Thursday, December 31, 2009

Unexpected Gifts

I thought I had opened all my presents.

I thought when the flurry of Christmas wrap, tissue paper and ribbons had subsided that there were no more gifts.

I was wrong.

Youngest Daughter came to me and asked, "Can you please ask Grandpa to come up to my room? I need him to fix something."

Uh, well, okay. Grandpa does love to fix things, and there really isn't much Grandpa can't fix. I'll send him up.

And, of course, Grandpa dutifully went up the stairs to fix what needed to be fixed.

A half hour later I began to wonder exactly what did need to be fixed. I trotted to Youngest Daughter's door, peered in and found, to my surprise, Youngest Daughter presiding over the arrangement of the new Playmobil kitchen and My Dad patiently placing tiny chairs, miniscule cutlery and itty-bitty cookbooks in the Playmobil dollhouse.

All the while Youngest Daughter chatted away . . . considering, analyzing, theorizing over the best placements. And My Dad obediently worked away to make the kitchen just right.

Can we just say that My Dad isn't exactly who you'd think of to be seated on the floor playing dollhouse with his 6 year-old granddaughter.

He's a full-blooded German, ex-engineer, ex-military man. He has large hands, working hands. I can remember them with cracked knuckles, grease under the fingernails and bruised nails. And now they held a tiny dishwasher and stove. They slid a small refrigerator over so there would be just enough room for the tiny shelving unit.

My Dad has become more tender, more easygoing over the years. It was sweetly healing to see the two of them together, heads bent over the task at hand.

I tiptoed away with my heart warmed to see My Dad gently and patiently engrossed in play with Youngest Daughter, selflessly entering into what could only be an unfamiliar world for him!

An hour and a half later, they both came down the stairs . . . Youngest Daughter beaming happily.

"So, what did you and Grandpa play," I asked (assuming he had probably pointed her to the more structural Legos or even napped on her bed while she played.)

"Oh, we played Playmobil dollhouse and we put together puzzles and we played fairy paperdolls."

Oh my! Can it be? My Dad? Fairy paperdolls?

And that's when I remembered again that not all gifts can be held in one's hands or wrapped up in a box or decorated with a bow.

The official present exchange of the day was long over, but I was savoring my own unexpected gift in the delight of my daughter's eyes and the patient, selfless hands of my father.


  1. This is the sweetest thing!!! Love the dreamy pictures. What wonderful memories...

  2. O what a beautiful thing, makes my heart happy to hear that story.

  3. Your story brought tears to my eyes. It's so wonderful that you're recording these moments in print and photos to be treasured for years to come. Happy New Year!

  4. Wow -- that is a great gift : )

  5. That is awesome and beautiful that you got to witness them together. I pray that one day I will get that blessing between my dad and my daughter. Thanks for sharing this on your blog. Those I think are the best presents of all!

  6. What a special moment for you. It stories like this one that I need to help keep perspective in this life! Thanks for sharing!

  7. such a beautiful sweet thing and precious memory..the best gift of all !

  8. Precious, precious times. Better than all the silver and gold in the world. Hugs to your sweet dad for being an incredible grandpa.

  9. i love my grandfather very much, the time when i live with him is the most memorable thing in my life

  10. Beautiful memory! You really have a happy family! The family members are great!