Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Angels In The Sky

Maybe Yule Be Touched By This Message

Singapore, December 2007. Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Could I take a minute to tell you about the most amazing Christmas gift I ever received? It didn't have a price tag on it, yet in many ways it was the most priceless gift I could have wished for.

It wasn't gift-wrapped. It wasn't bought in a store. Yet I carry it with me wherever I go.

It was a gift I would like to pass on to all of you. It was a gift I received from a remarkable woman who taught me and my brothers that the most important Christmas attribute is to give, not to receive.

She had so little as a child. She was raised in a Bangalore orphanage, then was looked after by English nuns in a convent in Pune. That school was her only home; the nuns were her surrogate parents. She had nowhere else to go. She never had a home to go to until she married. Yet she never had a chip on her shoulder.

Instead of seeking therapy, she sought only to spread great love to all children. Generations of kids at St Thomas' School in Kidderpore, Calcutta, loved her like their own mother. They hugged her and kissed her - and four decades later they still tell me how much she meant to them. They called her, simply, and with such love, "Aunty Mac".

I know just how much she meant to them. Her name was Phyllis McMahon. She was my mother.

If you'd like to share her gift, please take the time to read my feature article The Great Christmas Surprise at Terry Fletcher's portal. If it makes you laugh, if it makes you think, if it makes you appreciate this season, indeed if it touches you in the slightest way, please send the link to friends and family and ask them to do the same. It is the least we can do at Christmas.

My mother would have liked that, too.


For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

55 comments:

Louise said...

Your mother was a remarkable woman. I can tell from how you say the wonderful things you say about her. When you mention her in a post, it is beautiful.

tardevil said...

And this, my friend, should be nominated for Post of the Day!!! What an excellent job you did writing it! Cheers!
P.S. I'm going to link to it, if I can ever get a post done. It's raining so hard here the lighting is bad for photos.

richies said...

What a great story. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

For the story of my best gift go here


The Best Gift


An Arkie's Musings

Chapati said...

Brilliant! Such a touching story :O)

Craig Glenn said...

David,

What a moving story. I left a comment on the other site. With your permission I would love to post a link in my observations blog. I was left on the edge of my seat wanting to know more about this wonderful human being, your mother.

Craig

fishing guy said...

David: A neat look at the angel who was your mother, thanks for sharing your story.

Max-e said...

Your mother sounds like she was an amazing woman. Our family has a started a new Christmas tradition. Instead of buying gifts for ourselves we give that money to one of the local childrebn's. And as you say, to give is so much better to give than to receive.

Sarah said...

What a lovely story...

Your mother must have been amazing.

spacedlaw said...

That's a great story, David. Thanks for sharing it.

The W.O.W. factor said...

Oh David, this story brought tears to my eyes, tears of the highest esteem. Each word spills out your love for your Mom. I am NOT surprised, it is how I imagined her in the brief time since I 'met' you.
I wished I could have known her.
Thank you for sharing these amazing works of angels! OH my!
Your Mom definitely was an angel and these illuminate her love and gifts she bestowed on you and others beautifully!!

Daryl said...

Your's and mine ...

:-Daryl

Kristen said...

I popped over from Tardevil's blog. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story

Craig Glenn said...

David,

Just check my profile in blogger, you should be able to see it there... let me know if you can't.

Thanks,
Craig

A.Bananna said...

amazing memory!!! thank you for sharing!!

Maggie May said...

That was a great piece of writing and the pictures lovely too.
I can tell that you loved your mother very much because of the many good things that you have written about her and because her influence on you really shows in your writing. Many of the things you write about her are really touching and she would be so proud of you..
Thanks for sharing. I will go over to the link now!

Colin Campbell said...

I always laughed quietly at the way the Singaporeans embraced Christmas and all its commerciality on Orchard Road. Fake snow and the like always seemed odd at 32 degrees.

Merisi said...

It is so wonderful to read that your mother found such loving home with the nuns of St Thomas' School. How sweet that she was able to pass this love on to her own children, by creating a warm and open home for them and instilling her and her surrogate parents' value in all of you! Thank you for sharing your mother's story.

squawmama said...

Wow David.... Tar Devil told me to come visit you and I am so glad I did... What a touching story and your mother must have been a remarkable and kind woman... This post gave me goose bumps I was so moved by your words... Please came by and visit me... Sign my guestbook if you would please... I will be back to visit you... I am adding you to my favorites...

(((HUGS)))
Donna

Sara G said...

BEAUTIFUL post and great photo's!!
Take care and thanks so much for sharing.

Sylvia K said...

A truly beautiful post, word wise, picture wise, story wise. Your words are those that every mother wants to, hopes to hear from their children. What a lovely gift! Thank you for all the beauty you brought into my life today and I'm sure into the lifes of many others.

Texas Travelers said...

All I can say is, "Thank God for women like your Mother.

Great story at this time of the year.

Troy and Martha

Dewdrop said...

My best gift... was a gift from my son that he had handmade and he was so proud... he wanted me to open it last to make it the last memory.

Love your angels and your story about your mom the angel.

Tanya said...

This is and will be the most beautiful skywatch I'll come across...very sweet and endearing post. Merry Christmas :)

Hildegarde said...

A true mother, the mother as archetype through all times, the giving and caring mother, mother earth, the goddess, ... that's what I'm thinking of when reading about your wonderful mother. Attractive colorful angels to accompany your story too.

Ronda's Rants said...

I am off to read it...you have indeed honored your Mother!

Sandi McBride said...

This is such a beautiful Christmas post, David...Your Mum would love it...and be so proud...
Sandi

Photo Cache said...

A wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

Carletta said...

I second Tardevil - post of the day! Such a wonderful story.
I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes, not of sadness but of the joy your Mother bestowed to you.
Thank you for sharing and more importantly reminding us in this too often 'me' world just what the true joy of Christmas can bring.

imac said...

What a great tribute to your Mother David, and it matcnes your wonderful post.

Lee said...

Beautiful woman and wonderful story, David! Your mother is the embodiment of love. Thank God for people like her and that the love continues on in the world through people like you and your friends. You are all blessings to mankind.

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

bowledover said...

You present the same quiet strength your self David.
Thank you for a glimps into you life and the chance to meet your mother a wonderful person.
I will pass the link on.
Thank you.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

Wow! What a great post.

Kahshe Cottager said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Mom David. Not just this beautiful story and photos, but because you carry on the tradition that she began. I am sure she would be so very proud of the man you have become. Thank you for sharing.

Jennie/Kahshe Cottager

Lori said...

What a beautiful tribute.
Thank you for sharing, David.

Pearl Maple said...

Fun and colourful photos, thanks for sharing with sky watch friday

Hilary said...

Very touching, David. You're Mother was clearly a wonderful woman. Her kind and generous nature shows in the kind of person her son is.

joan said...

Wow David, what a wonderful post and tribute to your mother who sounds like the kind of person we should all strive to be. I think people who make positive lasting impressions on children are indeed angels on earth. Thanks for a wonderful post!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

What a beautiful tribute to your amazing mom! I bet she'd be proud.

Beautiful photos. I love the color.

Sandy said...

I just read your article the Great Christmas Surprise. It touched my heart. You are hereby nominated for the Post of the Day!

Dr.John said...

That was wonderful. Your mother was a special lady.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Thanks for the link to your wonderful story. After reading about your mother, it's plain to see from whom your best attibutes have come.

They have very colorful angels in Singapore!:)

esnorway said...

Vice woman your mother. have great weekend

Arija said...

A lovely andloving story David. I am sure you, like me, miss your mother very much. My mother is remembered in a similar way. 20 years after her death someone still felt so strongly about her thoughtfulness an generosity, he was moved to write an article about her. My sister and daughter are two more peas from that same pod.
Thanks for your story.
P.S. Mother was brought up by foster parents who died in a cholera epidemic when she was 17.

San said...

David, I believe you got the big-spirit gene from your mother. You are blessed.

Indrani said...

Great lady!
My salutations to her! She brought up all of you so well. I am stunned each time you reveal your family stories little by little.
Take care.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I love stories like this, David. Your mother must have been a very, very special lady. I think a parent's greatest legacy is their children, and you have done your mother proud!

Sheila

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

remarkable - and she's touching all of us now . . . through you!

Susie of Arabia said...

A truly lovely and inspiring story and tribute to your mom. It really puts things into perspective. Thanks for sharing.

Cuckoo said...

That was quite touching David. Your mother was remarkable, what a wonderful way to teach others.

I am a Hindu but we too celebrate Christmas every year at my place. :)

babooshka said...

Very touching personal post again and the images are always a litlle different.

Robin said...

What a really lovely SkyWatch, and a great story.

CrazyCath said...

David you are an inspiration and I am quite sure your mother would have been so proud of her little boy, because he is doing exactly what she would want him to do. I bet your brothers are proud too.

I have read that article before and it is without a doubt so very well worth the time taken to read, digest and then act. A fantastic woman your mum. An inspiration and example.
God bless.

Rocky Mtn. Girl said...

David, this is a beautiful story. I was very moved by the words.
A wonderful post indeed!
~Michele~

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

You made me cry! I love a good Christmas story. sounds like your mother was a wonderful woman!

katherine. said...

david I loved reading your special christmas memories. I looked at the family photo and wondered which one was your mama. (the grey socks matched you vest...way cool...smile)

you inherited many special qualities from your mama I think.