Design Mom Asks

December 23, 2011

In the spirit of this holiday season, when gifts are on our minds with every e-mail alert, frantic countdown, panicked to-do list, and last-minute letters to Santa, I thought it would be sweet to press pause for a moment and reflect. So I asked a few lovelies to finish the following sentence: The most wonderful gift I’ve ever received has to be…

Kimberly of Mimi Charmante: …my most recent trip to Paris with my husband. We went to celebrate my birthday in November, and he went all out this time — from business class tickets to the most incredible hotel room that we have ever stayed in. When we threw open our windows each morning (Even though it was November, I simply had to do it. I mean, we were in Paris!), we were greeted with the most beautiful slate rooftops and the belle of the ball, La Tour Eiffel. It was absolutely divine. Spending time with my best friend in my favorite city to celebrate another wonderful year really was such a gift, and one that I shall treasure thanks to the copious amount of photos I took as well as the memories we made.

Megan of Pink O’Clock: …a fresh start. Last year, after a challenging 2010, I lost my full-time job on the last day of December. And while initially I was scared out of my mind and wasn’t sure what on earth I was going to do next, once the shock wore off, I realized how unhappy I’d been in my former position and what a gift it was to be able to step away from that toxicity, get back to myself, and figure out what it was I really wanted to do. Somehow there’s always something positive to be gained from loss, isn’t there?

That loss was the gift that keeps on giving, too. To fill its void, I worked hard to find a job that I love and am passionate about. I’ve met new friends, and I’ve reconnected with old ones. I learned that the only way to get anything you want is to ask for it. I’ve sustained a feeling of forward momentum throughout most of this year. And it’s been amazing. So thanks, Universe, for the best gift I’ve ever gotten, and for reinforcing the old adage that you work in mysterious ways.

Stephanie of Adventures in Babywearing: …after an incredibly difficult year of my son’s illness and treatment, my husband and mom gave me the entire Willow Tree nativity collection that I had been wanting for a long time. It was before Christmas, so it was absolutely unexpected and such a surprise. And their reason was to acknowledge all that I’d been through and what I’d done to get my son better. It meant so much. He’s all better now, thankfully, many years later!

Anne-Maree of The House That A-M Built: …my education. My Mum had three children to educate on her own. She couldn’t afford to send us to private school, so she encouraged us to interview for a selective state school. The school gave us a wonderful education and entry into university…for all three of us. To be able to live at home and be loved, nurtured, and supported while studying at university for five years has to be one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life – besides my two beautiful boys, but that’s a given. And I am passing that gift down to them.

Estelle of Under a Pink Moon: …the gift of patience. When I was eight years old, I noticed a tiny box, wrapped in shiny purple paper resting on a branch of our tree, days before Christmas. I spent a great deal of time examining that box, imagining what treasure could be inside. I found a way to carefully open each corner of wrap and slide the box out so as not to disturb any of the precise folds. Inside was a delicate gold-colored ornament — a birdcage with five tiny birds and a single bell hanging by a red string.

The moment I opened that box and caught a glimpse at its precious contents, my heart broke. I had stolen my own chance for childlike delight on Christmas morning and betrayed my mother’s trust. My mom had been giving me a special ornament every Christmas since I was a baby with the idea that someday I would have my own tree, my own family, and my own box full of heirlooms. Money was usually pretty scarce and holidays were rarely lavish, but there was always an ornament for my collection.

Since then, I have never felt the urge to shake a package, peak in a closet, or even open a shopping bag tucked away by my husband. Indeed, I learned that lesson the hard way. Each year, I make a point of carefully unwrapping that birdcage and finding a special spot on the tree for it to hang. It remains one of my most cherished gifts, both the ornament and the life lesson. Patience will always have its own reward.

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These answers warm my heart, and I’m grateful to each of the gifted ladies who shared her story. And now it’s your turn. Will you finish the sentence, please? The most wonderful gift I’ve ever received has to be…

I can’t wait to hear your answers!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Monica December 23, 2011 at 6:28 am

What beautiful stories! Merry Christmas to all, a peaceful, healthy and inspired 2012!

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2 Sarah H December 23, 2011 at 7:01 am

Estelle’s story reminds me of a book that I read to my children earlier this week called “When Posey Peeked at Christmas”. It’s now one of my favorite children’s books- with almost exactly the same message!

Merry Christmas!

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3 Frumptastic December 23, 2011 at 7:40 am

Beautiful. I must share that the most most wonderful gift I received was hearing my two and a half year old son speak clearly after his dangerously large tonsils and adenoids were removed. After nearly a year of speech therapy, it was like a window opened and out came this beautiful little voice. Truly music to this mother’s ears.

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4 the emily December 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

Hmmm…that’s tough! I think it must be…simply family. I grew up with 5 siblings and 2 awesome parents, married a husband with 5 siblings and 2 awesome parents, and we have 3 awesome kids. I think family is the most important thing I have, and the greatest gift for me is spending time with them.

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5 Heather December 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

I’ve been blessed, and have received many great gifts throughout the years, but this year my son is 3, and very into Christmas and wrapping presents for me. My dad died 10 years ago, and unfortunately never got to meet my son, but we talk about him all the time. My son made me a photo of “Grandpa looking down on us from Heaven”…a best gift ever, of course!

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6 Kristen December 23, 2011 at 8:21 am

My father always tells me I was the best birthday and Christmas gift. Born this day, the 23rd December, on my Father’s birthday!

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7 Adventures In Babywearing December 23, 2011 at 8:46 am

Thank you for asking! I was so glad to share. I love reading these comments, too!

Steph

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8 Kim December 23, 2011 at 8:55 am

One month after the tragic death of my daughter, I became pregnant again. That was the best gift ever, to have a new life coming to fill my empty arms. I have since had 4 beautiful babies and am so grateful for each of them.

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9 Lauren December 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

The best gift I got this year was to have my son diagnosed with autism. It truly was a blessing because of the weight it took of my shoulders that I was to blame for my child’s behavior. I became less defensive. It has opened up many opportunities for him to get the help that he needs. Even if it has done nothing to help him, it has changed my perspective. I am a better mother to him now.

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10 Kate December 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm

The nutcracker. I first went with my mom when I was 3 and I wound up sleeping in her lap by the end, dreaming of twirling and sashaying in a tutu no doubt. I’ve gone every year (with precious few exceptions) since. She used to call it our gift to each other, and as a girl I thought “yea! I get credit for giving something without even trying.” (OK, so I can be lazy). BUT. This year. I took my 4 year old. I did. And I cried almost the whole way through as I watched her sit, riveted, eyes unblinking with her hands magically twirling at her sides. Now I see why mom called it a gift to the both of us.

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11 A-Ma December 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Isn’t gratitude a wonderful thing! Thank you for including me in your post. I am honoured. A-M xx

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12 Danielle December 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Love Estelle’s story. That story might even help increase my patience!

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13 megan December 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

i loved reading the others’ responses to this question — both in the post and in the comments. thank you for having me! xoxo and merry christmas!

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14 estelle December 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Wow, I am really enjoying all the other posts and the comments. So much to learn from one another. Thank you for including me in this round up and for reminding me of the precious important things in life. Merry Christmas.

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15 Melissa December 23, 2011 at 11:19 pm

each story so lovely…

from Kimberly in Paris to Estelle’s beautiful lesson of patience.

Merry Christmas Gabrielle! Wishing you and your amazing family a bliss filled holiday!

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16 Mary December 24, 2011 at 6:13 am

Lovely post from some of my favorite bloggers. Happy Christmas!

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17 Connie December 28, 2011 at 7:49 am

The most wonderful gift I have ever recieved was a college graduation gift from my mom. See, throughout the four years of my undergrad, I was away at school. and rather than talk on the phone (my mom and I aren’t really ‘phone people.’), I’d send her a quick email before I went to bed, telling her a highlight or two (or a stress or two! Or a crush or two!), and my mom would write a quick reply in the morning before she went to work.
At the end of the four years, she gave me the most extraordinary gift: she had saved EVERY email, printed it, and had them bound in spiral books according to the semester, so there are eight volumes. It was amazing to see how my voice changed and grew up, and emotional as well. What a gift. But that’s a mom, isn’t it? Of course she saved each email. That’s what moms do.

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18 Kate Coates January 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

The most wonderful gift I received this year was the Christmas spirit, so boldly displayed by our fourth child, Jack. After playing a part in our local theater’s musical production of a Christmas Carol, he sang the words of one of the songs to me as I was putting him to bed one night. The song is sung by Tiny Tim and his father, and the lyrics Jack sang went, “Many men have fortunes, but they don’t have you… You mean more to me than anything.” He told me that it was really true, and told me that he knows now that our family “really is rich, not with like money, but that every time you were having another baby, we were getting richer all the time…” OH! Be still my heart!

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