What a Wonderful Gift

A few years back, my father started a tradition of presenting each of his seven children with a letter on Christmas Eve, highlighting significant events in that child’s year as well as in his own. It is such a treat when we are all beckoned to the dining room to receive our letters. He passes them out one by one, and we each sit, silently, reading them. The joy and pride on his face as he hands them out is gift enough, and then we get to re-live the past year through his eyes. This tradition has come to be something I so look forward to each year.

This year, Dad decided to kick it up a notch. With his letter, he also included an account of his life up until he left the service at the age of 22. How incredible to read about his life and experiences as a young man. From his being born as a blue baby at home and needing to be put in the oven in lieu of an incubator to his time in Korea while serving in the Air Force, few greater gifts can a child receive. It’s easy to not think about your parents’ lives before they had kids – you mean they used to be teenagers, too? But, now that I’ve gotten a glimpse into my Dad’s life early on, I’m hungry for more.

He says his plan is to add to the story each Christmas, but I sure don’t want to wait until then. So, Dad, if you’re reading this (and I know you are 😉 ), I want more, more, more! Soon, soon, soon! And you, too, Mom. Don’t think I’m letting you off the hook! What was your life like at 7 years old? 16 years old? 20?

My parents recently celebrated 50 years of marriage – quite an incredible feat. I’ve loved seeing who they are evolve and change over the years, and now I’m excited to be able to learn about them pre-me! So, for all you parents out there, give your kids and grandkids the story of you. Don’t fool yourself by questioning if anyone really wants to hear your story. They do. We do. I do.

Here are my parents with their 14 grandchildren:



4 comments on “What a Wonderful Gift

  1. KERRI
    As you said I read you Korner story and
    realized that Christmas is a long way off
    each year so I decided to speed up the history process with the next instalment
    available by mothers birthday 2/5. I have already started this venture.

    I just got home from our visit to you and
    Cheryl . Opening my Email I found this post and was overwhelmed with emotions .
    I will attrempt yp print your message so I can share it with MA.

    You knew las tnight at dinner about this post I am sure. Glad you could join us.


  2. Kerri,
    This is just so touching. What a gift your father has given you and everyone in the family. No wonder you turned out to be the fabulous person you are!

  3. This is wonderful…cuts straight to the heart of Christmas, family, connection. I remember a song lyrics I have always loved: “No one else can tell your fire, sing with your voice, take what’s yours.” Our own stories, our treasures.

    This is such a great reminder that it is our own revelations about our lives to each other that matter most. Thank you Mr. Richardson, Kerri, for the wise inspiration and encouragement.

  4. Hi Kerri, what a fabulous tradition! I forwarded your blog entry to my mom and dad, and suggested that we start the same tradition with our family. My parents, like yours, celebrated their 50th last year, so we are very much focusing on documenting history. Remind me to give you a copy of the little video I made for their party — I certainly learned a lot from telling their stories! Cheers — Janice

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