Yesterday’s post dealt with lists. The idea for today’s writing is in response to that posting. You can read it here. Name the 5 best gifts anyone ever gave me. This one stuck in my mind last night. I don’t know why, maybe I was feeling nostalgic. It sometimes amazes me how I get sappy and melancholy the closer my birthday gets. So the next 11 days I will be looking back more than I will be looking forward. Once that day has passed I will be back to my normal self. (whatever that is)
The first gift is not something material. It was from my high school English teacher. For the life of me I am sorry to say I can’t remember her name. I’ve always been terrible with names. But, in my mind’s eye I see her as if it was yesterday. She was a tiny, African-American woman. She had really short grey hair, and she always wore African dresses. They were always brightly colored and cheerful. They suited her very well. Every summer she would go to Africa to teach English to children who couldn’t afford to go to school. She did this for free. She did this because she loved teaching and she loved kids. She has always been my favorite teacher.
Her gift to me? It was confidence. Confidence in myself. Confidence in my writing skills, and her belief that I could be a writer someday. How do I know this? She told me herself. I will never forget that. In her way she blessed me.
Not only did she tell me if I worked at it I could become a fine writer. She kept all my English papers. The ones where our assignments were to write stories. She kept every single one! She explained to me that the reason she kept them was because she was working on her second book (the first being about her experiences in Africa). The second book had to do with her years of being an English teacher and some of her better students. She wanted my papers to show how story telling should be done! I was walking on cloud nine for weeks after she told me. I wasn’t use to praise, so when I did get it, it was a bit overwhelming!
The second best gift was a dog. It was my sixteenth birthday. My mother and I hadn’t been getting along, as usual. So I really never thought I would be getting anything special for my birthday. Hell, I didn’t think I would be getting anything! My parents had left early that morning (it was a Saturday). They never said where they were going. I never thought about it. Later that afternoon they came home. With them was the smallest, cutest Shih Tzu puppy I had ever seen! He was black and white and his little pink tongue stuck out of his cute flat face. I was instantly in love! He even had papers! He was a registered pure bred!
My dad put him in my lap and said, “He’s yours. Happy Birthday.” I have to say that one gift was one of the best gifts in my life. He gave me unconditional love. I miss him to this day.
The third best gift is one I gave myself. The gift of freedom. The day I walked out on an abusive marriage. One of the best days of my life indeed!
The fourth gift would have to be friendship. The day I met one of the best friends of my life. Also probably the love of my life. He was a very special man. I met him shortly after my divorce. He gave me his friendship first and his love later. He was smart and funny and cute and compassionate. We talked about everything and anything. Nothing was taboo. He had one of the finest minds I ever knew. He gave me his undying friendship when I needed it so much. He gave me his undying love when I finally could accept it. I miss him so much that my heart aches. He died of complications of diabetes much too young.
The fifth gift. The fifth gift is a gift received and given. A gift of forgiveness. The day several months after my father died. When a rare occasion happened. My mother called me here in Canada. She offered me the olive branch and I accepted. My mother and I have had a very stormy past. The year my father died we had not talked at all. She refused my phone calls. But that day I forgave her, she forgave me. We moved on to be friends. Now we talk at least once a week, sometimes more.
So there are 5 of the best gifts I have been given. What are yours?