Most valuable gifts…

I believe I have mentioned in the past that I am a keeper of memories (aka:  a hoarder).  I do like to purge every once in a while and it’s usually clothing that goes out the door.  However, there are some things that I just can’t part with.  Year after year I look at items that I should just dispose of, but I can’t seem to do it.  Oh, it’s not the dollar value of these items, as they are not monetarily worthy to anyone else.  These items are my personal, valuable treasures.

While dusting today (sometimes the dust bunnies are almost lift size and just need to vacate the premises) I was cleaning off a picture frame that The Princess gave us.  It’s a lovely picture… in her eyes.  Imagine our surprise when Wiseguy and I opened this valuable gift.  There, in the hand painted picture frame, was a picture of the two of us in a dip, after completing one of our typical polkas in the kitchen.  I have no makeup on and my hair is in big, huge curlers.  Light blue ones to be specific.  Wiseguy has on an old t-shirt with holes in it.  Why was this her favourite picture of us?  We were dancing and smiling and happy.  Isn’t that what the definition of  “the best” picture is?  We know she put a lot of thought into it because she also glued on little round plastic circles to the frame, that were light blue, “to match your hair curlers,” she had said with a huge grin.  Valuable gift?  Absolutely nothing like it!

Wiseguy and I got together when The Princess was only 7, so I have a very large collection of items she drew or made, as well as items that she and I made together.  I don’t know if I could ever part with these items.

Even The Debater…his birthday and christmas cards had drawings with lots of colours and so many different items pictured in them.  He used a different colour for different sentences.  Even later, when he started using a computer, the cards were fantastic works of art.  Wiseguy wanted to throw out our card collection box.   Luckily I was home and scooped them out of his hand.  Nope.  Can’t part with these!  “Look at the one he drew of you in the tractor-trailer and him sitting beside you in the cab.”  Yeah, you can remember the trip, but that picture, drawn with so much love and feeling..well, I think a scrapbook shall have to be made for these works of art.

The Wiz (although a teenager already when I became part of the family) had completed his own objet d’art.  He had wordworking talents.  Good thing too because he was a fidget.  (Actually, he still IS a fidget.)  Fingers always had to be doing something.  He was usually taking something apart to “see how it worked”.  We have this one reindeer that was constructed out of wood and painted with little googly eyes glued to its face. I love it.  I love it so much that I actually stopped packing it away after Christmas.  I like looking at it everyday.  It makes me smile.

I have a collection of fake flowers.  I have cut and paste pictures.  I have Mother’s Day cards that rhyme and some that don’t.  I have some with glitter glued to them (now covered in plastic wrap so I am not sparkly after looking at it).  As the kids got older the gifts got fancier, but one thing remained the same, they really know our personalities and what things we like.  They always get us gifts we love.

Wiseguy and I are now at that phase where we keep telling them, “save your money because we don’t need anything.”  Hmmm, that phrase annoys me when my mother says it, so I try not to say it.  I know all their gifts are given from the heart and the joy of watching the recipient’s reaction is heartwarming.

Maybe one day I will have the courage and strength to actually chuck all my homemade gifts.  I am sure that day of reckoning will come.

But for now, I will continue to smile whenever I dust off my most valuable gifts.

P.S.  I have one gift that I love to give everyone.  This quote says it all:

  A hug is the perfect gift.  One size fits all 


Mommy Mom Mama Ma

Mother’s Day.  I’m a little late, but just thought I’d share my thoughts and feelings about this day.

Remember, in grade school, when the teacher would have arts and crafts supplies so that we could create wonderful gifts for our mom’s for Mother’s Day?  Macaroni art?  Tissue paper flowers?  Not to mention all the handmade cards (most of the time, the misspelled words were left alone to make it authentic).  Those were the cherished gifts for Mom.

As we children grew up, we couldn’t wait to get money and go BUY a real fancy gift for Mom with a real preprinted card to go with it.  So proud we were of our purchases.  Something had changed.  The happy gleam in her eyes of past gifts just didn’t seem to be there.  We tried different store-bought gifts every year.  We couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong.  Time passed.  We gave up on the gifts.  We gave up on the cards.  I still call her on Mother’s Day and I can hear the joy in her voice.  No gift required.  

Then I became a stepmom to three wonderful children.  I received the homemade gifts and, believe me, nothing could make me feel more warm inside than that.  The homemade cards, including the wonderfully misspelled words, were the most beautiful things I had ever received.  I remember the dollar store plastic flowers that were given to me.  They were so excited with their purchase that they had to explain to me that, “we got you these because they will last forever!”  Yup, after 16 years, I still have those plastic pink flowers.  The kids don’t remember giving them to me, but that’s ok.  I will always remember the joy and pride they had when they were presented to me.

Even now, with everyone’s busy schedules, the kids find time to call or email or text.   They find some time to come and hang out.  I love all the hugs.  I am enamoured with the fragrant flowers.  I love the preprinted cards with the personalized essay of love inside them.  The older I get, the more the waterworks turn on, but that’s ok.  They are tears of love.

It’s really nice now as well because The Artist and The Baker call me mom.  Truly special for me, as I never had children of my own but married into the family plan.  I love the kids.  I love being with them.  I love seeing them.  I love seeing how well their lives are progressing and how they are excited about all their future plans.

I am proud of all of them.   I worry about each of them.  I love them all.  I think about them everyday.  I truly believe that being a Mom is a privilege.  It’s earned with lots of love, kindness, and especially hugs. 

Thanks for letting me be Mom on Mother’s Day (and every other day).