Sometimes the answer is right in front of us.  The most important things are often overlooked.  However, sometimes the answer isn’t wrong; Sometimes the question is.

Several nights ago, my eldest daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  Being practical and still somewhat short of money, I probably mentioned new books, socks, slacks or a hat, some such answer a child would surely find boring at Christmas.  I didn’t have to wait long before she let me know what she thought of that answer.  “Well, if you had all the money in the world, what would you give yourself, something fun just for you?”  Hmm, different question, different scenario altogether.  Certainly not an “I wish for whirled-peas” type of response.  I could use a new piano; I’m tired of tripping over dead keys.  And of course, Taylor makes a very nice 12-string.  “Not sure hon, I’d have to think about it.”  Yup, that was the best I could come up with at the time.  It didn’t hit me until later that night that I knew the answer all along.  I want some macaroni artwork.

Dear Santa...

On the night she asked me the question, I picked up the Ovation as I usually do before bedtime, and started to drift into a mindless musical wandering  just to get 15 minutes or so of bliss.  Lost in the moment, I realized I was staring at the small, hand-made, guitar-shaped pillow resting on the love seat.  It was one of the reminders of being unemployed, a reminder of love, support and hope.  It’s not the only hand-made gift I got for Christmas that year; I have some hand-made clay hippos (yes, I love hippos…) and a wonderful tray, also made of clay, for my watch and glasses.  It was made with love to answer daddy’s nagging question, “where the heck  did I put my glasses?” It even has a little post that sticks up to hold my wedding ring.  And on my bed lies a small hand-sewn pillow, square in shape with only a “plus” sign hand embroidered on the front.  My eldest wanted to make sure that when I went to bed, I had positive thoughts before I closed my eyes and that I was positive when I woke up every day.

I often peek into my “Dad’s Memories box” every so often and my eyes will well-up to the point where I can’t read the notes, scribbles and hand prints meant to say Happy Birthday, Happy Father’s day and such.  I have treasures made of sticks and pipe cleaners, hand folded paper and buttons smeared with glue, all holding deep meaning and immeasurable value.  All made by the chubby little fingers I’d press to my lips, all the while wishing they would stay that way forever.

Time won’t stop or back up for Christmas, no matter how hard one wishes.  I am quickly running out of opportunities for the handmade love; something that means so much more coming from their hands, hearts and minds, instead of being lifted off some dime-store shelf.

The correct question is “what do you want me to make you for Christmas this year dad?”

I’m not sure what the answer will be, but I know I’ll cherish it forever.