Gifts Unexpected

Brooke Shields is reviving her blue jean commercial career. She’s modeling Jordache Jeans and showing the world what fifty-six looks like. When I heard this news, I was like; “Wow, Brooke Shields looks great!”.  Then I thought “They still make Jordache Jeans?”. Which brought me to reflect on my 12th birthday, way back in 1983, when I received a gift that I relentlessly pleaded for.

Since I was so persistent in my birthday gift request, I had a feeling that I knew what it was when it was given to me. I gently pulled off the wrapping paper and, savoring the suspense of the moment, I slowly removed the top of the box to unveil what was inside. My heart skipped a beat when I realized my suspicion was correct. Signature white stitching contrasting perfectly against a dark blue denim back pocket; it was a magnificent pair of Jordache Jeans!

I begged my mother for months to get a pair and I wasn’t sure that she’d let me have them. They were, after all, a little tight fitting. But, oh that feeling of receiving something you wanted more than anything else! At 12, those jeans were the best gift I had ever received…

Man, how life has changed. It’s not as simple as receiving a pair of jeans anymore. These days the best gifts aren’t often received on birthdays, holidays, or other special occasions. Many times, the best gifts are intangible; like when something doesn’t work out the way it was supposed to, or a piece of unsolicited advice that you took, and it worked out well.

As it turned out, the Jordache Jeans were not among the best gifts I received from my mom. Instead, it was the time she spent on me and the advice she gave me through sharing her experiences and thoughts.

A silver lining to her death were the stacks of her writings that she left behind. There are short stories and poems about her mom and other family members, tributes to her cats, pieces on the love for her children, her friends, and words about her feelings. Some are very personal, and others are stories I’ve heard hundreds of times before and would have remembered forever. But I don’t have to because I can come to these writings and read them repeatedly in her own words. These were not meant to be gifts; they were meant for her. They were her way of reminiscing and releasing her emotions.  

Sometimes gifts are not something that you unwrap.

Here’s just a very small sample of what she left behind:


By My Mom

Red Roses, Beauty only nature can produce

Yes its beauty is too short lived

Thank you God for the inner beauty of the soul

For with friends its shared through flowers that

Never fade

Tell me this: What’s the best gift you ever received?

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