We had our work gift exchange this week. Due to Megan's maternity leave and Carrie's firing, we were going to be two gifts short. I decided I needed to knit something so I could take an extra gift so no one would be without a gift. I couldn't figure out why it was so important to me and then I remember a Christmas when I was 12.
This was the first Christmas after my brother died, so my parents naturally didn't want to spend much time at home. They were trying to keep busy and their friends were trying to help. So my mom's friend Cynthia invited us down to Dallas to visit with them - she called Friday night and we went Saturday. We spent the morning going to craft stores and buying materials to bring home and craft. They wanted to make a honey bear - a poseable bear with two manufactured birds' nests and fake bees. The whole thing was tied together with honey colored hot glue dripped all over it to look like the bear was breaking into a bee hive (the 2 birds' nest) - to me it looked like someone had snotted all over it.
Cynthia hadn't explained to my mom that they were having their extended family celebration/gift exchange that night. So we didn't know until we got there. When they told us, I started psyching myself up so that I wouldn't be upset when I didn't get a gift. I wasn't a family member, the other people didn't know we were coming in time to shop. Most of them had never even met me, etc.
But when it came time to open gifts, they all had a gift for me. It touched me so much I've never forgotten it. Since they didn't know me, most of the stuff wasn't my taste, but I kept it anyway and wore the jewelry (I still have some of it) because it made me feel so good when I saw it.
It was especially wonderful for me because our family celebrations have always been dysfunctional at best. My dad's uncle never bought a gift for me and my brothers, even though he did for the other cousins. Okay, he was single and saw my other cousins a lot more than he saw us, but he didn't have to come to family celebration or he could have thought that maybe, just maybe, it'd be a good idea to have at least something small for all the kids. Of course, you'd also have thought one of the other adults would have said something.