In the days around Christmas, social media abounds with videos of gift giving. Some are instances of typical gift giving, videos for friends, aunties, uncles, and grandparents to “ooh” and “ahh” over.
But other videos are something else entirely. They are touching moments of healing, transformation, and the power of memory.
The video of Antonio Vargas and his son, Antonio Jr., is no different. It touches on all those warm fuzzy feelings, but it is so much more than just another Christmas present.
It would be easy for the casual viewer to dismiss it — we have all seen a million of these after all — but the power of the gift itself is undeniable.
Vargas had lost his wife and the mother of his son on July 4. Knowing the weight of a Christmas without a mother, Vargas hatched a plan for the perfect Christmas gift for his son.
“This is a real big touching moment as a parent prepping this monkey to have a heartbeat and to speak to my son, so that my son can hear his mother’s voice again,” the dad posted on Facebook.
“She passed away on July 4. We always called our son our little monkey. So on Christmas Day, his dream came true!!! I love my little man with all my heart, Daddy loves you.”
When he heard his mother’s voice come from the plush monkey, Antonio Jr. burst into tears.
If Christmas is about about family and memory and connecting with loved ones, then this gift touches that spirit of Christmas more than most.
“I love you to the world and back,” she can be heard saying. Other recordings included, “Give me a big hug. I love you,” and finally “I love you guys so much and I will always love you.”
The Orlando family visited the mother’s grave a few days earlier, on December 20. At the time they had placed a small Christmas tree on her grave.
I can imagine, standing at his mother’s grave just days before Christmas, any son would want to hear his mother’s voice.
The plush monkey he received will speak his mother’s words for years to come. She will be close to him, with him, in a way that would otherwise be impossible.
It is my prayer that he will be able to return to her words over and over as a source solace, inspiration, and joy.
As a personal aside to Antonio Jr., I would like to tell him that a year ago, shortly after my father’s death, I received a book with a recording of my father reading stories to my children.
It has brought me tears, joy, and many moments of reflection. I wish you the same.
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