While some knew him as Jonah and others as Mac, we all loved and respected him. And we miss him dearly.

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First Gifts

Dear Jonah,

Gift-giving was a big thing in our family. Especially on Hanukkah. As a kid, my family lit candles each of the eight nights but only exchanged gifts on one of them. So perhaps in parenting you and your siblings, I was reacting to a choice my own parents had made. Wherever my motivation came from, I looked forward to doing the meticulous research that would ensure each of you (mom included) receiving at least one gift each night. I loved piling them all up before Hanukkah began and watching each of you select the gift you wanted that night (you gravitated, of course, toward whichever was largest).

When you were younger, you were likely to display your disapproval should I be so thick-headed as to get you something you didn’t like. But as you grew older, you began to understand it was the act of giving that counts; quality was welcomed but not crucial in eliciting true gratitude. You got very good at that.

After you died, I sort of went crazy (understandably so) in trying to salvage and hang onto whatever pieces of your life I could find. I went through every checkbook register, sales receipt, warranty certificate, and owner’s manual that I had saved to try and recall memories of the life you had shared with us. Because of that, I was able to piece together a record of many of the Hanukkah gifts mom and I had gotten for you over the years.

8-year-old Jonah

I’m no Batman, so there was only so much mystery I could unravel. The earliest Hanukkah present I found was from when you were eight years old and we got you a computer game called “Jedi Knight.” This was 1998 so PC videogames certainly weren’t as sophisticated as they are today, but this first-person adventure kept you going for a good long while as you embarked upon your Jedi training, learned the ways of The Force, and helped to rescue the Rebel Alliance.

Maya Angelou wrote, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” I got so much joy out of finding the gift that would raise your smile. In time, you would discover your own love for giving, and our blessings would multiply. That’s a story for another time.

Love you forever,
Dad

“Gifts Given and Received” is our December 2018 Campaign. Please help us help kids build whole, healthy lives. Send your contribution to jonahmac.org/donate today. Thank you!

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