Every so often someone surprises me with a gift so special that I can’t possibly express my gratitude. After I was presented a Molly Pitcher award, which is unquestionably the highest honor I’ve ever received and an embarrassment of riches I did not deserve, my father-in-law enlisted my sister-in-law’s help to purchase sheet music to the Molly Pitcher song he sang as a child. It wasn’t the sheet music that was touching, but what it represented. Acceptance from in-laws doesn’t come easy. That’s one thing you can’t buy at the Walmarts.
I can appreciate an expensive gift as easily as an affordable one if the thought is there. My parents and brother gave me a necklace one pearl at a time over 20 years to commemorate big days in my life. Last year Mom strung my pearls in a gold cup pattern (that’s like a tin cup only instead of singles, the pearls are in groups of two and three). I did earn this gift and it was presented to me over time by three people who know virtually every rotten thing I’ve ever done in life and politely don’t mention them. I don’t know if I’ve seen anything so beautiful EVER as my necklace and my kids had better not let it go in a tag sale upon my death.
I am again the lucky recipient of yet another gift to remember for the rest of my days. Today, my daughter’s teacher, who was also my daughter’s teacher last year and my son’s for the two years prior to that, gave me a pair of socks. These are the most fantastic socks I have ever or will ever own. They are colorful and comfortable and hand knitted by a woman so committed to children, families, and community that it’s folly for her to waste time on me. She used Japanese wool that she had been saving for a special project. As she knitted, loop by loop, she thought of me and the cold weather I encounter when going home for Christmas.
The teacher shared the socks with her students at “Tree Talk”, her version of show and tell. After school, my daughter joined her teacher to witness the giving. As I waited for my surprise, I tried to pry the secret from my daughter who was looking up at me with her sparkling eyes and an expression of pride. She would not tell, but the silly grin on her mug showed that she was excited.
Here again, the thought and meaning behind a gift launches it into the forever of my memory and teaches me about being more engaged in giving. The socks are indeed warm, gorgeous, and fit just right. The socks represent that another person in this world sees me and thinks of me when I’m not around. The gift of these socks elevated me in my daughter’s eyes. How could I ever express my appreciation to a woman who is already such a part of so much of what is good with my children? The woman who got my son through his father’s deployment, the woman who welcomed my daughter into her class before she was even a student, the woman who lets me into her class and share in the breakthroughs of her students. It’s impossible.