“Mom,” Gabriel said. “I still have to shop for the brothers. When will we go out?”
I looked at my tiny son, perched on the old stool in the kitchen. He smiled big. No bottom teeth. Hard to say “no” to.
“Gosh, Gabe. I forgot all about your shopping,” I said. I was December-crazy and the thought of the stores made me itchy. “Tell you what? Dad and I have some nice things for everyone. Why don’t we put your name on some of the gifts for the brothers? Those can be from you.”
Gabe’s round eyes got rounder. “But I have dollars. Of my own.”
My mind scrambled for a time that we could shoot into town. I came up blank.
“Let’s see what happens. We’ll do our best, okay?”
Gabe must’ve offered little-boy prayers because God provided time that afternoon. Lonny came home early, and Zay crashed on the living room floor. Gabe and I seized the moment and bolted for the bull’s eye – Target. I added a few bucks to the dollar bills wadded in the pockets of his Levis, and Gabe was in heaven with gifts for all – a spatula for Dad’s Saturday eggs, Grinch pencils for Logan, Storm Trooper action guy for Zay….
Two hours later our red van returned to the garage. I did a mental scroll-down of the two-hundred things I needed to accomplish. But as Gabe and I trudged through the snow to the backdoor, he reached for my hand. “I love the presents, Mom. How ‘bout tonight we wrap?” His grin was wide.
For a split second, I went into panic mode – there was so much to do. I had little time and now my guy asked for more.
Then I looked down at Gabe as he clutched his precious little red bag of gifts. He didn’t have a lot. But what he had – he shared. And the blessing was his. Maybe it was the same with time?
Gabe and I did wrap his gifts that night. We didn’t really need the cookies. The cards were put on hold. But I held the wrapping paper while Gabe used the scissors. I watched him print his name, in kindergarten scrawl, on the tags.
Gabe knew what Jesus meant when he said it’s more blessed to give than to receive. And thanks to my little blond fellow, I remembered, too.