The Best Christmas Gift Ever

It was 1990 and my siblings and I were struggling to think of a gift for Mom and Dad for Christmas. Our Mom loved Christmas.  Every year she would decorate the tree with a different theme.   One year it may be gold, then silver and the next year lace. We never knew what she was going to do with the tree but we always knew that a lot of the ornaments would be handmade - she was so talented!  

We so  wanted to get her something special that year, I think it was really the first year that we had  noticed that her health was starting to decline. So we put our thinking caps on, that’s what Mom always told us to do when we needed to figure something out.  There had not been a photograph of all four of us children done since 1971, so the suggestion was made why don't we take a current photo of us together for her.  There are some things you should know about our mother, she loved us kids very much and she really liked to keep tabs on us - what we were doing and where we were.  With that being said, imagine how hard it was going to be to get all four of us dressed up and to the photographers without her ever knowing what we were doing.  That's back when you had to go to a photographer’s studio to get your portrait made. Also keep in mind that I cannot keep a secret and Donyal was almost as bad as me about keeping a secret.  So for all of us to keep our mouth shut and not let on until after she was given the photos was going to be a task in itself ( Well I never thought we'd be able to pull it off ).  I don't believe mother knew what we had done and if she did she never told us. She just let us marvel in the idea that we had pulled one over on her.
I just have to say I sure have some good looking siblings and we sure took a great photo.

The photographs are wrapped and ready, now we wait for Christmas Day.  I don't think we have ever been so excited about Christmas.  Finally it is Christmas Day and we hand Mom the gift, she had such a puzzled look as she opened it, tears and smiles and then questions.  She started asking how, when and how did she not know, success!  She was so proud of that photo, and so thankful we had done it for her. I believe it's the happiest I had ever seen her.

On December 7th this year we helped host a fund raiser for Jays Hope and all of my siblings and Dad were there to help. My Dad is Santa Lewis (but that's another story).  Mark, my youngest brother came down from Atlanta and was in charge of the Kitchen and was the go to person all day.  Donyal the youngest of us all, made sure Santa was dressed and ready, and helped with decorating cookies.  Steven helped Paul hang lights and it was Steven who said lets recreate that photo we took for Mom.... Now keep in mind we all had been working all day and Donyal and I had worn Santa hats all day.  But knowing we had some great photographers (Amy and Donna with We Do Photography) we knew it would be OK.. This is the Result; we are still a good looking bunch. I know Mom is so proud of us all and the adults we have become. The world is a better place because of my Siblings!

I know you are thinking that it was a great Christmas gift we gave our Mom, but that is not the gift I am talking about when I said best gift ever, it was the one all of us kids received when she opened the photos.  Her Smile and Happiness are etched in our minds and we keep it with us always.....