Family Non-Fiction posted January 7, 2014

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Being a twelve year old is tough.

Gifts From The Heart

by Janie King

Twelve year old twins, Alyssa and Maya

As we grow up, our parents give us many "things." Some, we keep for a long time and cherish them, others we soon toss aside and forget about. Since I'm a bit older than each of you, well being sixty-six would make me a good deal older than all of you. That's not the important issue really.

Our world and our wants have become a very controlling factor in many young people's lives. Having things is important, after all, no one wants to be different than their friends. But, I'm going to ask you to take a moment, close your eyes and allow your mind to remember a gift that came from the heart, something that money couldn't buy you, a gift that will forever touch your heart. While you're thinking, let me share my story of such a gift.

Being twelve years old is awkward. You're not a little girl, but neither are you an adult. It was the summer I was to experience the sorrow of death. The only thing that softened the blow was my new baby brother or sister that was about to arrive.

My friends thought my life would be ruined by having a new baby in the family. I disagreed! I thought it was the greatest thing that could happen to me. I already had younger siblings, but for me, there was room for one more.

Everyone was worried about Mom. Her stress over the death of her father and uncle in her seventh month of pregnancy might have jeopardized the baby she was carrying. The more I heard the adults talk, the more anguish I felt. Sometimes, well meaning adults would treat me like I was too young to understand, at other times, they expected me to deal with the situation in an adult manner. I began to feel every insecurity a 12-year-old can feel. Mom was trying to be calm enough to get to the delivery date and give birth to a healthy baby. It wasn't a time I wanted to risk sharing my feelings.

The morning of August 23rd, Mom came in and woke me, telling me it was time for the baby to come. My heart leaped in my chest and I sprang out of bed in a far more excited state than Mom. Grandma stayed with us while Aunt Alice took Mom to the hospital. I called Dad and told him to meet her there.

Instinct caused Dad to stop by the house on the way to the hospital. It was a good thing he did. The boys had climbed on the roof so they could jump off into a mattress Mom had left airing. That wouldn't have been too bad, but Gil got scared and couldn't jump off or climb down the ladder. Dad was alarmed when he found Grandma climbing a ladder attempting to get him off the roof. He took the boys with him.

I waited.

When the phone rang, I grabbed it.

"You have a baby brother," Dad said.

I was overjoyed and afraid at the same time. What if they thought I was too young to help with the baby? Would they let me hold him? Would they understand how important he was to me? It had been six years since Susie was born. Would they get out of the hospital okay? I had heard my uncle say the doctors had made a mistake with Grandpa and that was why he died.

The day Mom and my new baby brother, Timmy, came home was a beautiful day. I wanted to go with Dad to pick them up, but the boys got to go because they couldn't be trusted to stay at home. Why did I have to be trustworthy? I waited impatiently for their arrival.

Finally, the car came into sight and I dashed out the door. Slowly,it came to a stop in the driveway. Mom was holding the baby brother I could hardly wait to get my hands on.

In spite of all the excitement, a moment of understanding and love passed between my mother and me, as she placed Timmy in my arms. In that instant, she erased a mountain of fears and insecurities. It didn't mean there wouldn't be other problems to face while growing up, but for that day, my world couldn't have been more perfect.

Now you can open your eyes. I want you to think about that special gift of love that someone has given you and write your story. After you're done, share your story with that special person. Most of the times, the gifts that mean the most to us, comes from the givers heart, and they can be given any day of the year.

I challenge each of you to become a giver from the heart. You can give those gifts every day of your life, and never worry about having enough money to have a gift to give. It can be as simple as noticing how tired your mom may be and offering to help cook supper or do the dishes and even put them away without being asked. Do it just because you love her and want to make her day easier.

I would love to hear about some of the amazing things God allows you to remember and write about of heart gifts you have received. Plus, I'd love to hear how you're giving heart gifts that touch the one you blessed.

Author Notes
Timmy is now fifty-three, the proud father of a daughter,son, two grandsons and granddaughter. Even though it's been fifty-three years since this happened, yet this morning as I typed this story tears flowed down my cheeks once again. It's not the "things" that are always important. It's the gift from the heart of those that we love that will remain forever.


This is a bit different format but I have been asked to write some pieces for an e-book "Tween Girls and God" that is on So I'm testing this piece with you all and see what happens. I'm not sure about putting in the Authors notes in the piece. Of course the Editor will help me get all these things figured out. God bless you all. Love Janie
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