At 46, I’ve had a pretty good life to this point. I was raised in a good home where I felt safe. I’ve traveled enough to appreciate what I have in this bountiful corner of the globe. I’ve loved – and been loved – more times than is probably my fair share. If we’re just counting serious relationships, then there have been four, in fact – let’s call them #1, #2, #3, and #4. And hopefully, there’s someone else in my future. We’ll have to wait and see. But if there isn’t, I’m more than content with what’s come my way so far.
But to this point, whether the occasion was a birthday, Christmas, or simply ‘just because’, I’ve received some truly memorable gifts. I thought I’d share my top 10 with you. And so, in no particular order (seriously, I couldn’t prioritize these if I tried. Well, OK, number 1 really is probably #1):
1. George. For those that don’t know me personally, George was my best friend, and sidekick for nearly 14 years. He was also a domestic long-haired cat. Not to rehash this post, he passed away from a valiant battle with cancer in 2009. A girlfriend (#2) I had been living with, brought him home as a surprise for me. I walked in the front door one Summer afternoon just in time to see a fuzzy black and white fur-ball bolt across the hardwood, slide into the wood fireplace, and emerge as a kitten covered in soot. The girlfriend was clearly on her last nerve, and uttered an exhausted, “surprise?”. The girlfriend didn’t last – perhaps she found us both too exhausting – but George and I were instant buddies from that day forward. Best. Gift. EVER. Thank you, Kimanda.
2. My Maria Sweater. Well, that’s what I call it, anyway. She was my first serious relationship (#1). We were both barely into our twenties, and new to Life. We lived together, which turned out to be a HUGE mistake. Well, moreso for her apparently, as she bolted after three years. In retrospect, it was the right call to make. Many years later, she and I rekindled a friendship, and joked about what an atrocious couple we were together. I’m all about having a plan and stability…she’s currently teaching English in Prague, or the UAE, I think. Anyway. Early into our relationship, she painstakingly knit me a sweater. There’s even a reason for the color, but that, I’m keeping to myself. It was a thoughtful, and terribly labor-intensive gesture, and while I no longer wear it, I’ll never part with it. Thank you.
That label on the inside says, “Made for you with love”. Pretty cool.
3. George Picture.This was a gift from my ex-wife (#3) in 2010. Despite the one year anniversary of George’s passing landing squarely in the middle of our divorce, she graciously, and thoughtfully, gave this to me anyway. It means a great deal to me, and now sits prominently in my office, next to his little urn. Thank you.
4. An egg poacher. This was a Christmas gift from a girlfriend’s mom (#4). If you knew my love of eggs and bacon on week-end mornings, you’d understand. I love this thing. A simple and thoughtful gift that gets a LOT of use. Thank you.
5.1st edition of Fifth Business. This was a half-birthday gift in 2008 from Tara (#3). Aside from not expecting a half-birthday celebration, I certainly wasn’t expecting such a touching gift. Fifth Business, by Robertson Davies, is my all-time favorite book. For her to even come up with this idea, let alone track down a copy of a first edition, was humbling. One of those things I’ll never, ever part with. Thank you.
6. Half-birthday party bash. Staying with the half-birthday celebration theme: In 1994, my girlfriend at the time (#2), surprised the hell out of me on a Saturday in June. I arrived home from a bike ride, and as I pulled up to our house, she greeted me, and told me to come around the back for a sec. As I walked into the backyard, there were banners, balloons…and a dozens of people. She had not only organized this, but painstakingly tracked down long lost friends – many of whom had traveled a considerable distance for this. And yes, there were presents – on top of that, she had bought me a pair of high end Sidi cycling shoes. I still have them, actually. They’re just shoes, and yet they’re not. I won’t be parting with those, either. Thank you.
7. Star Wars action figure set. It was 1977, and I was 9. My parents and I were in an RV resort in Palm Desert for Christmas, which had become a tradition. That year, Santa brought me a Star Wars action set, with a fighter that shot little “laser” projectiles, and a couple action figures. I was over the moon with glee – Santa listened! A week later, on our return trip to Canada, our Airstream travel trailer caught fire and burned to the ground just a few miles over the US/Canada border…with my Christmas present inside. Some sort of electrical short, apparently. Damn. Still, Thank you.
8. Lululemon jacket. From #4, this was an impromptu gift. It had apparently been abandoned at the yoga studio. As luck would have it, it was exactly my size, and in new condition, so she rescued it for me. I love it, and wear it all the time. And, it’s a design that Lulu has since stopped producing, so I’m mindful to not be as careless with it as the last owner! Thank you.
9. The Book of George. As you may have gathered, George was pretty important to me. This was a meticulously put together Christmas 2010 gift from #3 that left me completely speechless. Still there are no words. Thank you.
She created this on a Mac, and Apple put it together. At the time, it was a unique service. Very cool.
10. Not telling. I’m not publicly sharing this one, but Thank you, Maria (#1).