We arrived home from the 2:30 Christmas Eve service and I caught a glimpse of something near the front door as we turned into the driveway. With a low blood sugar looming and three hungry girls, we hustled inside through the garage, needing to get everyone changed out of their Christmas dresses and ready for dinner. I had to work at 6, and we had been gone longer than anticipated.
At some point, Tiara opened the front door.
At some point, Tiara opened the front door.
And then closed it.
And then opened it again.
And then announced that Santa had already visited our house.
There, before our eyes, sat a huge red bag tied closed with a golden rope, propped against a tall green gift.
We were speechless. Stunned, to say the least. After a moment of quiet shock, the girls began squealing. I grabbed my camera, because I knew it was a moment I didn't ever want to forget. Jason brought the bag inside, set it next to the tree, and we began going around and round - whispering to each other about who could have possibly left it there. All the while, the girls were running in and out, bringing friends to see Santa's bag. As a family, we agreed that it's contents wouldn't be revealed until the next morning.
Brand spanking new coordinated outfits (this was a special touch, because pretty much everything the girls wear is second hand), princess shoes, a treasure chest of dress up, art supplies, and books....gift cards for coffee and movies...even Ivy found a gourmet bone and bag of dog treats.
It was incredibly special. Honestly, I couldn't have selected a better suited bunch of gifts myself!
We didn't have many gifts planned for Christmas. In fact, what we did have wouldn't have been possible without a friend who sold us a used Wii...Jason's sister who happily sent some Barbies and accessories that her daughter was finished with...and a local D Mama who took the time to sort through her playroom and then passed along several bags of toys. Of course there were also packages of love that had been sent from our parents, and we knew those would, no doubt, add a smile to their faces.
Without the Santa bag, we felt Christmas morning would be just fine.
With it, Christmas Morning 2010 became magical.
But I have to tell you....
It's really not the gifts that touched this Candy Heart the deepest.
It's the red bag that I searched inside and out for signs of being store bought, but couldn't find. I believe that someone actually sewed it together, specifically intended to fill with gifts for our family.
It's the wrapping paper. This time of year is crazy for everyone. Yet someone, amidst their own hectic life -- who, no doubt, had their own gifts to wrap -- took the time to wrap each one knowing how excited our girls would be to rip into them.
It's the fact that it showed up on Christmas Eve. Oh, GEEZ! Church, dinner, possible company...and yet...SOMEONE carved out the time to leave this gift on our doorstep.
It's the financial generosity...you see...if you live in the Phoenix area, then you're living in an incredibly difficult economy. Whomever did this, has been affected as well. I know this because EVERYONE has been affected.
I have no idea if our Secret Santa will ever read this. Even still, there's a few things I need to say before I go...
Dear Rose Santa,
I want you to know that I've folded that red bag and placed it somewhere special. One year, on Christmas Eve, Jason and I will fill it with the same love you've shown us and then leave it on a doorstep for another family. We will pay it forward.
I have to admit that I have struggled a bit, feeling as though I simply didn't deserve such an overwhelming act of generosity. You see, I'm a flawed person. I mess up way too often, say things I shouldn't, and have a hard time taming my anger -- particularly when I'm exhausted from varying degrees of deprivation AND when the issue I'm upset about involves the well being of my children. I walk around from one day to the next feeling a constant need to apologize to everyone around me for being such a wreck all the time. I have a really hard time forgiving MYSELF whenever I stumble over life's bumpy roads. Despite these things, however, I really want you to know that, while I believe I may not have deserved such an amazing act of kindness, I genuinely appreciate that, somehow, you thought I did.
We will never forget this Christmas.
From My Candy Heart to Yours,