A smile in their faces and tears in mine

Liziane - Troy, Michigan
Entered on September 9, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

It was the end of the semester and Christmas was around the corner. One more time my family and I were going to see relatives. To tell the truth, Christmas for me was never a time for celebration and presents. It was a time that got me thinking about those who did not have anybody to care for them or anything to eat, while in my family’s table there was plenty. I thought especially about children that were abandoned and ended up in orphanages. I always wanted to help in a way that I could put a smile in their faces. When my first daughter was about 5 years old I decided that I would collect and donate things to an orphanage that we had chosen to help. Christmas this time would be special. With the help of a friend and my husband we collected several toys to donate as Christmas presents to the orphans. My daughter wanted to come together. We knew that she could not imagine that a child could be so destitute. Because kids see us always using credit cards and think that this piece of plastic can buy anything (with no effort), we thought going to the orphanage would be a great experience for her. I still remember the day that we distributed the presents. The kids were so excited to be in line to receive a present. At every present that my daughter would pass on, I could see the meaningful smile in their faces when they would say ‘thank you’ and give us a hug. My eyes were becoming puffy with tears that I was trying to hold swallowing them but could not in the end. I was happy, very happy, to be able to give something during Christmas. This special moment has served to remind me that we are very fortunate in having a family, a house with those who love us waiting for us. I believe in sharing and helping others, even if in a small ways, as a way to find the real Christmas spirit.