(And not just because it is written by O.Henry.)
(Which makes me think of O'Henry's.)
(And you know how I love O'Henry's.)
I truly appreciate the story of Delia and Jim, a young married couple who are so in love, that they sold their most prized possessions to buy a Christmas present for each other. But once they unwrapped their gifts, they were both wrought with despair when they realized that because of what they had sacrificed, they would not be able to use the gifts which had been carefully chosen for them. Their story is a tribute to unselfish love.
As the children were enthralled looking at all of the beautiful illustrations, I remembered that Charlie had inherited a pocket watch, much like the pocket watch that Jim had owned in the story. So I brought it out for the children to examine.
From what I understand, this watch belonged to Charlie's great Uncle, Henry Charles, and it had been passed to Charlie's father - who has since, passed it on to his son. This watch, which I estimate to be at least 80 years old, still has a beautiful tick and keeps perfect time.
It even has a clasp.
Six years ago, today, my dear friend Julie Maggi left us. The similarity of my friend's name to that of the Magi, the wise men, is not lost on me. I think of my sweet friend often and I think of the abbreviated time that she had on earth and yet, the wonderful, loving gifts that she brought to those who knew her.
Tonight, I shuffled children in to bed after yet another long day. As I was tucking William in with Forest, I was thinking of all the things I needed to accomplish before I turned in for the night. In that moment, I was feeling hurried and borderline impatient because I wanted to get on with what I needed to do. But I caught sight of the pocket watch sitting on my boys' dresser and as I picked it up, I could hear the seconds ticking past. Instead of it alarming me to the fact that I still had a litany of activities to complete before my own bedtime, I thought of the time that is ticking past (so fast!) in my (and my children's) life.
Time I'll never get back.
This alarmed me in a whole different way.
So with that perspective, I flushed my now insignificant to-do list from my mind and sat down on the edge of my son's bed and smiled as he told me stories. I scratched his back and rubbed his blond hair and savored that awesomely perfect moment. And then I did the same with his brother. And sisters. And father.
This Christmas season … and every day for that matter … I need to do a better job remaining cognizant of the time that we have available to us. Time really is the best gift that we have ever received.
And the best gift that we have to give.