One Christmas the only thing I wanted was a Cabbage Patch Kid doll, I had wanted one for years, but this was going to be the year. Both my sister and I had asked for one and though they were expensive, we thought maybe, just maybe this year we would be so lucky. Well, Christmas Eve came (we were at our maternal Grandparent’s house and we had dinner followed by gifts– after the dishes were washed, dried and put away of course) and we tore into our gifts. My sister got a Cabbage Patch Kid preemie. The real deal! I was so excited to open mine, but lo and behold instead of the real deal I received a hand-made replica of a Cabbage Patch Kid doll. She had yellow yarn hair, a handmade navy dress with white flowers. She was lovely, but I was so disappointed, I just wanted to cry, but I also didn’t want my Grandparents to feel bad so I thanked them and did my best to make the most of the new doll. I filled out her mini birth certificate – Christina – and tried hard to appreciate her, but I have never been one who is able to hide my emotions and my Grandmother knew I was upset. She explained that they couldn’t find the Cabbage Patch doll I had asked for (I wanted a blond doll that looked like me) so they had found what they thought was the next best thing. They thought the most important thing to me was that the doll looked like me, whereas I just wanted a name brand Cabbage Patch Kid. Unfortunately, the homemade doll could not be returned, so I continued to learn to accept Christina just as she was.
At some point, I’m not sure how much time had passed after Christmas; my Grandparents gave me another gift. Delbert, a real Cabbage Patch brand preemie doll! I was thrilled and thankful and truly humbled. I felt awful that my Grandparents had felt bad about not getting me the “right” gift. I felt bad that they spent more of their hard-earned money on me. My Grandparents did not need to give me another doll. I knew how generous they had been to find Christina, the care and the love that had gone into choosing that doll for me. But they did. And with that gift they taught me more about grace than I could have ever known at the time. That feeling of receiving something beautiful and desired and underserved…that ache of deep gratitude and humble thanks. They gave me the gift of grace that day.