According to my family, I am a tough buy. I don’t understand it at all but I have heard it for almost thirty years. I think I’m an easy person to get gifts for.
I mean, I like a lot of things. I even get excited walking through the aisles of Staples. I like pens. I like coffees. 50% of my wardrobe is t-shirts with team logos on them. It seems to me that I am an easy buy.
But, I think what my kids have been saying is that it’s tough to find me cool, out of the ordinary, gifts that will wow me. We Linscotts like to wow people so much that they cry when they get their gifts. We love happy tears and big surprises.
With those goals, yeah, I’m tough but who isn’t? I mean, I like everything, but usually I leave my Christmas gifts til last so I can take pictures of everyone else opening their gifts.
I absolutely love giving gifts! I’ve spent my whole married life trying to get a giant reaction out of my wife. The problem is that she is not a “giant reaction” type of person. My sweetie is calm and reserved. I can’t even get her to yell “woohoo!” at a baseball game. I’ve tried. My daughter is almost a carbon copy of her when it comes to public reactions. We men? No way! We are the jump-up-yelling-woohoo-and-tackle-ya types. We yell at ballgames and celebrate loud. Our kids’ marriages brought two more woohoo types and one additional reserved celebrator into our tribe.
I was soooo excited this past Christmas because I caught my Jake’s wife Laura wiping away happy tears when she opened my surprise gift. She hadn’t chosen the photos for their wedding album still so I took matters into my own hands asking my girls to go through the hundreds of photos to pick the top 100. Then, I designed their album. Boom! Tears! Success! I love that.
But, I didn’t cry at my gift … until 5 months later. I didn’t cry until this past Sunday morning.
On Christmas morning my family gave me the gift I asked for. I told them I didn’t want Sox hats, cool gadgets or photography bobbles this year. All I wanted was focused time with us all together at some point during the year. On Christmas morning they revealed the plan of a Spring weekend in a large Vermont mountain cabin. Together.
“Together.” I love that word maybe most of all words. My transplant bumped it way up my word list. Other words used to show themselves competing for top spot and pushing “together” aside until “later” way too often. “Together” fought with deadlines, work responsibilities, appointments and schedules. As the kids got older they had their stuff with their friends and we had our stuff and “together” got bumped a lot.
My transplant brought it back to the forefront for all of us. Even with college classes, weddings, buying houses and living life, the glue of “family” was reapplied or somehow strengthened. It was always very, very strong but now it’s stronger than Gorilla Glue.
So, early last Sunday morning while the sun was rising, sitting in a Vermont mountain cabin with my family sleeping in rooms on the second floor, I cried.
The tears came while I was going through the results of our family photo shoot from Saturday afternoon. Rather than find an area pro, I opted to just use my tripod and a remote trigger and a bunch of props. I brought all my photo gear and was ready to roll.
My daughter-in-law, Kristen, spent some of her day making the chalk drawing signs I wanted. One side of the sandwich board sign simply identified us and on the other I asked for my life motto since transplant, “Every day is a bonus day.”
Scrolling through the photos I was struck by a couple things.
First, my kids are so in love. Growing up complaining about Robin and I kissing in the kitchen, holding hands on walks or wrestling and playing have left their mark. My kids used to complain about being “scarred” by us being awkward and a little embarrassing in our expressions of love for each other. Flipping through photos I saw those scars. Each of my kids plays with their spouse, laughs a lot and vocalizes their love with words. They have learned well. I love their scars.
Second, these pictures showed me the glue of family. I see a lot of families struggling, arguing and dreading having to get together at holidays. That is not us. I pray it never is. We played together, walked together, laughed together, drove together and ate together. Together.
Before we headed home on Sunday morning I gathered my gang together near our packed cars to thank them for such an amazing Christmas gift.
And, of course, I cried.
“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Genesis 50:20