He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. -W.J. Cameron
Have you ever been surprised? That feeling of complete wonder, that someone thought to keep a secret from you, and have invested time in you? On the day of my Dad’s 50th Birthday party we had countless family members and friends arriving, for a surprise that my Mom and I had been planning for weeks. We had plans and surprises in surprises and finally we were seeing all of our work pay off.
When Kevin and my Uncle Larry wen’t outside to get ‘something’ I was excited because I thought Uncle Larry and Aunt Donna had gotten something for my Dad. While they were gone, I was trying to get Aunt Ellen to tell me what it was, but she didn’t want to say. I was looking around to make sure Dad was close by to open this HUGE present that they carried in and placed on the kitchen floor. Then my Uncle Larry handed me an envelope, inside was a card saying that this was a housewarming present.
This gift was for us? On my Dad’s day, all the way from Nova Scotia and they were giving us a gift? I felt thankful and amazed and I stared at Kevin with wonder, what could it be? I felt completely undeserving. Are you wondering what it is yet? I was too, trying to modestly limit my excitement, as it was Dad’s day afterall, I asked Kevin if he wanted to open it. I waited all of two seconds for him to shake his head before ripping open the wrapping paper.
I opened the end of the box that was closest to me, and when I saw the picture showing what was inside, I was so excited and shocked that I just looked at Kevin with the biggest smile I could muster and tried to keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks!
There are some things in this world that I love and that I’m grateful for. My family, my friends, the chance to go to university, my car, being able to live with the man I love in our own rented little home… And the chance to sit by a roaring fire, feeling the warmth on my face, staring at the flames and wondering how something can be so warm and inviting and dangerous all at one time. I have enjoyed backyard bonfires with Kevin’s family, with my own, and I have frequently exploited my Dad’s woodstove. At my house? I turn the thermostat up.
Now, thanks to my generous Uncle Larry and Aunt Donna, I have my own little piece of paradise in my living room, ‘burning’ as we speak. It’s an electric fireplace, something that Kevin and I had talked about getting for quite some time, but it has just never been in the cards for us financially. He knows my love for a good fire, and these PMQs are never quite warm.
Isn’t it beautiful? What I once thought was a nice house with a homey feel was missing this crucial piece of furniture all along! We’ve had it for 9 days, and I usually eat breakfast in front of it. Mac has been known to pause in front of it when he walks by, and Berkley naps on the carpet across from it, close enough to get a warm breeze. On Friday night we lost power, and so Saturday we hooked Dad’s generator to the fireplace, then thought better and plugged the fridge in. (We had our priorities straight!)
For now, this will sit proudly in its place in our living room keeping the boys and I, and all who enter my house warm. Eventually we hope to buy a house, and I will pack this up and bring it with us, and find it a new spot to keep us warm. Eventually we’ll be married and starting a family. I’ll teach my children about the wonder and the danger of fire. I’ll teach them of warmth and fun and spending time around the hearth. I will tell them the story of their Mommy and how much she loved this special gift that heats their toes in the winter. Then, I will teach them to be thankful. To have a family that loves us, and to have something so basic like heat when some in the world have nothing.
There is this bitter chill that sets in during a Canadian winter. All of the spirit and Christmas cheer in the world can’t keep Jack Frost away for long, and we just long for warmth. I don’t long for warmth anymore, because I have it in my living room, and in my heart.