Yesterday I had a memory flash quickly through my mind.
The exact timing is fuzzy, but it was in the mid-eighties. I was probably 7ish. My Dad (or maybe soon-to-be-future-Dad at that point) brought my sister, mom and me to his dental office on the south side of Chicago for a Christmas Party.
I remember the color brown, or perhaps it was just a bit dingy. I remember old dental chairs and equipment and dim lights. There was probably a Christmas tree. I am sure there was a musty and medical smell. In attendance were families of co-workers of my Dad, I think some of them were Hispanic. My Dad spoke Spanish on the job.
As a young girl I had not been exposed to many people different from me. I had not heard a lot of foreign languages spoken, I had not experienced the age and deterioration that is sometimes indicative of "inner city" establishments.
I remember someone I had just met got my sister and me a gift. I was not expecting this and I immediately held my expectations very high. My sister opened her gift and I think it was a generic Barbie or Baby doll, mine was a puzzle. I was completely disappointed in the gift. Never did it cross my mind: "It's the thought that counts." I found this photo of me with the gift, and judging by the body language, I am not quite embracing it...
Today as I watched people shopping, and as I thought about the economy and the affect that it is having on our everyday lives and undoubtedly our holiday celebration, I thought of this humble offering given to me as a child. And 20 years late, I finally appreciated it. Yet another reason to thank my Father in Heaven for the time he has given me. The time to grow, change, evolve and be more grateful with each passing day.