At this time of year as people we don’t see all the time gather and find they don’t have a ton to talk about, someone will inevitably ask, “What’s the most wonderful gift you’ve ever received?” I really like it when this comes up, actually, because I love to hear all of the stories of gifts small and large, sometimes from people long gone, sometimes from a love just beginning or ending. Finding out a person’s most wonderful gift can be a very intimate thing and it is often very telling.
Pictured above is a gift I received first for a Mother’s Day about five years ago. When I first received it there were three beads: the two angels and the heart, which Daughter picked out on her own to represent the two of us and how much we love each other. It’s one of those bracelets where you can get as many beads in as many styles as you want whenever you want, and it was an incredibly thoughtful gift. According to Husband’s reports, Daughter became increasingly more and more excited when a holiday or special occasion rolled around to choose a bead for me. She chose an abstract one reading ‘faith’ and a shell containing a pearl, her birthstone. And then things started to get less about me and more about picking the bead. She picked the head of a cheetah because she liked to pretend to be one, a blue glass one because blue is cool and “I know it’s not what you like but I think it’s pretty.” Then all pretense of what I like went out the window and she just started choosing the ones she wanted to have. Still, she was so proud of this piece of jewelry. She loved that I owned it and it was pretty much made by her. So I wore it and I told people it was my favorite gift. But really, I kind of hated it.
My real favorite gift has nothing to do with Daughter or anyone in my family at all. It is from a second grade boy named Kevin who asked me one January what my favorite flower was. I told him how I adored forget-me-nots and that June he brought me a little plot of flowers that he had grown himself from seeds in his home for six months. I cried when I left the ones I had transplanted into my Colorado garden (and a few came back every year) to move away. When I had that amazing boy again in fifth grade, he made me a sign for my classroom that I treasure and see every day.
What I need to remember is that both of these gifts are the most wonderful. They are both from the heart and represent love and kindness beyond measure. They both serve to remind me that I have been given so many chances to receive love and to make a difference. They’re both exactly right for me and for the giver. So tonight as you lay your head upon your pillow, remember the most wonderful gift in your life. Feel the love you felt in that moment from the giver and in return. Try to remember that you are worth the love you were freely given in that moment, even if you don’t always feel it.