I've been writing "Voicemails From My Sister" all day, and was reminded of Christmas 20 years ago, when my father committed the most selfless deed of his life.
My sister's friend, Ginny, had been living with Ed and Sibby for a few weeks. Ginny's alcoholic single mother was neglectful and incapable of taking care of her only daughter. My father, in an uncharacteristic act of benevolence, welcomed Ginny into my old room and invited her to stay as long as she needed.
I came home from college for the holiday, and Ed included his daughter's friend in our family Christmas as if she were a part of our family. Sibby and I watched Ed hand Ginny present after present that he had bought especially for her.
She unwrapped a new bookbag, as hers had been tattered and worn, and multiple pairs of jeans and new tops. Ed had stuffed a stocking with ring pops and Now and Laters, her favorite candies, and given her a card with a $100 bill in it.
“Wow,” she exhaled. “I’ve never gotten so much for Christmas before. Thank you so much.”
Siobhan hugged my father and let her tears fall.
It was truly the most altruistic act I’ve ever witnessed. It restored my faith in him.