Monday, December 6, 2010

The Gift of Giving … and Receiving

December. The month of jolly. The season of cheer. Happy wishes to one and all. And for me, my favorite holiday of all…Christmas; the day of my dear Savior’s birth. The reason for the season.

I love Christmas. I especially love the memories that ultimately play in my mind at the mere mention of the most unforgettable Christmas moments. Like the uncontrollable giggles of my boys when they received the video game system they so desperately begged for. The warm hugs of my young daughter after she received a treasure that lit her eyes as bright as the Christmas tree. A home-made memory quilt from my son’s favorite t-shirts. A special heart-shaped box for my daughter to let her know she would always hold my heart. And year after year, my most prized Christmas gift was watching my family’s faces as they opened their gaily wrapped boxes, presents filled with the love, hopes and dreams I held for each of them.

The Christmases passed and my children grew, their dreams unfolding before my eyes. My oldest son, Chris, now attending college at the Naval Academy; my middle son, Alex, ready to graduate and follow his call, and my baby girl, Keri, blossoming into a young woman, set on becoming a nurse. I was so proud of each of them and no matter what, I would always be there for them…their biggest fan.

This particular Christmas I gazed at my three near-grown children and dear husband, immersed in the peace and love of family, and realized we might not always be together on this, my favorite holiday. Chris was soon to graduate and would be the property of Uncle Sam. There were more important issues ahead for my son. But we were all together now and at that moment, I couldn’t be happier.

My boys looked at each other, an impish sparkle glistening in their eyes. Alex nodded and Chris stood up, pulling a big box, with a massive red bow, out from behind the TV. What was this? I looked from face to face. Who was this present for? The faces of my family just stared back at me, giant smiles covering their faces.

Chris handed me the box, motioned to his dad and siblings, and said. “It’s from all of us.”

I stammered and I stuttered, looking again from face to face. What had they done? I hadn’t asked for anything. I was the one that gave the presents…to watch their faces glow.

I timidly began to untape the beautiful wrapping paper. Alex laughed at me, reached over and ripped the package open. I stared at the unwrapped box, a lump rising in my throat. There, on my trembling legs, sat a laptop computer.

“It’s for your writing,” Alex declared.

I looked to my husband. He nodded at the children and smiled, “It was all their idea.”

I stared back at the laptop and touched the image on the box. I had always dreamed of being a writer, to write children’s books and stories to inspire, enlighten, and entertain. But life happened. My marriage and children took priority and I put my dream on hold. With my family growing up, I had picked my craft back up and began scribbling down thoughts, ideas, and stories.

“Now you can write your stories whenever and where-ever you want,” Chris said. “And you don’t have to share the computer with anyone.”

I looked back up, a wash of feelings exploding within and tears flooded my face. I touched the box again, feeling the magic held within. It wasn’t just a laptop my family gave me that day . No, it was so much more. They presented me the gift of encouragement, the treasure of believing in me and the support to help me reach my lofty dreams. I felt the blanket of their love cover me, caressing my entire being. And as I looked at my family, I realized that this holiday my children were the givers. This Christmas, I was the receiver of the special box filled with their love, hope and dreams for me.

Today, I’m thrilled to relive this cherished memory, realizing the fruit of their gift. I am blessed to have three Tween novels due to be released through MIU Publishing. Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island will be released late summer 2011, A Horse Called Trouble will follow that at the end of the year. And The Secret of the Stone, the first in The Lost Diaries of Northumberland series will come out in spring 2012. The Christmas magic is still at work!

Merry Christmas to all! And to all a Good Night! Happy Writing.
C.K. Volnek


Wendy said...

What a loving family you have. You are blessed.

Roseanne Dowell said...

What a wonderful gift and a wonderful surprise. Thanks for sharing

Unknown said...

What a sweet memory. Thank you sharing. You had me in tears the whole way.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I love your warm and wonderful Christmas story. Thank you for sharing such a touching family moment showing the spirit of Christmas in family. Congratulations on all of your releases.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Lovely. A perfect Christmas memory. Thanks for sharing.
Congratulations that you achieved your dream. How proud your family must be, that they supported you and helped provide the opportunity to write.

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

I shared your joy of seeing the excitement and joy in my own children. So your story touched me very much. It's wonderful when your children turn around and do something like buying you a laptop. I don't know what I would do without my laptop! How wonderful that you have gifts for them with your three novels coming out.:) Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory.

Pat Dale said...

What a wonderful memory. The best part, for me, is the revelation, through your telling, of the greatest gift of all. You've given much more than physical gifts to your family members; you've given them a love that has opened their hearts to turn them also into givers. You've helped make the world a better place by your selfless acts; each member of your family will pass that love on wherever they go and we're all the better for it.
Thanks for sharing with us, and may you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!
Pat Dale

Charlie said...

Thanks to all who have visited my post and especially for your kind words. Christmas truly is a magical season and I feel so blessed to have such great friends and counterparts! God Bless you all.
C.K. Volnek

Brenda Hyde said...

That is an amazing, wonderful memory, and you made me cry:) What a lovely family you have-- I'd say you and your husband did a fantastic job raising your children.