This year's big gift

For the last couple of years our Dad has given us cash for Christmas so that we could buy what we want/need. This year, he said he was doing something different. We were all going to get the same thing, but he didn't say what it was. This, to me, was puzzling. He got us something that he thinks we will all like--and that we'll all like more that we would like cash? More than I would like cash--I who love money above all things? This did not seem possible.

Spitfire and I picked Mom and Dad up at the airport and learned that Dad carried our gifts on the airplane in a separate backpack (a purple backpack, mind you) rather than checking them in his suitcase. This, to me, suggested electronics. Whatever was in the backpack felt firm and squarish, based on the exploring I did with my bare feet while standing over the backpack while talking to my parents in their bedroom. On Christmas Eve I had a brain flash and decided that he must have bought us digital picture frames. He got one for Mom for Christmas, which she opened before they left Alaska. It's unisex, it's the kind of thing you wouldn't necessarily want to check with your baggage, and it's one of the hot gifts this year.

I approached Jen and Spitfire with my suspicion as we were all heading for bed. Thing is, none of us actually care about digital picture frames. But I said that if this is what he's chosen for us then he's probably really excited about it and we need to be sure to be really, really pleased when we open them. Spitfire asked if it would be okay to return them afterwards. Jen and I didn't think so. We went to sleep in a subdued mood, consoling ourselves with the thought that we've had 20-some years of fabulous Christmas presents and one dud isn't going to kill us. And it's more than a lot of people get.

Since I was sleeping on a couch which quite possibly hated me and wanted me to die, I woke up about 18 times that night from about 6 different dreams in which I opened my present and feigned excitement for the digital picture frame. To understand this couch, you should watch this video. This is the feeling I get from it.

So. Enough of the evil couch and its ways and back to my dad.

Christmas morning, we opened our presents. When we saw the wrapped gifts from Dad we realized they were too flat to be the picture frames. Which just made the morning even better. What they turned out to be were printed, bound copies of the journal he kept from 1979 to 1995, as well as a personal history he wrote in 1980 about his childhood and family and growing up. He spent October through December transcribing the journal, trying to get it read in time for Christmas.


We've all been reading them ever since and it's kind of fascinating. When he started the journal, he was 22, newly married, stationed in Germany with the Air Force, and they were pregnant with me. My parents had also just joined the LDS church, so they were adjusting to a new lifestyle and pretty much a new culture. So not only is it interesting to see what he was like then and how he saw the world and what his plans were, but we can also see how much he's changed and how much he's accomplished since then.

Dad said that going through and rereading his journal was a crazy experience because there were so many things in there that he had (and still has) absolutely no recollection of. Which is I guess why we're meant to write stuff down.

He says he's probably going to wait a bit on the 1995-2007 journal, what with that being a little more recent. I agree with him, if only because he and Jenny have finally started getting along again. Revisiting that whole 1995-2000 thing might reignite the bloodshed. Also I have no desire to find journal entries where he wonders if he and my mother have somehow failed because I'm still single at 24 or whatever. That would not be good for my psyche. I prefer the entries about what a cute, blessed baby I am. As would anyone.


Desmama said... [reply]

That really is so cool. If there's one thing I've learned from blogging, it's that you get to know someone on a whole new level through their writing. That history is a treasure. What a neat gift.

Bridget said... [reply]

Awesome gift, but what I really wanted to say is that that video is HILARIOUS! Thanks for sharing.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

What a fantastic gift! (And so much better than digital picture frames...)

KimberlyKV said... [reply]

My money was on a GPS system of some sort. The journal is an unbelievably fantastic gift. It's unfortunate that all the journals I ever kept will have to be buried with me or destroyed. My entire teenage existence is, "Dustin is so cute. No wait, Jay is cuter." Puke. Happy Christmas!

BEFore said... [reply]

You know, you could have posted that video by itself and no one could have complained. It is, in the words of "the internets", "made of win".

I don't know that I could ever allow anyone to read my journals. Perhaps after some heavy editting/rewriting -- but then *I* would have to re-read them; and frankly I'm not sure I could handle it. :)

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Just beautiful.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Before, I know! Funniest thing ever. And I agree with the guy. Dead clown in the garden pretty much trumps anything.

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