My son brought home a present he made at four year preschool on the day before winter break,  and he was very excited to give it to me.   It was wrapped in a white paper lunch bag, stapled shut at the top, decorated with drawings on the bag, his name, and “Mom” carefully written on the top.

He carefully placed it under the tree and every day he checked to make sure it was not moved and that nobody peeked inside.  He asked me every day leading up to Christmas if I wanted to open it yet?  I told him that it was really special to me, so that I wanted to save it and open it on Christmas day.

One more time on Christmas Eve he checked his present was okay before he went to bed.

When his sister woke him (and me) up at 6:55 a.m on Christmas morning to go see what Santa brought, she took off at a run downstairs, he took off after her but suddenly he stopped,  picked up his present for me, and started to run downstairs with it.

As he was running he slipped in his pajama feet and it he fell.  The present crashed with a loud thunk and a rattle sound as it hit the ground.  He looked up at me with tears in his eyes, “It is glass mom, I think I broke it!”  I said “It is okay buddy, even if it is broken, I will still love it.”  I carried it the rest of the way downstairs and set it down on the table next to where I was sitting to watch them open up their hoard of presents.

He made it through unpacking his stocking and opening one more present before he looked at me and said “Mom, why didn’t you open your present yet?”  I said, “Okay buddy, I will open it now.”

He was perfectly content to stop opening his own presents to stop and watch me.  I opened it up, I pulled it out, and he saw that it was not broken he sighed in relief.  His gift was a baby food jar decorated in tissue paper squares, that were painted on with glue,  and a small tealight candle sat inside to create a candle holder.

I told him I loved it, and thought it was beautiful and asked him how he made it, he told me he did it all by himself but the teachers cut the pieces of paper for him to put on.  Then he said, “Can you light it?” I went and found a lighter and lit it.  He stood and looked at it a full minute before he was content to go back to opening his own presents.

The most important present for my son this Christmas was not the plasma car,  not the General E. Lee, it was this handmade gift that he created with pride and love for me.   It sits in a special place on the center of our kitchen table.