She was always so beautiful. Not because of her pretty face, ebony tresses or her blinding smile. She was – kind. In middle school, of all places. In that awkward time when kids can lose their sense of empathy and scar another human for their frivolous entertainment, she chose kindness. She made me grin on the inside.
I hadn’t seen her in over 20 years, but I was looking forward to our next rendezvous. My last visit home had been just a few months ago, and it was so bittersweet. A speaking engagement and book signing event had taken me there, but I spent the end of one of my longest days shedding tears with her on a painful pew because she had lost her grandmother. Seven years before, so had I. They both shared the same favorite color – fuchsia.
This time, our get together was going to be all fun! And we did indeed enjoy ourselves with food and friendships that felt like family. What stuck out to me the most though, was her gift. Firstly, I wasn’t expecting one. I was happy to have lunch and talk about old times, forging our friendship in a way we never did in middle school, but she arrived with an enormous bag in hand that screamed, “I know you without saying a word.”
An opulent, indigo blanket that felt more like a fur coat than a comforter sent my shrills in the air as I quickly imagined curling up in cold Colorado, buried in its warmth. With it was a beautiful journal, that beckoned for the inklings of my wildest imaginations. And then, there was china. Delicate, fragile, aged. Its iridescent luster intrigued me, and I figured it must have come from an antique shop; but, it didn’t. It came from her heart. From her home. From her family.
I hope you like the gifts,” she began. “I know you’re always cold, and I figured this would be great for your new home with all the snow this winter. And I know you love to write, so you can put all of your stories in there. I kinda imagined you curling up in the blanket and drinking hot tea. This teacup – was my grandmother’s.”
My face went from tickled to touched. I was so delighted when I thought these few treats were a simple expression of well wishes, but in her moment of few words, I realized they were so much more.
Growing up having very few luxuries in life, I developed a distaste for extravagant gifts. I savored a paper moon from a beloved friend over a precious stone from a sworn enemy because I was taught that gifts should be thoughtful and meaningful above all else. Genuine. Authentic, with no expectations in return.
She thought of me. She considered how I felt and what I loathed (to be cold)! What I loved (to write) and who meant the most (my babies’ Nanna). Understanding how much we adored our own grandmothers, she chose to share a piece of her life, a piece of her heart – a most precious treasure.
Her gesture could not be bought nor sold. Her gift to me was priceless.
I still meet people who are wowed by dollar signs. I realize it’s nice to have “finer” things, and I’ve since had my share; but, I am underwhelmed by people who purchase pricey things only to remind the recipient of how much they cost or how fancy they are or how (supposedly) the great expenditure is indicative of their great love.
Uh, maybe not.
I treasure the gifts that wouldn’t mean the same to anyone else. The ones that denote commitment of thought and consideration as they wondered what would make me smile. I didn’t wait for winter to bundle up with my blanket, and I’ve never been so careful with a cup of tea. With each new memory, I’m reminded of the ones we loved – and how fortunate I am for the gift of her friendship, laden with perceptive kindness. To me, that was the greatest gift of all.
#thankyoucarmen #grandmothers #thoughtful #heartwarming #kindness #sisters #friends