Kyle and the Christmas Cactus

Surprised to see a new post today? I said I wouldn’t be writing again until after the wedding, didn’t I? But I woke up early… way too early to do anything wedding-related, and decided to re-post an entry from last year’s December archive.

Actually I didn’t write this; Deanna , a treasured friend sent it to me. Her caring spirit touched me in 2010, and it did so again this year…

Dear Kyle,

The “Christmas School Holidays” will soon be upon us, and as happens every year at this time, my thoughts return to you.

In 1991, I left the local school community, that I had loved and been a part of for eleven years, and drove an hour away to join a fledgling staff in a smaller lakeside community. The construction of the new school building had not yet been completed, so we worked out of portable classrooms. Our Principal was a bright, warm-hearted, dedicated woman who had chosen a staff made up of vibrant, adventurous young teachers and a few experienced, near-retirement souls like myself. Her enthusiasm was tempered daily with the message that the students were always our priority and that their learning environment should be a balance of educational and life skills.

You came into my life in September of 1992, a wee boy going on five. You were in the middle of a blended family with older siblings and younger ones who, as might be said, nudged you “out of the nest”, too soon.

There were the days you climbed the stairs into the Senior Kindergarten portable, needing a knee to sit on and a welcome hug before venturing into the day’s activities. But many mornings, you stomped into class – a surly little fellow unwilling to join the class circle. You seemed to need some moments alone under the teacher’s desk or by the book shelf before you felt ready to tackle the new sound or song.

Fall over, the Christmas break fast approached. Together, we learned Holiday carols and poems, we did crafts and made cards for parents. The Nativity play and concert were completed. On that last day of school before the holidays, you walked in with a plant that so represented you. It was a tiny Christmas Cactus, needing only love, time and attention to help it to grow and to bloom. I wrapped it carefully against the cold, took it home and told my four children that it was my ‘bestest present”.

Later on in the next year, you and your family moved out of the area and I, not knowing where you went, prayed that your new Teacher would see the real you and your potential.

I willed that Christmas Cactus to survive!  Year after year I watched it, watered it… moved it from place to place. I waited for a bloom that would somehow assure me that you too, were coming along as well as I constantly wished.

Last year, Kyle, there was ONE beautiful flower on that wee plant that keeps doing its best, and I was thrilled. Did that mean that you also, were not only surviving… but thriving?

Kyle, you are twenty-three now. I hold you in my heart and wish you well. Eighteen years later, this is definitely the “bestest” year yet. There are THIRTEEN blooms on “our” Christmas Cactus!!

Wherever you are Kyle… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

By: Deanna in Oakville, Ontario, Canada

*** Please pass Deanna’s letter around to those you know… Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone reads it and puts her and Kyle in touch with each other?

*** Image credit for Christmas cactus :


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