Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Favorite Gift

A few posts down, I participated in a meme that I turned into a Christmas one and in that meme, I mentioned the gift that my husband bought me years ago. It was a Nikon SLR camera that I fell madly in love with.

You've probably seen those car ads on TV where the small child inside of you reminds you of your most favorite gift ever, then suddenly the child is now an adult, and there is a brand new car in their driveway. And they realize that this is now the Best Gift Ever.

This Friday, I was given a gift at school that blew the Nikon out of the water, and I just had the burning desire to share it with you.


I can't share everything about it, because it's rather personal, but please let me try.

It's a bit of a tradition at our school, as it is at most, I expect, to give teachers and staff sweet little presents from the parents and students. I exchange gifts at school, as well, with a few teachers and my co-worker extraordinnaire, Bonnie. This year is a bit sparse for me in the giving department, but I managed to come through and am always happy to see the look on my friends faces as they open their little presents.


That's the best part, isn't it?

And then my friend, the art teacher, came into the office with a present for me. You remember her, right? The one I went to NYC with a couple of weekends ago? The one I've been friends with since the day I started at the school ten years ago? She and her husband are also the ones who arranged that visit for my son with their architect friend to spend a day working with him at his firm.

She looked really excited when she came into the office. And she had a big, beautiful box. "Open it!" she said. What a beautiful box it was that she handed me! I put it on the counter, admiring it while I slowly pulled up the flap. Inside I found a small flat package wrapped in gold tissue paper and tied with a beautiful red ribbon. "Open it!" she said excitedly. I pulled the ribbon off the package and saw that inside of it were white cards, all handwritten. I looked at my friend.

She told me she'd seen this idea on Oprah, and that on each card a faculty or staff member had answered questions like "What I love about you", "My wish for you this holiday is" . . .

When I realized that this box was full of these precious cards, the emotion overcame me and I began to cry. Cry and laugh at the same time! "No, no, don't cry!!" my friend said. "Here, here is one that's funny . . . read it, ok?"

So through my tear-filled eyes and the damn Dior mascara that runs every time I tear up (I have got to go back to Lancome, honestly) I read what our friend Diane, our gym teacher, wrote when she answered the question,

"What I Love About You" . . .
is you really know how to dance! Oh, wait a minute, that's what I LIKE about you, by the Romantics! But what I love about you is how you stay calm in any storm that comes your way. You are a rock for so many people! Happy Holidays!"

I couldn't read any more, I guess because I was so surprised. Margie went on to tell me that all she did was organize it, hand out the cards, and then ask for them back. Her husband, Charles, went out and found the fantastic box, and the faculty did the rest.

I was planning on going home Friday night, pour a glass of wine, and then read them. And I did pour that wine, and I did begin to read. But I couldn't after the first one. I don't know if I was embarassed, or maybe I felt that I didn't deserve all this love and kindness that was in this box. I just don't know!!!

So the box had been sitting on the bookshelf all weekend. Every now and then, I would walk by and touch it. It's a precious thing, you see. And this morning, with my husband's coffee in my little holiday mug, and a fresh-baked cookie made by him, too . . . I opened the box.

I read twelve of them until I couldn't do it any longer.

I had no idea that this is what people thought of me. And, at the risk of sounding so sappy that my sister-in-law's eyes will roll like they've never rolled before, I will tell you this:

I have only read twelve of them. And my heart is so full that I've decided to take it slow with this box. I had to stop after I read Cheryl's and I will share this one with you. Cheryl is one of our Lower School librarians.

What I love about you . . .
besides your great hair, I love many things about you! You are very capable in everything that you do. That's a great quality. I love how you appreciate the little things in life & I love your humor. But most of all, I love your kindness. You have blessed me and my child with it over the years. You are a blessing to everyone in your life. Thank you! Love, Cheryl.

Oh. My. God. I may not make it through the day through my tears and my appreciation.

Margie, I don't know how to thank you for organizing this gift. It is such a wonderful idea. And to those of you out there, this isn't a gift that can just be given at Christmas. This Gratitude Box or Memory Box is something you can do any time. For more information on the gift and to download the templates for the cards, please visit this site.

If you know someone in your life who is having some trouble and who needs to be reminded how much they are loved, then I strongly suggest giving this gift as a group effort.
I didn't know how much I needed the thoughts until I opened this . . . my new Favorite Gift Ever.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Humbly yours,

32 comments:

Deb said...

I so agree...Christmas isn't about stuff..it is about the memories. For years and years to come you will remember this oh, so wonderful gift. We should all take a lesson from this and pay it forward.
This is our second year in which we cannot afford to give gifts. My daughter said to me that she doesn't want her son thinking Christmas is about getting stuff. It is all about memories. What does she remember about her childhood Christmases? Making cookies with me. Getting to drink "coffee" on Christmas morning out of the Lenox Holiday china. Each Christmas morning her Dad would set up the movie camera...
My response to her was this...I know next year will be better, but there is no need to go crazy again. Let's make memories that her children will remember as long as they live.
I loved your post and its message for this Sunday morn...

Amy said...

I love this idea and will use it myself in future Christmas's...though Norwegians are not so use to opening up and sharing feelings like Americans, I might get them too try at least. It's important also for Norwegians to know how people feel about them. But this is also something I could do for my family in the states...my mother is terminally ill, and I wish I had known about this idea earlier I could have gotten something going for her this Christmas from all her family. Let's hope I get a chance next year. Thanks so much for sharing this idea and enjoy your gift!!!
Happy Holidays

brneyedgal967 said...

Oh my gosh Kate, what a wonderful gift. The best. Ever. For most of us, we won't know the depths of how we've touched people. People may send cards to our surviving family members or speak at our funeral... but to actually hear how others feel about you without having to kick the bucket to pull it outta them... WOW!

I am really just speechless. That is just so very precious.

Savor them. Each and every one of them. You deserve it.

Egghead said...

Oh Kate this is so very precious. You have to know that you leave a footprint on each person you are surrounded by. You just don't realize it. I know you, your writing, your beautiful photography and your kind and gentle heart as well as your humor have touched me and I have never met you face to face. You deserve this at this time in your life.

This brings back to me a gift my oldest sister gave my granddaughters when my daughter passed away. She bought this beautiful wooden box with a lovely poem about mothers and daughters on top. Inside this box were cards much the same as yours that people at her memorial service wrote to Lucy and Emma. These cards spoke of what their mommy meant to each of these people and their wishes for Lucy and Emma as they grow up. It is beautiful and always makes me cry when I think of it. It is tucked away in Kyla's cedar chest her father built her waiting for the right moment in my granddaughters lives.

Peace and blessings to you always Kate.

Ngaio said...

Well Kate, thank you for making my mascara run this Monday morning !! What an amazing , beautiful gift - I am sure you are worthy of every one of those cards.
When we are going through tough times it never ceases to amaze me how loving the human spirit is . .

Crystal Jigsaw said...

That really is very special, I agree. Something you will keep for ever and look at always.

CJ xx

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

What a precious gift! Thank you for sharing this personal moment with us -- that's just one of the things *I* love about you.

Mary said...

OK, now I'm crying... that is just beautiful!

What I like about you:
Your sense of humor, your love of nature, your beautiful heart, and your wonderful photographs...

Merry Christmas, Kate. :)
xoxo,
Mary

Woman in a Window said...

Wonderful - wonderful - wonderful.
And well deserved.
I think of you there surrounded by so much love and I feel better for it. Happy Holidays!
erin

tj said...

...(*sigh w/a tear*)...(*smile*)...

..."Merry Christmas!"

...Blessings... ;o)

Ellen said...

What a wonderful gift that is truly from the heart.

May I add my two cents worth? What I love about you is reading your blog and looking at your lovely photos. I look forward to it every day.

Blessings and prayers for a wonderful Christmas.

Mental P Mama said...

This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life. Really. Speechless in Connecticut.

Carin said...

That is so incredible! Such a wonderful idea and so thoughtful. Merry Christmas.

Sassy said...

What a thoughtful friend and friends to do this for you....that would be an absolutely wonderful heartfelt gift to be given...I saw this post mentioned in the comments on Mental Pause Mama and come over and read it...thank you for reminding me that the most special of all gifts doesn't have to be of monetary value.

Sue said...

Kate....I don't know you, I will probably never meet you (I hope I do someday) but I can certainly understand how all these people feel about you....It can't be described but you are one very special person....and I know everyone else that reads your posts everyday feel exactly the same way I do....

Rising Rainbow said...

This is my first visit to your blog, I think, and what a great post. This just gives me goose bumps. What a special memory.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I, too, am speechless and teary eyed. You are so special...part of the beauty of your charm is that is that you don't even realize how FABOULOUS you truly are. You yourself are a gift, Katie did!
Merry Christmas:)

ts

Country Girl said...

Oh, Lord. I am not fabulous. And oftentimes I just suck. At least, I think I do.

But thank you all anyway. I still haven't read all the cards. I just wanted to let you all know how much something from the heart can mean to a person.

~ C.G.

KathyB. said...

Wow, a gift of words, beyond words !Beautiful!

Jeannelle said...

What a beautifully written post about a beautiful gift for a beautiful person!! And, the photos aren't bad, either!

Its great that you shared this story, to enlighten others to this wonderful gift idea!

The best of Christmas blessings to you and your husband and sons and all loved ones!

Chris1 said...

Merry Christmas Country Girl,

Can you hear the bells? The spirit of your gift is truly the "spirit" of Christmas.
I love your posts, and I'm thankful you are here.
Chris from Canada

Sarah S. said...

Oh how wonderful! I hope you have fun reading all the cards. Just do one a day. It will be like a little gift everyday.

Daryl said...

I am sniffling a bit .. I hate Dior mascara .. and forget Lancomb (animal testing!) get Max Factor in the big fat black tube .. trust me.

And you .. I love you because you have made some really rotten lemons into a decent lemonade ...

:-Daryl

Jo said...

Well, I'm very glad I washed my face, because my mascara would be running too after reading this. This wonderful gift from your friend is something you will cherish all your life. Something about it reminds me of the opening scenes from "The Bridges of Madison County". One day your son will open the box and read these lovely message to you, and he will see how much you were loved by your friends.

And the mascara? L'Oreal Voluminous mascara is the best, best, best!

Merry Christmas!

Natarojo said...

What a lovely idea! I can only imagine how everwhelming that must have been, but how wonderful it made you feel. Christmas is truely about the memories made and the thought put into everything around you. Not about the price tag on a completaly disposable item. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope your holiday season is a wonderful one.

willow said...

What a lovely, heartfelt gift. Thanks for sharing it with us! Enjoy those lovely intangiables!! :)

Kacey said...

Wow, what a wonderful gift! That is a fantastic idea. The photos of the box are gorgeous too.

spread your wings said...

what an incredibly touching and thoughtful gift. thank you so much for sharing it with us. it brought tears to my eyes just reading this post.
wonderful idea!!!
I need to visit your blog more often, i love everything about it.

Shimmy Mom said...

That is such an awesome gift! I am so glad that you have such wonderful friends to do something like that for you.

I love your humor and honest and photography. I hope that you have a WONDERFUL Christmas!!!!

Tons of *hugs*

Donna S. said...

WOW!!!

Hilary said...

What's lovely about you is that you don't even realize how wonderful you are. You deserve all of those beautiful notes and more. I hope you read them at your leisure and that the right words hit you just when you need them the most.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

so so lovely and wonderful! i can see why it is your favorite!
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