It has been a long time since the Christmas of 1976 and I can still remember it as though it was today. It had a been a year of financial struggle but I was determined to make the best of it. I enjoyed the holidays and could always find a way to make it nice for the children. I felt that Christmas for them any way. The holidays preparation began with the buying of the Christmas tree. It was traditional to take the children and have them pick out the tree. They beamed with excitement as we brought it home. We decided we would like it flocked so we did it ourselves having to be a little thrifty with our money. The tree was finally in the living room waiting to be decorated. It was the children's job to decorate and with excitement they could not wait until the ornaments were brought out from storage. Each ornament was placed on the tree and was a remembrance when it was bought. I would buy a ornament or two each year to remember each special Christmas that we had celebrated.The children hung the ornaments with a happy sparkle in their eyes. Each one placed an ornament in a certain spot until it was all done. They stood back and with pride and enjoy the word that they had done. The next special day at hand was my middle child's birthday. We would invite all her little friends to enjoy her special day, and more excitement filled the house with the joy of another celebration. I remember all the children standing around the tree singing Christmas carols. It was a wonderful party with gifts and the usual birthday cake. I can still hear the sweet voices of the children as they sang and celebrated. Each day was passing and Christmas was drawing closer. I had made my usual homemade gifts for my friends. I had baked and made candy and sewed some things to remember my special friends. I was trying to teach that the children Christmas was a time of giving and that it is the thought behind what you give to people that really counts. I had the children help with each gift that I made and we delivered them to everyone on my special list. It was the Monday before Christmas at finally I had some money to go buy the children at least a few of the things they really wanted. I would listen and try to find that one special thing they wanted. It was a bionic man for Aaron, and a special doll for each of the girls. I also purchased them a few other gifts that gave them something that would teach them to be creative. I felt so relieved that all this was finally purchased and the children would have a fine Christmas. It was the very next day that the children wanted to go buy their father something for Christmas. We did not have a lot to spend. We ended up at a local store where there were things that we could buy with the small amount of money that we had. It was finally decided that we would get Dad a box of cherry chocolates and some soxs. After all he loved chocolate and could always use sox. We paid for the purchase and came home. Sonja and her sister was so excited. They could not wait to wrap the gifts and put them under the tree. I found the scotch tape and wrapping paper put it on the table with scissors. I let the children wrap those special gifts they had bought for their father. The younger children lost interest in the wrapping of the gifts so Sonja decided to do it herself. She spent a hour just cutting and wrapping the two small gifts that went under the tree. She was thrilled that she had a gift for her father. I can remember she could not wait until her father came home to tell him of the gifts under the tree. He would tease her trying to get her to tell him what was in those small packages. It was the very next day that she would be hit by a car and not be there to celebrate this holiday with us. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Sonja was gone and we had to go on. We had to celebrate Christmas for the younger children. I decided we would do the best that we could to make it a special day for them. My heart was broken but I could not break the other children's heart depriving them of the holiday they looked forward to for such a long time. I could not think about my sorrow without thinking of the other children. I felt that Christmas had to be there for them and I would do the best making it a day for them. I would hold back the tears and the children opened their gifts trying to smile with their excitement. It was one of the most heart breaking holidays of my life, and there was not one moment that I did not think of my precious child who could not be there. I think that angels from above was guiding me through this day. I know I could not be that strong. All the gifts from under the tree was finally opened except for the gifts Sonja had put under there. I found three. The two for her dad and one for me that she had made at school. I gently opened the little gift for me she had made. It was a pencil holder made out of a can and so beautifully decorated. The other two gifts were handed to her father. He tried to hold back the tears holding these two small gifts. He knew it was the last small gift that he would receive from her. He slowly opened each one. He set them aside trying so the other children would not see the sadness in his heart. He did not want to ruin their Christmas. I was hard enough that they had lost their sister. Today the pencil holder is in my china closet, and when I look at it I can imagine the excitement she had making it. The socks she gave her dad are stored in the bottom of the his chest he just cannot bear to wear them. The chocolate cherries are in the freezer still unopened after all these years. He cannot even eat a chocolate cherry to this day and it was one of his favorites. The memory of those small gifts will forever be in our heart.