Last Christmas Craig and I got an envelope from Adam that was to be our gift for the season. He had not been able to come up with anything tangible to give us so he gave us this envelope.
You can see that it has become almost lost amidst the receipts, boxes and other miscellaneous stuff on our closet shelf.
But I see it every single day. Most days it has reminded me that we have not been able to redeem it. Inside it says:
It's always tough figuring out what you guys want since you strategically don't tell us. This is good for a dinner at Texas Roadhouse (or Willows if that's what you want) on any date of your choosing FREE OF CHARGE [NO GOING EASY ON THE MENU] :) We all appreciate and love you both very much.
As I said, most days I see it I am reminded that it has not come to pass and it has made me sad. But the past few days it has gotten me thinking differently.
I realized last night as I was flushing Adam's drains for the umpteenth time since bringing him home from the hospital that without realizing it and not intending it Adam has given us a completely different gift.
He has given us the gift of taking care of him and loving him all these long 8 months. Now, to be sure, I haven't always seen it as a gift. There have been many, many days that being in those different hospital rooms, intensive care units, seeing him being placed in a helicopter and riding in the ambulance with him did not feel like a gift. Don't get me wrong. It has been extremely hard and sometimes felt overwhelmingly impossible. And there have certainly been days that he hasn't been the easiest person to love, to care for and to serve.
But this experience has changed us and that is the part of the gift.
I have spent more time with him than I ever would have had this never happened. Sure I have seen things I never wanted to see but it has brought us closer and bonded us in a way that probably nothing else could have done.
We have seen more of our other kids than we would have otherwise and that has been a blessing along with them spending time together loving and serving a brother even when it was difficult and sacrificial.
It has helped me to put aside my selfishness and to realize that even though I don't want to do a particular thing sometimes I must do it for the good of someone that I love.
This is life.
Of course, this isn't the first time in my life that I've had to do this but it has been good and needed.
You can be sure that I'm never going to get rid of that envelope! It will forever remind me that it is the people we love who are the greatest gifts and not the things they give us.