Somewhere I've heard the line about the accountant who can balance everyone elses checkbook but her own. It's a line that suits when I think about my role as a personal historian. After four years, I've created about 16 personal and business histories but had yet to do one of those that are up closest to me. Then last year Dad's cancer came back.
I knew I wanted to create a history for my parents but their life together has been HUGE. I finally figured out the direction to go. I wanted to know the stories of their many years together as a couple in love which actually began when they were kids.
Thankfully I got to sit with them and hear numerous details of childhood, college and their adult life. That was the first gift of the book. After the last interview Dad said, "Have you gotten what you need?" He knew the scope and the purpose of the job, and as always he was sure to do his share, and then some, of the lifting toward the goal.
As I kept myself busy the last week of Dad's life working on the book while at my parent's home, he assured us that he would not be hanging around for final edits. As always he could count on Mom to keep me on task and she wanted it completed for Christmas. Mom helped with hours of editing and contributions. This was the second gift of the book.
On Christmas morning as the family sat together Mom asked each of my brothers to jointly open their Christmas boxes. In unison the lids were lifed the the first thing each found was an ornament with the word "Joy." Mom urged them to hang their Joy anywhere they would see it often and be reminded that she and Dad lived a life together where they made a point to find the joy in each day.
Next, a layer of tissue paper was lifted and there was a copy of the book Seasons of Love for each. Quiet insued as my brothers sat flipping through the pages of their book looking at the pictures and noting the stories. Their response was the best gift of all for me on Christmas Day.