I only have one good picture of my dad from last Christmas. I would have had more, but last year I wrote a post about how the best present you can give someone on Christmas is your presence.
I hate it when I write myself into a corner like that. Not wanting to be a hypocrite, I left my phone in my pocket most of the night when my family and I went to my parent’s house for Christmas dinner.
And I’m glad I did. Because 72 hours later, he was in the hospital. A week after that, he was gone.
I’ve felt bad for a long time, because there were so many gifts I could have given him that last Christmas together. He really wanted a prepaid cell phone. I went to three stores, they were sold out. He loved pistachios. I should have bought him a years’ supply. I should have, but I didn’t. “If only I had known it would be his last Christmas,” I’ve told myself a thousand times this last year.
Yesterday, I decided to look through my saved emails and read the notes my dad sent me over the years. Many of the emails he sent were “forwards” with corny jokes I’ve read a million times before.
But the most emails he sent by far were him asking when I was coming over again and bringing my two boys with me. It’s what he looked forward to. It’s what he wanted more than anything else.
Especially on Christmas.
So this morning, after being reminded about what really mattered to my dad, I felt differently about that one picture from last Christmas and not finding the right gifts I should have given him last year.
Because we talked with him. We laughed with him. My boys climbed all over him and played with him. We listened to his best stories for the millionth time, but without any distractions this time.
And most importantly, we were there. And we were there. All of us.
It’s the one gift he really wanted. The one gift we all have to give that a store can’t run out of.
Your presence is the best gift you can give someone this Christmas.