Lately, I’ve been reminiscing a little about my childhood holidays. I can finally admit to sneaking around the house as a kid, looking for what “Santa” would bring, and then – having already previewed my gifts – perfecting the look of surprise when Christmas morning finally came!
When we were kids, the holidays were all about receiving gifts, and, well, maybe they still are. But as we get older, this season is also about giving.
For Grace Passarelli, it’s about both.
Grace, 90, is one of our delightful residents at Ridgefield Crossings in Connecticut. Every night, she crochets hats to give to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center emergency room. She started doing this after her sister, Margaret, passed away last June. Margaret, who lived in the community’s Harbor, had been the recipient of Grace’s attentive care for years. Now, making little tams, berets and stocking caps gives Grace a new purpose.
When it turned cold earlier this month, Ridgefield’s Harbor Program Coordinator Debbie Grace took all the hats Grace had made since June to the medical center and placed them in the care of an ER nurse named Shaina. There were nearly 100 hats!
On Dec. 7, a 6-month-old baby was brought into the ER with hypothermia. The doctors prescribed keeping the baby warm. With hats.
Shaina sent mother and baby home with lots of hats, and, Debbie says, the mother was “incredibly grateful and wanted to thank the wonderful person who helped her baby without even knowing them.”
Having a new purpose this Christmas – Grace’s first without her sister – is a gift she receives for giving hats to those needing them most.
Receiving. Giving. Remembering those we miss and all those we love. This is the season for it all.
Below her Benchmark email signature, Ridgefield’s Debbie Grace has this Pablo Picasso quote: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
My hope for you this season is that all the gifts of compassion and meaningful moments you give to others every day will return to you in ways you never imagined. When it happens, look surprised . . . and receive it with joy!
May your holiday be memorable and blessed.