Daddy’s Home



When I was a little girl, my dad owned the family trucking business. It still exists today. It’s a mail delivery business. Christmas is a very busy time of year for the mail business. Everybody wants to get their cards and packages delivered to their loved ones by Christmas Day. It seemed liked Dad was always working all the time. My sister and I hardly ever saw him. When we did see him, he was very tired—so tired that all he wanted to do was sit still and relax.
Our Christmases with Dad were simple. On Christmas Day, we would get up and watch television, have breakfast, then go into the dining room, and open up our presents and stockings. When we were done, we played with our new toys. That was it. We didn’t go anywhere special, or do anything fancy. We just enjoyed each other’s company. Having Dad there was such a treat, we didn’t need anything else. He was our gift.
In Matthew 2:11, the Bible says, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (New International Version).
The wise men presented Jesus with their gifts, and them they just enjoyed being in His presence. We live in such a materialistic society, that it’s easy to miss the simplicity of Christmas—the birth of Jesus. Do you have the ultimate gift?

The Cookie Dough Mix Up

In my family, we celebrate Christmas Eve on my dad’s side. As we prepare for Christmas, one of our favorite traditions is baking cookies. We make two kinds. Sugar cookies, and peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s chocolate in the middle. One year, something very interesting happened.
We went to cousin Nina’s house. It was my mom, my Aunt Kay, my Grandma Benson, Cousin Nina’s two kids Whitney and Mitchell, and myself. We gathered around the kitchen table, got out the proper tools, and got started. First, we started with the sugar cookies. My Grandma Benson stood beside me as she sprinkled the cookie board with sugar, then she took the rolling pin, and rolled out the dough. Then, I took a cookie cutter, placed it on the dough, pressed it down firmly on all sides, and lifted it up. When there wasn’t any more room for cookies, Grandma Benson grabbed a cookie sheet, scooped up the cookies, and put them in the oven.
 We moved on to the peanut butter cookies. My job was to unwrap the Hershey’s kisses that would go in the middle of the little peanut butter balls, and put them in a bowl. Once we had enough Hershey’s kisses, my mother came over with the cookie sheet, placed the chocolate in the middle, and put them in them in the oven.
When it was time to check on the cookies, Cousin Nina noticed a problem. “Hey guys, Come look at this.” The adults walked over to the oven.
“The peanut butter dough spread.”  She said.
“Oh yeah, it did spread.  Aunt Kay replied. That’s strange.” Everyone was puzzled. This was definitely a first! Nothing like that ever happened before. By this time, our family had been doing this for years. We followed the same routine every year.  If something was wrong, we should be able to figure it out-—right?
It wasn’t until the next day that we figured out what happened. My mom opened up both containers. The peanut butter cookies smelled like sugar cookies, and the sugar cookies smelled like peanut butter cookies. The adults switched the cookie dough! When we figured out what happened, we laughed. How did such a silly thing happen? I thought. The funniest part was, Aunt Kay was our taste tester and she failed us! How do you miss something like that?
When we did it, we had a great time, and we were together. It was something everyone enjoyed. We still do it today. Just because it didn’t turn out the way we expected, it still blessed our time together as a family.

The Special Ornament


This Christmas memory is a real treasure. Read on and you’ll see why.  Merry Christmas!

My dad passed away in January 1995. My mother, who loves to sew, decided to make everyone in the family ornaments for Christmas in 1995. Using her tailoring skills she gathered dad’s clothes in order to create special gifts for each family member to remember him by. She selected his old favorite clothes like jeans and shirts, cut them into assorted shapes and pieces, and then sewed them together! Some ornaments were round and some looked like stockings. For my grandma Benson, Dad’s mother, she made a pillow.
The fireplace was Dad’s ‘go to spot! Often he would declare: “The hearth is the heart of the family.” Whenever we decided to take the chill out of a cold night, my dad, more often than not, was the person who lit and stoked the fireplace. I could see places where he had burns on his pockets and could smell the scent of lingering smoke. All I have to do is close my eyes and see him wearing those singed “ornament clothes.”
Two months premature, I was born with cerebral palsy. When I came home from the hospital, my mom recalls my dad saying, “This is now the new normal.” Often when our family would go on hikes and other outings, Dad would carry me on his shoulders. Even now I’m able to picture myself being carried by my dad–both of us smiling ear to ear! When we display those ornaments at Christmas I can clearly see his blonde hair, blue eyes, and his glasses, and say, “There’s my daddy!” My father’s gentleness coupled with strong leadership is a huge part of what has shaped my character today.
Let’s rewind to that first Christmas Eve at Grandma’s house after Dad died. Following dinner, before we opened our presents, my mother gave a little speech and passed out her special handcrafted ornaments. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I know that her intention was to acknowledge the fact that Dad was with us last year and this year he’s not. That side of our family has never been big on talking about emotions. Mom was afraid that some of the relatives might get upset because she was talking about something sad on a day that was supposed to be a happy celebration. Instead, the family surprised her. Everyone appreciated Mom’s heartfelt words.  Plus they loved their ornaments. What a relief! Uncle Harold said, “Now when I look at my ornament, I’ll look at it and say, “That’s Rex.”
Creating those ornaments was my mother’s way of making sure her husband would never be forgotten. Well, I don’t have my dad. I still have cerebral palsy. But the images of my father carrying me on his shoulders are forever inscribed on my mind and heart. I sincerely appreciate how he always made me feel like an equal part of the family. I was and always will be daddy’s girl-the “new normal.”
Whenever I catch a glimpse of my special ornament I think, “Merry Christmas Daddy. I sure miss and love you. Now, I’m 33, and still I hold to the memory of the little girl you lovingly carried on your shoulders. Thanks for treating me like a normal kid and making me feel really special. I can’t wait to climb on your shoulders again and be together in heaven.” Merry Christmas everyone!