In1959 I was seven years old. It was at this age that I received, in themail, a small package addressed to me. The following is a true story Iwrote a couple of years ago...
One summer'sday back in 1959, a small cube shaped package arrived in the mail, wrappedup in brown paper. I was seven years old at the time, and the packagewas addressed to me. My mother, no doubt, thought this was very oddas she shifted the package all around in her hands looking for a returnaddress. There wasn't one. I could sense that she was concernedabout someone sending me something in the mail without her knowing aboutit first, and this made the little package seem even more mysterious. I was dying to take it from her and tear open the wrapping to see whatwas inside. She, however, did the honours. Back in the fifties,kids knew better than to just grab things out of their parents hands evenif it was addressed to them. Nevertheless, it did bother me thatshe should be the one to open my package.
Whenthe box was finally opened, my mother pulled out the mostbeautiful object that I, at my young age, had ever seen. It was avery expensive looking snowglobe...the kind you shake to make little flakesof snow fall on whatever miniature landscape is inside the glass ball. Mine was a nativity scene.
While my mother was busy talking to her friend next door,who had been standing beside us watching the opening of the mysteriousgift, I held the snow globe in my hand and shook it gently so that a littlesnowstorm swept over the nativity. I'd never seen anything like this! What a fantastic present for someone to send me. My mother, though,seemed quite upset. She couldn't imagine who would be sending methis unusual gift...a nativity scent in the summer? And who, shewondered, would be sending Linda a "religious" object...what was the meaningof this? After all, we were Protestant and didn't have any religiousobjects in our house. She phoned all her friends and relatives tofind out if any of them had sent it. No one had.
Somewhere amidstthe conversations following the arrival of my beautiful glass snow globethe notion that perhaps it could have been sent by my birth mother occurredto someone within my family. Because of our understanding of sealedrecords and total and absolute secrecy involving adoption, this idea wassoon dismissed by the adults. But I picked up on this theory immediately. Yes, I believed, it had to have been from my mother. I kept the snowglobe on my dresser and stared into it constantly. Deep inside myselfI felt a calm and peacefulness watching the baby Jesus in his little bedof straw surrounded by his Mother Mary and Father Joseph and the sheep,cow and donkey and, of course, the three wise men. I was completelymesmerized by the little scene within the glass globe.
I can'trecall exactly how long I had my present from the unknown sender. It wasn't very long though. I do, however, remember very clearlythe day my mother was in my room sweeping the floor and the precise momentthat the handle of her broom connected with my precious gift, knockingit off the top of my dresser and sending it smashing to the floor in athousand little slivers of glass. I felt as though my heart had beensmashed along with it, but as much as I wanted to yell at my mother forbreaking my treasure I feared that if I did she would somehow suspect whatwe both felt to be true yet had never dared mention out loud to each other. I did not want her to think that I loved this little snow globe becauseit had come from my "real" mother (as she used to refer to my birth mother). When she started to apologize to me for breaking it, I assured her thatit didn't matter but I did add that I would like to keep the base and thenativity scene which had miraculously survived the fall. I had toglue the nativity back onto the base...I wasn't about to give up my giftthat easily.
Idon'tknow what became of the remains of my snow globe over the years. My mother most likely tossed it out with all my dolls and teddies and othertoys during one of her cleaning sprees of my room. I never reallyforgot about it, though. It remained embedded in my mind forever...enoughso that I guess I didn't need to have it sitting in front of me in orderto find that calm and peacefulness it used to give me. I could justthink about it and feel my birth mother's presence around me.
One thingthat I always wondered about, though, was the significance of the nativityscene. What was it symbolic of exactly? This question has hauntedme for thirty-eight years. I recently succeeded in locating my birthmother's family, and last night, at a "real" family reunion at my cousin'shouse in Richmond Hill, Ontario, I discovered its' true meaning. As we were hugging good-bye after a wonderful evening together, I toldmy cousin, Nancy, that this was going to be the best Christmas I couldever hope for. She whispered into my ear "Remember the snow globestory, Linda?"...I had told her about it during the first phone call I'dmade to her. "Well, she continued "it was a nativity scene, right? This is Christmas. Your mother was telling you that you would beback with your family at Christmas." We both had a tear in our eyeand held eac other tight...this time the ties would never be broken again. I am back home with my family for Christmas.
(I will really never knowexactly who sent me that little snowglobe back in the late 50's. I'd like to believe it was from my birth mother. Maybe it was frommy foster parents or perhaps even my birth father, which seems highly unlikelysince I'm pretty sure he never even knew I existed. Whoever sent it tome will never know the impact that little snowglobe had on me...it's amemory I'll take to my grave.)