Sunday, January 11, 2009


A couple of days before Christmas, I went into hyper- aerobic preparation mode. Never did finish shopping, still had lingering reports to type, food to prepare and my home had taken on that college dormitory look. Family would be arriving in on Christmas Eve to stay with us and I felt tempted to put a “closed for renovation” sign on the Inn. I was nowhere close to ready and if I added back the hours that I would normally sleep, there were still not enough to accomplish everything. I had vowed earlier in the season to “let go” of the unimportant things; not to sweat the little stuff, but alas, I was gripped with the reality that too much big stuff had fallen away and that I never seem to get it all together.

The outside of my body worked swiftly and quietly but inside my head there was a raging storm of “to do” lists that kept growing. Cadence sat in the den quietly drawing. I barely recognized that she was involved in her own preparation for the season. I could hear her humming and singing in the background as I did my acrobatic multi-tasking; adding baking soda and salt here, adding to the grocery list there, counting gifts to be sure everyone was covered.

“Mom,” Cadence asked coming into the kitchen, hand held behind her back. “Where can I find a frame?”

I searched my mind to see if frame hunting would fit on my overflowing to-do list but I felt impending rupture in my brain and could not accommodate.

“Sorry honey, I just can’t.”

“Just tell me where and I will get it myself.” she persisted, not one to give up easily.

“Cadence, NO.” I heard myself say in a voice that was less than kind. “You’ll have to just make do for now. Everything is stored away and not easy to get to and I just cannot take time to do that now. I have way to much to do and no help and ….”

“Alright, never mind.” She said, in hopes if avoiding what she recognized as possible mother melt-down. “I’ll make one.”

“Don’t look.” She instructed as she stretched the cord across the counter for the hot glue gun; cardboard cuttings scattered on the counter and floor around her.

I bit my lip, moving to a different section of the to do list, wanting to shriek “Get Out of the Kitchen!” A short time later, she was gone in search of wrapping paper, leaving debris in her wake.

“There. She announced, smile of satisfaction spread smoothly on her face, “I’m putting this under the tree….it’s for you.”

Christmas morning came and Cadence was pulled by her stocking and the new gifts under the tree that Santa left. She dragged her teenage brothers from bed and they worked diligently on round one…the Santa gifts.

We reassembled after wrappings were collected, pastries served, coffee poured and bathrooms visited to the more relaxed part of the morning…family gifts. Cadence was beyond excited for me to open hers first. I removed the neatly wrapped package and I looked at the snowy drawing of the front of our home, snowman smiling and waving. My heart ached a little as I looked at the frame. It was backed with corrugated cardboard and the front mounted with thin strip of the same; four pieces cut exactly to size held together with clear glue adorned with the signature strings of hot glue gun.

I flashed back to the day she made it, feeling guiltily that I did not have a minute to hunt for a frame. I had let go of the wrong “little things” and the frame was like a reminder to me of the real priorities in life. I stared at the picture for a bit, commenting on the details and Cadence smiled the warm smile of giving.

“Wait Mom, you have to read the note.” She said, still wiggling with anticipation. The outside of the wrapping paper held a pocket made of the same paper, carefully taped to the front. I pulled out the note and received my best Christmas present ever.

Although I will never find a frame as perfect as the one she made, the gift of her words will be framed and treasured.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

OMHOG, I can hardly take how incredible that is. Wow.

Deb Shucka said...

Unbelievably beautiful. Cadence is such a treasure. I love her persistence and her old-soul heart.

Terry said...

Amazing Nancy. She "gets" you. Love.