Dec 17, 2013

My Favorite Present of All Time

Looking back at previous Christmases as a child, I realize now that I took my family's generosity greatly for granted.  I had a great childhood filled with everything I could ever want for Christmas presents.   I used to get American Girl Dolls, My Size Barbies, whatever the hot new toy was that year that I wanted and just about everything else that a kid in the 90's could want.  However, one present really stands out in my mind and that was a present not given to me by my mother or grandmother. 
It was Christmas Eve 1995 and we had already had our traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner and went to church.  We were upstairs in my grandmother's living room and I was anxiously anticipating receiving my one Christmas Eve present.  Usually, it is a present that I have wanted all year and worked hard (homework, grades, behavior) to achieve.  My mother comes over to me with an envelope.  I was a little perplexed since my mother usually gave me an actual gift that I wanted, but I went with it.  (After all, I was 9.  I really didn't have a choice.) 
Inside that envelope was a card and a letter from my aunt and behind that was a photo of a kitten.  Of course, I looked at the photo before I read the card, doesn't every kid try to avoid reading cards?  The card told me that the kitten in the photo was mine and my aunt would be dropping it off the day after Christmas.  I freaked out, I had always wanted a kitten but my requests were always met with a, "No" from my mom.  I immediately called my aunt and told her that she had given me the best gift ever.  Which turned out to be true.
Years later, looking back, that was the best gift that I had ever received.  My cat, Buttons, was the love of my life and one of my best friends.  My mom, who was never a cat lover, even warmed up to my cat and loved her to death.  Buttons gave me years of happiness that I would never trade for any toy in the world.
One day I would love to get another cat just like her, although no one could replace her warmness and loving nature.  She is one pet that I will never forget and the best Christmas present that I had ever received.