Welcome to the . . .
In December – this month of giving – our exhibits are featuring . . . Gifts. As in the best gifts we’ve ever received (or given, but that’s not where I’m going with this one). This was a challenging exhibit for me to curate for myself, actually. First, it’s hard to choose just one gift in a lifetime of gifting. And, second, well. I’m not big on receiving gifts. I’d rather give them. (Although that didn’t happen until I was an adult. I loved getting gifts when I was a child, and I looked forward to Christmas gifts – and the magic of Santa Claus – with great anticipation.)
So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking; a lot of pondering.
Should I choose something I received as a child/teenager? Chatty Cathy, maybe? Or Tiny Tears? Maybe my first record player? My skis? Those were, certainly, gifts I was very excited about receiving, back in the day.
But then I started thinking about . . . gifts I’ve received from Tom over the years that I will always cherish. The leather jacket (circa 1998) that I still wear? My collection of Spode Christmas Tree china that Tom gave me, piece by piece, over decades? A really lovely gold necklace I rarely wear these days, but adore all the same? Each of these gifts has a special place in my heart.
But when it comes right down to it, the gifts that mean the most to me are the ones that have been made FOR me . . . by hand. By people who love me. The hand blown glass “menagerie” Tom made when he took a glass blowing workshop in college. The Gundam “warrior” my daughter built for me. (Yep. That’s Erin’s hobby . . . building Gundam models.) The wooden bowls (now) — and pottery vases (childhood) — from Brian. Lovely cross stitch pieces from my sister. Dishcloths from my mom. Shawls from friends. Paintings and carvings from my in-laws. All of these handmade gifts? They are incredibly special.
Of all of these most precious gifts, though, one stands out above all the rest.
When I had finished chemo, but was still in that raw, frequent-testing phase, I asked my oncologist if I was in remission yet. I remember being more than a bit crestfallen when she told me . . . “Don’t you be embroidering that ‘R’ quite yet.”
That was hard to hear, actually. Because I wanted certainty. I wanted it all to be over. I wanted to be normal again!
Eventually, though, after more scans and more blood work and more exams . . . and more time, she finally told me . . . “Yeah. Go ahead. Embroider it!”
A few weeks later, I got this incredible gift in the mail . . . from my sister and her husband, my brother-in-law Kurt. It was a beautiful, tiny puzzle-box, made by Kurt (with much of it carved by hand). It took me a minute to figure out how to open it, but once I did . . .
I found that “R” inside . . . embroidered (cross stitched) by my sister.
I consider this special box – and the “R” inside – to be one of my most prized possessions, and probably the best and most meaningful gift I’ve ever received. Whenever I dust my dresser (where I keep this box on display), I take the box apart and hold the “R” for awhile. And think about all the love and support this gift holds.
Which is a gift in itself.
How about YOU? What’s the best gift you’ve ever received . . . or given?
I’d love to hear your stories!
Thanks for visiting the Museum of Me. Watch for new exhibits . . . on the 2nd Friday of each month. If you’re a blogger and you’d like to create a Museum of Me along with me on your own blog, let me know. I’ll send you our “exhibit schedule” (a list of monthly prompts) and we can tell our stories together.