Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Another Thanksgiving

The following true story is really about thanks giving, about receiving and knowing how to accept a gift.

Seeing all the decorations in stores for Thanksgiving brings back the memory of a particular one. It was early November of 1993. My husband and my employer ganged up on me to make an appointment with a dermatologist about a mole on my temple that looked suspicious to them. They wouldn't give up, and I finally decided to go.

The doctor barely glanced at the mole before telling me I needed to see a surgeon right away. She made the appointment for that same afternoon, something I thought impossible. The plastic surgeon echoed her words. The very next day he removed the mole and the surrounding tissue and did a skin graft. Just before Thanksgiving I received the lab report. The mole was indeed an invasive malignant melanoma, but thankfully the surrounding tissue was clear.

I had a huge bandage (it seemed huge, anyway) and some stitches. I was very thankful for loved ones and dear friends who would not take no for an answer.

The morning I went for the surgery everything was so poignant. I remember the chill in the air as we raised the garage door. In fact, I can almost feel it right now, the feeling was so intense. As I looked outside, moving soundlessly through the sky, and huge because it was so close, I saw the Goodyear Blimp, in town for the football game the next day. The quietness of it and the chill in the air steadied me somehow.

My daughter had come from a little over eighty miles away to go to the doctor with us. She only had one child at the time, my grandson, Jimmy, who was 2 years old. Of course, she left him at home with his dad. When we got back home from the surgeon’s, she wanted to stay and cook Thanksgiving dinner for us the next day, but all I could think about was the pain I was feeling and how my son-in-law must be climbing the walls by now with Jimmy. So I emphatically said "no", and Jim and I spent a lonely Thanksgiving eating chicken noodle soup.

My point is...why couldn't I have accepted the gift my daughter wanted to give? What a wonderful Thanksgiving it could have been, but I was stubborn and thought I would be putting everyone to a lot of unnecessary trouble. The important thing I overlooked was the happiness it would have given my daughter to be doing something for her mom. She was trying to show her love and support for me, and I actually refused it

I was always taught to give is better than to receive, but now I wonder at the truthfulness of that. Perhaps, to receive a gift can be giving a gift as well. And sometimes it is better to receive than to give. Many times, I think, it’s one and the same thing.

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