Wrapped in Gratitude, memories of an imperfect dad


“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” Lionel Hampton

I stook over a bed strewn with ribbon, tape and wrapping paper when I felt overcome with gratitude for knowing how to wrap gifts.

Dad used to stand for hours during Christmastime over the bed in an extra room upstairs. He’d meticulously wrap every gift, adding matching ribbon and bow. He also wrapped at our family’s dress shop during the holiday season.

I watched him tape the gift so it wouldn’t shift about, fold the edges of paper to align both sides exactly (there are two ways to do this), tie a ribbon around the package, and make many of the bows by hand even though we had a bow-making machine.

It’s not the first time I’ve felt this sort of gratitude for my father.

However, it may be the first time I’ve felt appreciation alongside opposing thoughts … too many holidays filled with anger and pain.

For years, unpleasant feelings tangled up our lives sort of like a string of Christmas lights just retrieved from the attic. Do you ever wonder how they get in such a mess just lying there throughout the year?

Today’s post is about assessments and awakenings, about this year’s Christmas and Christmases past.

Today’s post, wrapped neatly in Christmas paper and a matching bow just like Dad’s, is about gratitude in the midst of imperfection.

This day I’m entertained by all Dad gave, like the cartoonish boat captain figurine that looks happy in our living room and baseball-sized earrings he spray painted gold as a gift when I pierced my ears – instead of being bothered by what I think I missed in our relationship.

This day I’m enthusiastic about the creativity he passed down to me and to his grandkids, our inherited love of home improvement stores, and the renovation tips my husband and I learned from him – instead of low-spirited about his bad habits I made my own.

This day I’m indebted that not only can I wrap an attractive gift, but I can tuck the top bed sheet tight enough for military inspection, mow and edge a yard like a landscaper and, if I want to, scrub a bathroom with Comet till it’s sparkling clean. Just like Dad.

I’d love to hear your season’s gratitude list.

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – This Christmas, my memories are wrapped in gratitude. I hope yours are also.


One response »

  1. Comments from Facebook:

    Jeanie Johnson, Susan Blanton and Linda Saelg Calvanico like this.

    Linda Saelg Calvanico says Thanks for sharing those wonderful memories!
    Thursday at 10:46pm · Unlike · 1

    Susan Blanton says WOW…theres a powerful message in that material! A private msg soon to follow! I can see your Dad as I read this and had to smile at what you described. Memories…thank God that we have them and as we all get older, it all seems to make more sense, or is it that the little things mean so much more? Thank you for sharing!
    Friday at 8:20pm · Like

    Jeanie Johnson says Wow! That’s a tear-jerker.., makes me think, a lot–about my own “stuff” from the past. thanks Kim!
    Friday at 9:17pm · Like

    Kim Henson says ‎@ Susan, I like to think as we get older, we’re becoming ‘ole softies. : ) It was weird … I stopped wrapping to write the post. For a moment, it was like I was the spitting image of Dad standing over the bed. I really have a heart for him and all he passed on.
    Friday at 11:43pm · Like · 1

    Kim Henson ‎says @ Jeanie, I needed a couple of tissues while writing it. Luv u!
    Friday at 11:45pm · Like · 1

    Jeanie Johnson says ♥ u 2 Kim!~
    Friday at 11:45pm · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson says And now our night owl selves need to go to bed … yes?
    Friday at 11:46pm · Like · 1

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