“I hate freckles!” Tommy exclaimed as he studied his face in the mirror. “Why do I have so many?”
“Well,” Mother said thoughtfully, “I guess you could say that they’re a gift.”
“A gift! Who would give freckles as a gift?”
“Grandma Flamm would.” Mother smiled. “And I’ll bet if you ‘climb’ your family tree, you’ll find even more surprising gifts.”
Tommy thought about the trees in his backyard. There was a big oak tree, an apple tree, and a pine tree, but he couldn’t think of a family tree. “Where is my family tree?” he asked.
“I’ll get it.”
Tommy shook his head, puzzled. Mother sure was saying funny things this morning. He imagined his big old oak tree covered with brightly wrapped packages. How could Mother find something like that?
“Here it is,” Mother called, coming down the stairs. She held up a piece of paper as Tommy eagerly ran toward her.
“Why, it’s nothing but words on some lines,” he said, disappointed. “I thought you said it was a tree.”
“Look at it this way,” Mother said, turning the paper sideways.
Tommy studied it thoughtfully. “Hey, that does look kind of like a tree! But I don’t see any presents.”
“Let me explain,” Mother said. “Every line on this chart has the name of one of your ancestors. And every one of your ancestors has given you a gift. They have given you something that they had, so now you have it, too.”
“I think I’d rather have birthday presents,” Tommy said glumly.
Mother laughed. “Grandma thought so, too. In fact, she hated her freckles until she met Grandpa. But he said that he couldn’t forget the girl with the cute freckles, and they got married.”
“Really?” asked Tommy, wide-eyed. Maybe this gift business wasn’t so bad after all. “What other gifts did I get?”
“Well, look at your hair—it’s blond like Grandpa Peck’s. That’s his gift to you.”
“Yeah, and my hair’s curly like yours! Is that your gift?”
“That’s right, Tommy. You’re starting to understand. Let’s see if we can find another gift.”
“Blue eyes! Grandma Peck has blue eyes—just like me!” He studied the chart. There were still two more names there—Dad’s and Grandpa’s. He tried to think of gifts from them. “I guess Dad and Grandpa Flamm didn’t give me a gift,” he decided sadly.
“Sure, they did. Let me give you a hint,” Mother said. “Do you remember the pictures Grandpa painted that are hanging in our living room?”
“Yes,” said Tommy, “but Grandpa didn’t give them to me.”
“No, he didn’t. His gift to you is much better than that. He gave you a love of painting and the talent to paint beautiful pictures.”
Tommy’s eyes began to sparkle. “You mean Grandpa’s gift was that I can paint well?”
“And what about Dad?” Tommy asked excitedly. “What did he give me?”
“Dad’s gift is extra special, too. He gave you the gift of kindness. You have a special talent for being kind, just like him.”
“Wow! I never knew I could get so many gifts from a family tree,” said Tommy. A big grin spread across his face, almost connecting his freckles. “You know what, Mom?” he asked happily. “This is even better than birthday presents!”