My doorbell rang a few days before Christmas. A box - small, yet heavy - sat there with the return address of an old childhood friend. Puzzled, I brought it inside to the kitchen. As I sliced open the box and slide out the contents, I caught my breath and a flood of memories took its place. The note read:
"...After my mom moved, she gave me some things she found in one of the bedroom closets from our old house. This included...Little House on the Prairie books. I didn't think much of it until my daughter found the inscription in this one - to you from your parents! Here they are for you to pass down to your daughter."
My mom passed away nearly 9 years ago and some of my fondest memories with her revolve around Little House on the Prarie books. We spent every summer sailing in the San Juan Islands and she would read the adventures of Laura out loud to pass our days on the water. My dad would joke, "If I have to hear Ma or Pa one more time, those books are going overboard!"
My mom was constantly reading to me and reading herself. She fostered in me a love of reading, which is still a passion - I serve on the Friends of the Library board, started a couple of book clubs over the years, and have become an elementary school teacher. Reading to my kids and taking them to the library are some of our favorite things to do together.
My mom had saved nearly all my childhood books and after college I passed most of them on to friends who were newly graduated teachers and needed them to start their classroom libraries. I've always regretted parting with them. I still have a few special holiday books from her - a couple inscribed with "some day you can read these to your children". And now I do.
As I stood at the kitchen island, holding these well-worn and treasured books, tears came to my eyes. The magic of Christmas had arrived via a thoughtful friend.