February 12, 2006

Sunday, February 12, 2006
Posting on Wednesdays and weekends

Life Lessons: The Gift, The Giver, The Gift

I stood in the Spean Bridge Woollen Mill store in Edinburgh Scotland, almost overwhelmed by the softness and gorgeous colors of all the mohair throws. I just couldn't decide on which two to get for my mother and for myself. Finally, I settled on one in blues and green, and another in the same tones with some purple too, the colors of the hills and heather of Scotland itself.

Home again, I started to wrap my mother's, the one with the purple, but oh, I just loved that one and couldn't part with it. I felt the tiniest twinge of... something... at keeping it. Not that the second one, the blues and greens, wasn't equally beautiful. Not that she didn't absolutely love the one I gave her.

My throw quickly became my snuggle-down-and-read blankie, well worn and getting a bit grubby. One day a helpful child washed it for me, and dried it too. Of course it... tightened up... a bit. Still lovely colors and soft, but... denser. I continued to use it but it just wasn't the same.

Some years later, my mother died and as I sorted and sorted, re-read my daily letters to her, threw things out, set other things aside, and packed and packed, I came across that lovely mohair throw in blues and greens. In the way of mothers probably in every place and probably in every age, she had decided that the throw was too beautiful, just plain too good, to use. It was pristine, packed in layers of tissue paper, as soft and cozy and new as when I'd bought it in Edinburgh. It was such a gift...

It became of course my new snuggle-down-and-read blankie. And it has taught me many, many lessons. Some very obvious, such as what we give, we get, sometimes literally. I have been reminded everytime I run my hand over that throw about the timeless and wonderfully-woven nature of love.

Other learnings have been more subtle as I've really thought about saving things for good. And those lessons have not been lost on the next generation either. A few years ago Sally gave me a really nice, and I'm sure expensive, pocketbook with the admonition that if I put it away and didn't use it because it was too good, she'd come and take my old pocketbook and throw it out.I use it! We also use the good china for everyday, and hard as it is, I'm trying to keep my closet clearer of ratty, old, bang-around, everyday clothes!

Years ago, a trip, a far-away shop and a gift, soft and warm. Who knew, who could possibly know... The gift, the giver, the gift... more lessons for a loving life.