Christmas Smile

As a preteen in Big spring Texas I used to dream about owning a BMX bicycle. In the early 80s if a 12-year-old boy had BMX dirt bike bicycle he was definitely one of the cool kids. From jumping curbs to bunny hopping to popping wheelies to just riding around our small west Texas town, there could be nothing cooler than being the proud owner of a real BMX bicycle. The problem was that my family, like most in Big Spring, was an oil field family (the working type not the owners) and BMX bicycles were outside of our reach. I had a bicycle, my folks always made sure we had a bike, but I never owned the BMX dream bike.

As the years passed I have been very blessed and have had the opportunity to give my kids many of the things I never had. My son, on his 10th birthday, got a beautiful blue and red BMX bicycle. I watched with pride, and a little bit of envy, as he rode his bike and jumped it off the curb and had as much fun as I always dreamed I would have.

But the years passed and by the time he was a teenager my son outgrew the BMX and had moved onto a more traditional 10 speed bike. His beautiful BMX sat in the garage, unridden and forgotten. It was still in great shape but it sat.

Each year my family adopts a family in need and gives them gifts that, due to life circumstances, they otherwise would not be getting. This year we found a family with 3 kids. The mom was undergoing treatment for cancer and the middle daughter had a chronic illness. Between the medical expenses and missed work, life had become very difficult for this family and Christmas gifts were not a life priority.

The kids from our adopted family had made a list of wishes and one of the wishes of their 10 year old boy was a bicycle. My son volunteered to clean up his BMX bike and give it as one of the gifts. He aired up the tires, oiled the chain, and put a bow on the handle bars and then did not think a lot about the bicycle again after loading it into the back of the pickup.

This past Friday we took the gifts to these precious kids. We unloaded boxes with things like toys and bedspreads and Barbie dolls and Shrinky Dink ovens, and the things that make Christmas fun. The last thing out of the pickup was the bicycle. As my son lowered it from the back of the pickup the 10 year old boy caught sight of the bike and the look on his face was one my son nor I will ever forget. He went from excited about seeing all the wrapped gifts to absolute exuberance upon seeing the bike. He literally froze in place and finally yelled, “Is that my bike?” When I said yes he ran to the pickup and was jumping up and down yelling at his mom and asking if he could ride it. When she said yes he jumped on the bike and was soon jumping curbs and riding with the biggest smile I had ever seen. I remember thinking that this was a face I would never forget.

We said our goodbyes and got into the pickup to leave and before I looked at him I said to my son, “I bet you will never forget that face”. Then I saw my son’s face. It was a face I will never forget. He was solemn and had a lone tear on his cheek. I asked what was wrong, expecting to hear that he would miss his bicycle. Instead my son told me that he was sad that there was a boy who wanted a bike so bad and couldn’t have one. He said he had never really thought about the kids who didn’t have what he had. After a few minutes of silence my son finally said, “That was the best Christmas present I have ever been given.” I asked him what he was talking about and he said, “I made someone really happy. That is the best present I have ever had”.

I looked again at my son again. His was a face I will never forget.

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