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.
Oh my – that box is beautiful! One year, a blogging friend sent me a carved wooden word – my olw for that year. I was so touched by this kindness and keep it in a place where I can see it every day.
This brings tears to my eyes. What a lovely and beautiful gift. And all of your handmade gifts are lovely. So special. It is difficult to pick just one gift as the best ever, but as I commented on Bonny’s blog, I think Colin is my best gift – I had a lot of trouble getting pregnant and was older (and worried) when I finally did get pregnant. And…he continues to be a gift!
All of the handmade gifts you’ve received are quite lovely, but I can see why the box and embroidered R hold a very special place in your heart (and on your dresser)! The box is amazing in itself and the embroidered R inside does show infinite love and support. Thanks for sharing this truly best gift ever!
That box is so amazing! And, the R is truly lovely. As a whole that would be a forever treasure. My best gift was my 60th birthday party. Six months after open-heart surgery was my 60th birthday and I was totally surprised to find almost every person I know at the coffee shop I frequented. Smith and all my knitting/stitching friends had collaborated with a spread of good food, plenty of wine and my favorite chocolate cake, BUT also, so many people I knew, loved and who supported me through my whole ordeal. That day was a treasure.
Oh my, what a great collection of meaningful gifts!! Sisters <3
What an awesome gift and story! It made me cry a bit.
R is a very good letter.
That was an amazingly thoughtful and beautiful gift.
What an amazingly special gift! They clearly put a lot of thought into it, and I can see why you’ve treasured it all these years.
Would it be cheesy to say that the best gift I’ve ever received was my daughter? She arrived right before the December holidays, and I will always remember those first weeks when we were all home and getting to know each other.
I just read Bonny’s post and it brought tears to my eyes and after reading yours, I need tissues! Your precious gift and the story behind it is just so beautiful!
The Christmas when I was 8 years old was memorable for my family. One of my younger brothers was in the hospital sick with pneumonia and I remember how worried my parents were and my own anxiety. He came home on Christmas eve, weak and pale. On Christmas morning my mother made a bed for him on the couch and I remember bringing him his presents and helping him open them. That was when I learned that the best gifts are about the people in our lives and are given from the heart.
Oh, you made me cry! All such wonderful gifts…but that last one was a gift for everyone!❤️
So many beautiful and meaningful gifts here–but hat R…and its story…Took my breath away. ♥
What a lovely story and post Kym. Handmade gifts are lovely and the box with the “R” is indeed special.
Hand made gifts are the best and that one is incredible and you made me cry! I’m so grateful that you got your R and have chosen to share your wisdom and experiences with all of us. XOXO
What a lovely story, Kym. What a stunning treasure to illustrate it. Thanks for the message at this time of year.
What a beautiful story. That box is so beautiful, so heartfelt and special. What a truly special gift.
Tears of gratitude for that incredible R, Kym… for your family and friends who treasure that R as well…
Such a beautiful gift… although, I think those kid made gifts are right up there as well! XOXO
oh my, what a gift – and what a great story – also, so grateful for that R being something real and true that you can hold onto!!