died 20 years ago, she had begun sewing butterfly patches for quilts. Lung and bone cancer took her from us before she could finish them.
This past year, my mom finished those quilts and gave them to my sisters and I for gifts.
I've spent the last 36 hours wrapped in the warmth of memories of my grandmother and gratitude for my mom for giving us such a wonderful gift.
And with temperatures well below 0, it's much-needed warmth.
What has been your most memorable Christmas gift?