We had the Adler Christmas tonight, and it was incredibly nice, as always. Everyone (except for Kris Adler and Family, who are in Virginia) was there for many hours, and everyone got to spend time with each other.
The superstar of the day, of course of course (she's not a horse), was Miss Amelie. She stayed up until 3pm, took a 2-hour nap on my lap, and then went strong until 7:30pm. What a trooper!
We wanted to take a moment tonight and say thank you.
If you permit us, this is a blanket thank you to all the enormous acts of public and private generosity that we have been so humbled by, and amazed by, and overwhelmed by, and honored to have received. We have been trying to write thank you notes to all the people who have sent us gifts, checks, money, or gift cards...but it has just overwhelmed us.
So. To everyone who has helped us out, in all the ways that people can, thank you.
It takes the burden off us financially, emotionally, spiritually, and relationship-ally (I know this is not a word, but it works in my narrative, ok..thanks Amy :) ) It sets our minds at ease knowing that people have been touched by Amie's (unwanted) adventures, the blog, or any combination of the above. Most of the time, we are speechless.
If you would permit me, I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about two different gifts that we received, one months ago, and one yesterday. I want to talk about them not to thank people explicitly (although that's never a bad thing), but to explain the bigger life lessons that I have learned, and hope you can hear/see a slice of, and reflect on...
Story 1: Back in October, a family of a current McBride student approached me and asked me if I wanted to receive an American Girl doll for my girls. We chose to give that doll exclusively to Anya for lots of reasons, most of which are that Amie doesn't really have passion and energy for dolls, and Anya really does. Also, Anya is of an age that many of her friends have one, and it is a focus of conversation for them...and she can feel "normal" with it.
Here is a picture of her receiving that doll tonight.
The thing that touched me was what the Mom told me about it. She has triplets, and won a single doll from a contest. She said that she and the girls discussed the doll, and how trying to share it would be problematic (to say the least...). The idea was floated that maybe there was another kid that would enjoy it more, and Amie was suggested. They all agreed.
I hear this story, and I think many things. I think about how we hear such terrible things about strangers and each other on a daily basis (thanks news agencies that I used to be intimately involved in!), and how it is a rolling conversation among some that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and you might want to just focus on your family and leave the rest of the world alone. I then see a family do such a selfless thing for my girls...girls they have never met, and most likely might not ever meet. The idea of giving away an American Girl doll is floated by little kids. Kids who society tells you are selfish, self-centered, and overly commercialized. I met them to get the doll, and they could not have been any kinder, any more giving, and any more interested in elevating one little kid's life, even a smidge.
Story 2: I got a FB message from a guy I used to work with for a few months at the end of my tenure at WNEM back in 2003. Note that 2003 is 11 years ago.
This is a picture of Anya crushing my head, as she was on the greenscreen used for the weather broadcasts in the station.
We got home, opened the gifts, and were floored. They had spent a lot of money on incredibly well-thought gifts for both my girls. They had bought 2 of everything, so they didn't need to share.
The smallest boxes contained the biggest punch, though. In each of these boxes were identical lockets, for both Amie and Anya. In the lockets were two pictures. One was a family picture that we have hanging in our living room (thanks Janelle and Leia!), and one is of the girls hugging in Hawai'i after our amazing Luau. Anya was overwhelmed by how awesome this gift is.
Here is a picture of her loving it to pieces.
This story tells me something different. Zara and I worked together on weekends at the end of my TV career, when I was DONE with working in TV. However, he says that I was incredibly kind to him, taught him a bunch of stuff, and he's always remembered me well....even after 11 years.
I look at this story and know that it's never the big things we do, the grand gestures, that matter. It's the consistent kindnesses, the small gestures, the quiet moments, the times we go out of our way that people remember and matter to them. When we spend the most valuable resource we have (time) to give to others, they will reciprocate.
So, my gift (and quest) to you, as you go through the chaos of Christmas and New Years, is:
- to give thanks for what you have, while you have it, as you do not know when it will be gone.
- to do the small things as much as possible, as they are the things that truly matter.
I could go on sermonizing for a while, but I shall not. Today was a really good day, and I'm not sure how many of those we have left.
So, from the Strzalkowski family to your family, have a great Christmas holiday...no matter who you define family as, or what religious persuasion (or lack thereof) you hold dear.
Merry Christmas everyone.