The 40 Dollar Gift . . . Sequel

“In Todd’s struggle to be honest with me (while we were dating), he was very hurtful in somethings he told me.  I told him that my feelings were very strong for him.  He told me that since his fear was so strong, he really didn’t have any feelings for me at all.  He wasn’t trying to hurt me, but was trying in his way to open up and share with me what was going on inside and how deeply scared he was.”

During our struggles, I read an article which mentioned “signs to know if you are really in love.”  One of the signs the author said was, “You would be proud to introduce this person to anyone in the world, including the president.  This impressed me, because this was exactly how I felt about Todd.  I was proud to introduce him to anyone.  I shared this with him one day, and in his attempt to stay honest with me, he said, “Well, I would not be proud to introduce you to the President.”  He did not mean to be cruel, but the words cut deep and sharp.  The wound healed slightly, but a deep insecurity started, not sure of Todd’s commitment to me.

Then came Christmas of 1990, where I had a biopsy for possible Hodgkin’s and Todd baled on me.  He flew out to be with our family (and brought an engagement ring with him).  During the whole break, he kept talking about what a great Christmas gift he had for me, but it never emerged.  Finally on Jan. 6th as we were saying good-bye, he opened up his wallet and handed me 2 twenties.  “I know you are short on money now and had some teaching supplies to still get.  “Merry Christmas,” he said.  I was crushed–this was the great gift that I had waited for during the entire Christmas break???

On March 13, 1990, Todd proposed and on June 15, 1991 we married.  Todd proved to be a wonderful husband and the pain of his comments and my insecurity gradually faded away.

Fast forward 20 years. . . our family was on vacation and would celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary during our vacation time.  While we unloaded the car, one of our kids handed me a wrapped gift which obviously felt like a picture frame.  “Oops!” said my son.  “I do not think you are supposed to see this.”  I was curious as to what this could be.

On the 15th of June, 2011, after dinner, Todd brought the package to me with a lot of excitement.  “I’ve been working on this for about 8 months,”  he said.  “A picture?”  I thought.  “What kind of picture would I want?”

I opened up the package to find a copy of a letter that Todd had mailed on December 8, 2010.

To Barack Obama.

To the President of the United States.  Yup. The President.

I read the following letter and tears streamed down my face. . . my kids were a little confused.  Why is Mom crying if she likes the gift?  Why is this such a great gift if it is just a stupid piece of paper?   One of my sons just shook his head, a little disgusted. “I don’t get this,” he said.  But I got it.  And it blessed me.  Todd had redeemed a hurtful situation.  He had taken a painful carelessly said comment and turned it into a beautiful declaration of his love and commitment to me after 20 years . . .

Here’s the letter:

Dear Mr. President,

I’m writing to you in order to introduce my wife to you.  You may wonder why I’m doing this, let me explain.  Over 20 years ago, I met a young woman who eventually told me how she felt toward me.  As interested as I was in her, fear gripped me in those beginning months and caused me to run away a few times.  I obviously came back a few times as well and we often talked about my fear; she helping me work through it. On one of those occasions, she told me something that she had read, “If you love someone, you would be proud to introduce them to the President.”  She was communicating this to encourage me and tell me that she loved me and was proud of me.  In an attempt to keep our relationship open and honest, I turned to her and said, “I wouldn’t be proud to introduce you to the President.”  Although I didn’t intentionally try to hurt her, hurt characterized the beginning of our relationship.  

She faithfully stuck with me until I could see straight and ask her to marry me.  Amazingly, she said ‘Yes’ and we are now approaching our 20th wedding anniversary on June 15th, 2011.  We have 7 kids and although we are American citizens, we have lived in Europe the past 18 years.  I wanted to introduce her to you as a gift for our anniversary.  I would love to have the opportunity to do this in person, but realizing the difficulties in such a meeting, I have decided to write you.  

My wife, born Deborah Joy Samworth, is quite an amazing person.  To begin with, she is tenacious.  She should have dumped me long before we were engaged but saw what she wanted and held on.  Early on in our marriage she selflessly gave up her dream of doing her doctorate to allow me to follow in my dreams.  For our kids she is a courageous advocate.  Always perservering for them so that it goes well for them.  At any given moment, she has a plethora of ideas.  She has helped me on a good deal of projects along with being a consultant to many who have recognized this gift in her.  We have recently been able to start the process of her achieving her doctorate.  The means that she is running a household of 9 people, keeping me supplied with all that is necessary to continue on, managing all the homework that comes through the house and studying on the side.  She is smart, witty, organized, loving, caring and able.  I think that you would be impressed. 

I don’t know if you will be the one that will actually read this letter, but regardless I will present this letter to my dear wife  on our 20th anniversary, because I love her and am proud of her.

Sincerely yours,

Todd Kramlich

The love of my life. . . so glad I stuck it out in the dark days of dating!
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