Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Operation Santa - The 36 hour miracle

This is my 'thank you' note to our fabulous organization . . .

How do I describe such an honor? In the first hours after I sent my original e-mail, the word ‘success’ already felt appropriate. By Saturday morning, only the word ‘miracle’ was left on my lips.


You may know the story. Service co-chair and I delivered to an adopt-a-family on Thursday morning. A neighbor approached us, with the humility only a person in love with her children could have possessed. We had told her that we didn’t think we could help much, but we would try. She left expecting nothing. My co-chair and I agreed to collect a few things from home, just a little something, by Saturday.


On my next errand, I ran into another PTA member. Still moved by the need, I quickly conveyed my story. In spite of my insistence that the timing was simply too short, she solicited my promise that I would write a PTA memo. I did.

From around 2pm on Thursday until my van backed out of the driveway Saturday morning, my phone rang off the hook, and my doorway barely closed before another minivan appeared bearing gifts. When one PTA mom departed, leaving entire wardrobes for both children and a huge bag of toys – all purchased new the few hours before, I nearly cried.

By Friday afternoon, I required everyone who made a delivery to enter my home. My shock so great, I worried that no one could possibly believe the generosity. I wondered how I could possibly describe such a scene. My home overflowed with bags and boxes of last minute love. Around 5:30pm, I received another delivery. While so many others had expressed a desire to help, but could not, she said she would be back in one hour. From 6:30pm until 2am, we sorted, we assembled outfits, and we wrapped those items with the love and care with which they were given. So many times, we wished we had one more Christmas stocking, another gift bag, more tissue, a shirt to match that sweater, and in the next box exactly what we wished for appeared. I joked that I was going to wish for a million dollars, and we laughed together.

On Saturday morning, my co-chair and I worked hard to fit everything into our two minivans. My view out my back window blocked, we finally departed.


When the grandparents opened the door, the grandmother (the woman who had originally approached us) recognized us immediately. They did not know we were coming.

“Have you been requesting a miracle? Because, I think there is one in our vans for you.”

My co-chair quickly explained that our vans were filled with gifts for them. Of course, who could possibly believe that we were not kidding?

The grandfather quickly slipped on some shoes and came out to help us. The gifts in the back of my minivan alone surprised him beyond any possible expectation. When he approached my van, I handed him the stocking with the little girl’s name written in glitter glue. Truly, this was an inexpensive stocking with a slightly messy name (I did my best).

He smiled and said, “That’s my grandbaby’s name,” with a voice that melted my heart all over again. I felt his humility, not able to believe that this wasn’t just her name not the stocking, by some coincidence, but that it really was HER stocking.

We unloaded the van together and with the opening of each door, the shock of the additional gifts started all over again. Their living room was truly filled, and they allowed me to take a picture, which I will share as well. The grandfather insisted that we come in. He kept thanking us. He wanted to know the who, what, where, and how. We shared the stories – the email, the donations, the 4 year old who ran out to my minivan with his toy bus, my friend’s child who ran back up stairs to find more books. We saw pictures of the children and told him how beautiful they are, how good they must be, how loving their grandparents are: how honored we are to be standing there before him. They soaked it all in, and felt all the hugs one by one.

He admitted to having felt a little down this Christmas, laughing with misty eyes.

I also had written a note for the grandparent’s stocking. I wasn’t sure how much we would say, and I wanted them to receive all of your sentiments and all of your hugs. I will include that below as well.

On our final trip out to the van, I handed the grandfather two more bags of unwrapped clothing I had picked up on the way to our delivery.

“These were extra,” I said, “just in case.”

He shook his head laughing, “Just in case?! The very first gift you brought was extra. God bless you all.”

Thank you ALL for a Christmas I won’t forget either.


enthalpymama said...

Merry Christmas to Everyone!! I have scheduled my Christmas post, but probably won't be back on until the family and I have unwrapped and played with all the new treasures.

Have a wonderful holiday! I will check in on everyone when I return. Thats a promise.

Rachel said...

What a great thing you did!

Have a Merry Christmas...I wish you and your family all the best in 2009!