I’m honored that during December, we’ll hear from several UBER-guest bloggers about the best gifts they’ve ever received and given. I’m so honored that Judi Losh is offering this first “giving and receiving” post. Thanks, Judi!
My mom died on July 2, 1994 after a long, thirty year battle with diabetes. Christmas 1994 was our first without her…and in addition to all the HUGE adjustments we had to make, it also meant my dad would have to do the Christmas shopping for me and my family, and my brothers and their families. This was my Mom’s “job”, one she worked on all year and with immense love. She always found just the right gifts without any of us ever telling her what we would like or wanted.
My dad did his best, but his gifts were a bit different than those my mom would have picked out. He had many nice gifts for each of us, but one of my gifts seemed absolutely, horribly, hideous to me. It was a quilted type jacket, made from patches of different colors, textures and prints. It had big colorful buttons on it. It was a coat of many colors for sure! Wearing it was definitely going to make me stand out in a crowd….something I never wanted to do! Since I was taught to be a gracious gift receiver, I smiled, thanked him, hugged him, and told him it was wonderful! I figured since I lived in NC and he lived in NJ, he would never know if I ever wore it.
I have never believed in coincidence, preferring to believe such instances are God’s fingerprints on my life. I don’t always recognize the fingerprints at the time, but eventually they shine through. Well, that Christmas, I did not bring my winter jacket with me to NJ since it was supposed to be a temperate holiday. YUP…you guessed it… the weather turned cold on Christmas and stayed that way for the duration of my visit in NJ. The only jacket I had to wear was my Christmas jacket of many colors….so wear it I did. And you know what…..everyone loved it!
I have worn that jacket regularly for the past seventeen years and every time I wear it I feel the love that my dad put into it. When I received it, I thought it was the ugliest thing I ever saw. I came to realize that my dad understood something about me that I had to learn about myself….I needed to put myself out there in the world, I needed to let my light shine, and I needed to stop caring so much about what others may or may not think about me. And those epiphanies along with the jacket are the best gift I have ever received.
Best gift given:
When I graduated college, my best friend’s dad gave her a plaque with this quote on it: We have to two gifts to give our children: the first is roots and the second is wings. I love my two children, Matthew and Danielle, with all my heart, and from their birth, I have lived by that quote to the best of my ability. Giving my children roots was the easy part; giving them wings was not.
Matthew is a very independent child, and he fought me for his wings from the very beginning. He loved doing things for himself, getting his own things, experiencing everything from riding a two-wheeler by himself, to going to sleep-over camp when he was eight years old, to going to Europe when he was fourteen.
Danielle was a much less independent child. She was very content to be at home, in her familiar surroundings, living in her comfort zone. She had to be forced to grow her wings. I enrolled her in the weekday preschool at the age of three and in gymnastics at the age of four so she had to meet new friends and do things she preferred not to do, I made her spend the night at her best friend’s house, and I spent a week in Washington , DC at a hotel so she would attend the People to People event there. She couldn’t see me during the week, but at least she knew I was in the same town.
Each of my children has their wings now and I feel confident they use them on a daily basis to become the people God created them to be. Giving them their wings was tough… to Matthew because he wanted them before I was ready to give them…to Danielle because she was hesitant to receive them. But I know in my heart that giving them their wings is the best gift I have ever given!