Today marks nine months since my mom passed away.
When it came to picking out gifts for others, my mom put true meaning behind the phrase, “It’s the thought that counts.” In fact, I think that phrase was invented because of her. When thinking about the gifts my mom gave me as I was growing up, I remember not really liking many of them, even though she always made sure to put a lot of thought into said gifts. The reason for this is because I’ve always been so unnecessarily particular about what I like: It has to be exactly the right color, style, and material. My mom was well aware of my pickiness and that I wasn’t always a fan of the gifts she gave me, but she refused to resort to giving impersonal gifts, like cash or a gift card. She was always determined to try and find something I would like that was also meaningful.
Last Christmas, my mom was especially determined to give me something meaningful because she knew it would be the last Christmas we would spend together. She sat and watched with hope and anticipation as I opened the first few gifts: a chocolate chip cookie scented candle, a ridiculously long scarf, a brown jewelry box, and a dark blue vest from Wet Seal. Even though I don’t ever use candles, the scarf was too long, I dislike the color brown, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in Wet Seal, I did my best to show excitement over the items she had picked out for me by saying, “Oh my god! Thanks, Mom! This is great!”
My mom’s thoughtfulness when it came to picking out presents was really exemplified when I opened the last two gifts; one gift was a zip-up hoodie from Aeropostale (a store that is known for selling prepster clothing for high school kids, also a store I wouldn’t be caught dead in) with the words “New York” emblazoned across the front; the other gift consisted of a photo box covered with flower images. “I picked the sweatshirt out for you because I know you went to New York earlier this year,” my mom said about the hoodie. “And the box is for you to keep all of your little treasures in.”
At this point, I could not help but smile at my mom with endearment. She tried so hard when it came to putting thought into the gifts she gave, so hard that, in her mind, even the smallest correlation made the gifts she gave more personal and meaningful. Like the fact that I had made my first trip to New York earlier that year, or the fact that I am always collecting special photographs, cards given to me, and mementos. “Little treasures” per se.
A year later, I still have all of those final gifts my mom gave me during our last Christmas together. I crave chocolate chip cookies whenever I light the candle. I do my best not to trip on the scarf whenever I wear it. I store all of my necklaces, bracelets, and rings in the brown jewelry box. I put on the clothes from Wet Seal and Aeropostale on occasion. And I keep the picture box filled with my most precious treasures: photographs of my mom, cards and letters she has given me, and a number of mementos that will always remind me of her.