Draped over a sofa in my room at Sacred Heart is one of the most spectacular Christmas gifts I have ever received. It is a handsome woven blanket.
I love it primarily for two reasons. One, it is a gift from my nieces and their children. Second, woven into the blanket is a picture of me and my eight grandnieces and grandnephews — Julie and Megan Neff, Patrick and Andrew Esposito, Liam and Sean McMahon, and Kevin and Jennifer Grignon.
The picture was taken on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Kathleen Grignon, the youngest of my nieces, organized the family for a visit to the studio of a photographer for whom she works part time.
Kathleen’s e-mailed instructions included time, place and instructions about what to wear — jeans and tops whose colors were neither too light nor too “busy.” We all quite dutifully complied with her instructions. Trust me, if you knew Kathleen and were involved in this event, you’d comply as well.
We had a great time at the studio. We had shots of everyone together, of course, but there was opportunity for anyone to request photos of a particular grouping. So, we have one of each of the families. There is another of my nieces and one of the grandnieces and grandnephews. And, there are several others.
It was a delightful experience at the studio. The photographers were cordial and quite patient as we organized the several groups for the photos. The older kids were fascinated by the studio and the equipment. The younger children were beautiful and did very well, but occasionally had to be encouraged to stand still or look in the right direction or to smile.
When we finished the session at the photographer’s studio, my sister and brother-in-law very kindly invited us all to lunch at a nearby diner. There were 18 of us at the table, but two delightful servers treated us all with great kindness as we enjoyed our lunch.
I thought about the experience several times in the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving has always been a special time to be with the family. But, the Friday event arranged by Kathleen made it an especially memorable weekend.
When I opened the package on Christmas afternoon, I was thrilled to unfold the blanket and find my picture surrounded by the picture of those eight glorious children who range in age from almost 12 down to 9 months. I can’t look at it without smiling because the shot captures something special about the spirit of each one of them. And, I think I love the gift because the photo reminds me of their mothers when they were young girls.
So, I thank Kathleen for the idea and the initiative she took to organize a day that brought so much joy to all of us. And, I thank all of my family for their unfailing kindness to me. As the Christmas season comes to an end, they remind me of the blessings of my life and move me to express my gratitude to the Lord for all of them.
Peace to all.