"Describe the most meaningful and/or important gift you've ever received. What does it reveal about your relationship to the giver?"
There are several of those. Several years ago for my birthday, my parents drove up to Birmingham to surprise me with a beautiful cedar chest that my Dad had been working on for months. The wood came from a tree that had been in Papaw's yard for years. A tree that Pete & I and our cousins used to climb when we were kids. It was cut down a long time ago and Dad got the wood from it. I had been telling him for years that I wanted a cedar chest. I don't know, he may have been planning on building it long before I thought of it. The day of my birthday, I was nearly ready for work when I texted Mom to tell her I was awake. Funny, I was a little upset because they hadn't called yet. (Of course, Wes knew all about the surprise). Mom called me back and skirted around the issue until I finally figured out that they were on their way. What I didn't know is that they were bringing the cedar chest with them. I was completely surprised. Mom & Dad both wrote a note and had it inside. They both made me cry. I now have the cedar chest in my living room which is where it will always stay, prominently displayed for everyone who comes by to see. I have a lot of memories inside it, from our wedding & honeymoon pictures, cards, scrapbooks, some things that belonged to Mamaw, and many, many other memories. Of course, I'll never part with it. It'll be passed down through the generations.
Lazy and Phoebe are gifts that have meant the world to me over the years. When I was in Junior High, my dad came home one day and told me to go outside and look in his truck. I didn't know what this meant or why and I was a little scared. I walked out in the dark and looked in the passengers side window and found a pair of gold eyes staring back at me. At first I was startled. I quickly realized that looking back at me was a cat. I had had a cat before. Her name was Ms. Kitty (I know, I was 9). She had gotten run over. The cat in the truck would turn out to be Lazy, my first "child". She slept with me nearly every night for the next ten years. She was the perfect pet. She kept me sane during the grueling adolescent and High School years. When I left home, I left without her. Mom & Dad took care of her. I wanted to take her with me, but she loved to go outside and would have been miserable stuck inside an apartment and I wouldn't want her to be in that environment. She spent her days chasing birds, eating them and terrorizing the dog, chickens, etc. One day Dad had killed a chicken and Lazy snuck up behind us while he was preparing to clean it and attempted to drag it off. That chicken was bigger than she was and she was dragging it away. I don't know how old she was when she died, but I had had her for about 14 years. She died two years ago.
Phoebe was a pleasant surprise. Wes gave her to me for Christmas in 2006. We were living in Birmingham. I was in Charleston for my job interview and Wes picked me up from the airport. When we got home, he wouldn't let me go inside the apartment because he had to "hide" my Christmas present that he bought while I was gone. I had to wait on the stairs. I was tired and irritable because one of my flights was delayed. When he finally told me I could come in, he was standing there with this little ball of fur in his arms. My heart sank! I was in tears within seconds. She was so sweet and innocent. She took to me quickly and is now our "second" child. Although she looks similar to Lazy, she has a completely different personality. Phebs is very playful. She has her toys that she loves to play with, but her favorite is what we call "Yellow thing." (It's a yellow feather on a stick) We regularly get it out and play with her. She loves to chase it around in circles until she's panting and her little heart is racing. It's good exercise I guess. She knows where we keep it and she will stand at the closet door and cry until we get it out. (SPOILED!!) She also fetches. We have several little foam balls laying all over the house. She'll occasionally bring one to us and we'll throw it down the hall a few times for her. She will follow us around in the mornings to remind us to open the window shades so she can watch the birds.
I know I've received countles gifts that are priceless to me. Memories are priceless. I wouldn't be able to write about all of them because I receive gifts every day. There's nothing like being able to step outside in the sunshine and take a deep breath. Waking up next to the best husband in the world. The love of family surrounding you. These are all priceless gifts from God.