Tis the season and let me tell you, you don't have to spend a lot of money to make someone happy. Sometimes you don't have to spend anything more than time. Last year some of my sisters made and sent me a handmade gift. I treasure them and they are on display year around. (Don't ask me about the gifts I started and have yet to finish for them. I deserve a spot in the Sister Hall of Shame.) Anyhoo...
I received a holiday box from my mom yesterday. In it was a wrapped gift for Steve and I (which we'll open on Christmas) and a beautiful guardian angel snowglobe (now on display and bringing joy). Also inside that box were three unwrapped items. Items my mom had found tucked away in some box in some closet or attic. They only cost her the time it took to root them out and box them up.
The first item was a 'letter' sweater I had had in my senior year of high school, specifically honoring my years in choir and a select vocal/dance group. It made me smile. It used to be one of my favorite things and I'd forgotten all about it.
The second item was a scrapbook that my Grandma Miller made me. It was filled with pictures of moi as a kid, from grade school to high school. There were also newspaper articles and pictures of events I'd been involved in. Like the only two 'pageants' I ever particpated in in my life (she dragged me into those if memory serves) and a few school plays I starred in (more my speed) and pictures of me with the high school cheerleading squad. OMG, I weighed like 75 pounds! Hello stick legs! The scrap book gave me the warm fuzzies. Not because of the contents so much, but because my grandma had put so much time and thought into it.
The third item was an article of clothing. A satiney plum nightgown with colorful embroidery. My mom's note said: Do you remember this? It was your Grandma Childer's favorite nightgown.
I promptly burst into tears.
Grandma Childers was my mom's mom. She was the shining star in my life until I was nineteen and her light went out (so to speak). I remember sitting on the patio with her shucking corn and peas and listening to her screwball stories (like the time she swore she was chased by an alien ship). I remember how she made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with her waffle iron. How she made carmels and popcorn balls from scratch during the holidays. I remember her pouring salt in her beer. How we watched the Miss America Pageant every year and kept our own score. How she hung clothes on the clothes line in the summertime clad only in polyester bermuda shorts and her bra. "What?" she'd say. "I'm hot and it's just like a bathing suit top."
And I remembered her wearing that nightgown and smelling of Dove soap.
Grandma has been gone a long time, although she sometimes visits me in my dreams. I live far and away from all of my family so I'm kind of islolated from family stuff and mostly speed through each day in hyperdrive... work, work, work. I couldn't believe the impact that nightgown had on me. The feeling and memories it stirred. I was touched by my mom's thoughtfulness and a piece of clothing that belonged to wacky, wonderful woman who I loved very much. Talk about an amazing gift.
What's the best gift you've ever received? Or at least, one of the one's that touched you most?