I have celebrated over 50 Christmas mornings ripping into presents and squealing with delight at the “best gift ever.” I remember ear notching pages in the Sear’s catalog to mark my Christmas wishes. With all the excitement of the holidays as a kid, I can only recall a handful of gifts. The year our grandparents went overboard and gave my siblings and me a complete metal kitchen play set. The year I was a teenager and didn’t want anything, my parents wisely gave me a book by Pearl S. Buck. Now I think I am ready to read “The Good Earth.” The best Christmas present I received from my parents wasn’t something they bought in the store. The year I started to question the authenticity of Santa, only to be given the gift of a surprise visit by the good ol’ boy himself at our house. I don’t remember what presents he pulled out of his sack that night, but I do remember it was OK to believe for another year.
    What sticks out for me during the holidays is the moments and memories shared with family and friends. I remember hanging ornaments handed down through the generations on a tree as regal as the Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York or as simple as a Charlie Brown tree plucked from a road ditch. Grade school art projects of popsicle stick frames, clothespin reindeer and colorful paper chains graced the branches. I remember sneaking downstairs with my brother to take a peek at what was wrapped under the tree. His pocket knife was sure handy at slicing the scotch tape. The Christmas church programs decked out in our white choir robes and red collars trying to make us look and sound like a choir of angels.
    The presents are fun, but it is just stuff that can be broken, lost or lose its sparkle over time. But memories of the moments, the feelings, the joy and the love will last a lifetime. My Christmas wish list this year is very simple. I want to be around the dining room table with my family laughing, sharing and loving one another. I want to treasure the moments of enough.
    “I Wish You Enough” is a story/poem Alice forwarded to me which hit a chord with me this holiday season. I discovered it was written by Bob Perks. He writes that he overheard a mother and daughter saying their goodbyes in the airport. Standing by the security gate, they hugged and the mother said: “I love and I wish you enough.” The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom.” They kissed and the daughter walked down the boarding gate.
    The mother walked over to the window where Bob was sitting. Standing there, he could see she wanted and needed to cry. Trying to give her space, he noticed she welcomed his concern. “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever? she asked. Yes, he had but why was this a forever goodbye?
    “I’m old and she lives so far away,” she said. “I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral.” Bob paused, “I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’  What does that mean?”
    The woman smiled as she remembered the moment. “That’s a wish that has been handed down for generations in my family.” She paused and looked up as if trying to remember the moment in detail and she smiled even more.
    “When we said, ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.” Then turning toward Bob, she shared the blessing from memory.
    “I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.”
    She then began to cry and walked away. Parks said it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them and an entire life to forget them. I don’t think he ever forgot the woman he met in the airport saying her final goodbyes.
    This story has lingered in my mind since Alice forwarded it to me. I’ve caught myself adding to this special wish list. Here are my wishes for you.
    I wish you enough dry days to dance in the rain. I wish you enough bull calves to rejoice when a special heifer arrives. I wish you enough cold days to welcome a heat wave of above zero. I wish you enough subtle sunrises to start your day off with hope. I wish you enough breathtaking sunsets to pause and give thanks for the day and all our blessings.
    We have said our fair share of goodbyes this year to family, neighbors and cows, but we have also welcomed new babies and dairy friends into our extended family. May we create enough moments in 2021 to make it a memorable year.
    Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minn. They milk 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at mnschmitt@jetup.net