When I was a child, there were things I wanted for Christmas and never received. For one thing, I was fascinated by the electronic doors at the supermarket. This was back in the sixties, and my favorite part of accompanying my mother to the grocery store was standing on the mat in front of the door and watching it swing open. Once through the door, I had to stop, turn, and watch the door close behind us. Needless to say, I wanted a magic door for Christmas. Nothing doing.
I loved elevators, especially the one in my father’s office building because it had Braille numbers. It was cool to walk into that elevator with or without Dad and push the correct button for his floor. Although our house only had one floor except for the partial basement, I had to have an elevator for Christmas. That didn’t happen, either.
Soon after I started taking piano lessons, my mother played recordings of piano concertos by Mozart and Beethoven on the phonograph. I thought it would be neat to have a symphony orchestra that would accompany me whenever I played the piano. I wanted one for Christmas but didn’t get that, either.
One of the more realistic presents I wanted and never got was a battery operated toy telephone. A friend had one in her room and used it to call her brother in his room and talk to him. I thought it would be great to do the same thing with my brother. But the phone never appeared under our Christmas tree.
I eventually realized that the magic door, elevator, and symphony orchestra would be impossible to deliver, even for Santa Claus. But since my husband Bill suffered two strokes that left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, I’ve occasionally dreamed of having a million dollars. I could use it to buy a house in California with a swimming pool. I could hire a staff of servants to cook, clean, and maintain the place and certified nursing assistants and therapists to care for Bill and help him maintain the strength he still has. Then, I could concentrate fully on my writing and enjoy my time with my husband without worrying about dressing him, taking him to the bathroom, or dealing with his finicky eating habits. But unless a distant relative I don’t know dies and leaves me a fortune, I don’t think I’ll get that wish, either.
It doesn’t matter that I never got the things I wanted for Christmas. I’ve learned to be grateful for what I have. Okay, our house doesn’t have an elevator or a magic door, but we don’t need an elevator, and although having a magic door would make wheeling Bill in and out of the house a lot easier, we can get by without it. As long as there’s love, we have all we need.
Abbie Johnson Taylor
Author of We Shall Overcome