I remember when I was a little girl how proud I was of those little $1 rhinestone pins I would buy for my mom on Mother’s Day, her birthday, Valentine’s Day, Christmas and any other holiday I could think of. I would swell with pride as she pinned it on (no matter how gawdy) and wear it out. I never knew if she removed it after leaving the house alone, but when I was with her, she would wear them all the time we were out. It was like getting a stamp of approval.
As the years wore on, and I grew to understand that bigger wasn’t always better and multi-colored plastic “gemstones” glued to tinny metal wasn’t the be-all, end-all gift, I couldn’t believe that she had saved them. I worked to refine my taste in gifts. And, yet, Mom kept those gawdy gifts.
Recently, I was reading a post by Antique Mommy concerning her little boy, Sean, and his Christmas gift to her and it made me realize that those $1 gifts from a child are more valuable than a diamond. Moms have a special place in their hearts for their children and the gifts of love we bring to them. And nothing can hold a candle to those gifts.
And although I’ve been away from home for over 30 years, my mother still loves to open presents from me and I still wait with anticipation and a little anxiety to see if she reacts with that same joy of years ago. Sometimes I hit the mark and sometimes I don’t (I can finally tell after all these years which gifts are keepers and which ones aren’t). But I wouldn’t be surprised if those gawdy rhinestone gems are still in her jewelry box after all these years.
My dad was much the same way. He was the recipient of every little resin statue of a cartoonish man with arms widespread, saying “I love you this much” and similar things that a child thinks her father should have. And he placed them lovingly on a shelf in the family room. Those odd little statues were a mainstay of his Father’s Day, Christmas, Valentines and birthdays.
Those and inexpensive boxes of chocolate covered cherries. And ties. Nothing says “I love you” like a piece of fabric wrapped around your neck and knotted! And since he was in the Army, he was not a tie-and-suit kind of guy most of the time. But he expressed his joy over those ties and kept them all.
And now, I have come to be the proud owner of a lump of clay artwork by my dear hubby. When he was a little boy, he hand-molded a small dish (soapdish? ashtray? ring dish?) and painted it bright yellow. He carefully carved his initials into it and it was glazed and fired. My mother-in-law kept that little piece of love from him to her for over 45 years. And then she gave it to me. I love it. I can see the care that went into it and the love of a mom who kept and cherished it for decades. And now it’s mine to love, because my tall teddy-bear of a husband was once a tiny little boy and his mother is sharing that part of his life with me. So, even though it isn’t MY memory, it is my momento of a time in his life when I wasn’t there. And it makes me mushy!
“A mother’s heart is always with her children.” ~ Proverb
“The thing to remember about fathers is, they’re men. A girl has to keep it in mind: They are dragon-seekers, bent on improbable rescues. Scratch any father, you find someone chock-full of qualms and romantic terrors, believing change is a threat — like your first shoes with heels on, like your first bicycle it took such months to get.” ~ Phyllis McGinley
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