Usually I'm the one that makes people cry with gifts. In fact - I've mentioned here before that it is a goal to make Mom cry at Christmas. In a good way, that is.
As a group we have surprised Mom many times - including custom parquet thresholds after the hardwood floors were redone, restoring her antique Christmas tree with extremely rare bubble lights (rare because of their obsolete size C5) and once we even remodeled the kitchen over the space of 2.5 days.
I like surprising people with things they never even thought of wanting. I didn't expect to be on the receiving end of such a gift on Saturday. My sister Susan pulled off the impossible - she made me speechless.
She has become adept at creating books for people. Out there on the information superhighway there are places where you can create hardback books with your content. I loved one that she made for her husband Patrick...for Father's Day, I think. It was full of pictures of Patrick and their twins and it will be a keepsake for the rest of his life.
She (and Denise...I think?) worked to create a special book for Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary a few years back. I still enjoy flipping through that book and reading letters and stories from the lives that they helped shape through the years. And recently Denise made a nifty book about she and Jack's trip to New York City.
But even with all that knowledge - I didn't expect a thing when we sat down to open gifts at the family birthday gathering. Since Mom and I share a birthday - we each had a stack of cards and gift bags around us. I never noticed Susan was on pins and needles waiting for me to unwrap her gift. I read a card or two and was about to start playing with my new orange hedgehog koosh when she said "open the wrapped one in that bag, please."
Well...ok... The card attached said "I'm not much of a reader, but I like this writer. Hope you enjoy" And I unwrapped this:
she got me.
I was stunned.
One of the things that surprises me is how thick the book is! I didn't realize how much I had written in the space of about a year.
The forward is from Chuck Taylor (the writer, not the shoe) and the passage that I like best is: As the voice of The Beaten Hamster for the past year-plus, you, Chris Howell, know that blogging is not for the faint of heart. It takes a certain flair, a modicum of audacity, a way with words that evolves as you grow more comfortable with the outlet. And more than anything, it requires a heap of fearlessness. Thank you Chuck. The part that you have played in both the book and blog means a great deal to me.
And the book ends with a note from Susan "About the Arthur" (family joke). I can't tell you all that she said but I'll share a little bit: Chris is highly intelligent. She skipped the 1st grade (actually it was the second grade) and even though she wasn't able to get her driver's license till she had almost graduated high school, she had no regrets. (well...maybe I'll share more about that sometime...) She is a wonderful daughter, a crazy aunt, a dedicated worker, a good christian, a fearless friend...
I've always said that we are the sum total of our experiences. Whatever I am so far, and whatever I shall become in the future...you all have played a part. Thank you so much for being my family, my friends, my coworkers and fellow divas...the best is yet to come!