The Greatest Gift

In BlogHer Chatter this morning, I requested a question to blog about, and I got a doozy: Darcie asked me, “What is the greatest gift you ever received?”

I’ve decided to approach answering this question on a physical level. If I try to figure out the greatest intangible gift I ever received, I could conceivably either A) blow out several synapses trying to decide the greatest metaphysical gift of my life to date and/or B) spend the next several months trying to write a description of the gift.

Instead, this is about a real, physical present — specifically an unasked-for present.

The answer is . . . a sewing kit.

No, really. When I was 18 years old and about to head off to college, my cousin, who is a little older and wiser than I am, gave me a sewing kit. I tilted my head as I looked at it, with its pink floral pattern and blue trim, and I thanked her with a smile.

Months later, when I was far away from home and encountered a fabric failure that had me pulling out the sewing kit for the first time, I contacted my cousin to thank her again with much deeper sincerity.

Unexpected gifts

I didn’t ask for the gift or expect it. My cousin had no obligation to give it to me. It isn’t sparkly or shiny or expensive. I didn’t know I needed it, and I certainly didn’t need it immediately, but I’ve used it over and over since the day I received it. Every time I get it out to mend a seam or sew a tear or attach a patch, I think of my cousin, and I’m grateful to her all over again.

It’s a gift that, barring a meteorite or some other disaster destroying it, will continue be useful to me for my entire life and will always remind me of my cousin.

It’s a gift that was given with thought and care for the future.

I find, in general, the gifts I’ve received that I love the best are the completely unexpected, completely useful ones that I associate with a specific person (or people). A simple, everyday necklace of a hummingbird from my parents after one of their vacations out west. A pair of purple socks from my brother “just because.” The memory of that sort of gift is somehow sharper and sweeter when not muddled with multiple other bright memories or presents during events such as a birthday or Christmas. It’s easier to recall the moment of receiving and experience it again whenever I get out that unexpected gift, so each time I use it, I feel special and cared for by someone in particular.

The greatest gift is one that keeps on giving more love.

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