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The Gift That Didn’t Land

By Patty Servidio
In days gone by, gift-giving was a simple process. Giving a loved one a gift was like a warm hug, a token of affection in physical form that could be appreciated and had the ability to conjure up warm and fuzzy feelings in both gifter and giftee. As my mother always said, it was the thought that counted most.
Many years ago, “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” aired on television. The film was the inspiration for the television series, “The Waltons”. A scene in the film impressed upon me the importance of giving a gift that was not only well thought out but was not damaged. In the movie, Elizabeth Walton received a doll with a broken face. From that moment on, I vowed never to give anyone a gift that could be viewed as “damaged”. Whether handmade, handpicked or purchased, I wanted the gift to mean something that also instilled good memories.
There were lean years when we were unable to even send cards. During one such year, I created blankets and tote bags for family members from the yarn stash in my basement. Gifts that came from the heart and hands were often more precious than store-bought.
Several months ago, I noticed that my collection of yarn had “birthed” more yarn that was now housed in multiple bins in the basement. Because I had been on a medical rest for hip and foot issues, I took to my sofa and began to crochet amigurumi in earnest. Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting (or knitting) small, stuffed yarn creatures. I found the process to be relaxing and rewarding, especially since the items crocheted could be finished quickly. From October to Christmas, I created several amigurumi animals, which were mailed off to various recipients. These items were received well, and often yielded cries of delight from the giftee. I was grateful to be able to share and create, as giving the gifts filled me with great joy.
Hubby and I recently discussed the prospect of downsizing to a smaller home in the future with a possible relocation. I decided that, if we were truly leaving the area, I wanted to give something to each of my physicians to show my appreciation for their years of care. I also wanted to get rid of my inherited stash of yarn.
I had an appointment in the fall with my pulmnologist. I have known him as a patient and a colleague for over thirty years. I wanted to give him something special, so I crocheted him a set of lungs with a trachea. When the item was finished, it looked more like something that I should have given to my urologist. It became a running joke in my family, but I was unperturbed. My pulmonary specialist loved it. I was thrilled to have given him so much happiness, which fueled my passion to continue.
Last week, I created a small peacock and presented it to my internist, who seemed genuinely touched, especially when he saw his favorite protein bar at the bottom of the bag. It felt so good to bring joy to another person. That was truly the purpose of giving something to someone else without expecting anything in return – the appreciation of a small gesture.
This week, I had another appointment with a different physician whom I have known since my mid-twenties. (Hint: it’s longer than I have known my pulmnologist) We have talked over the years about family, places we enjoy, sports in which we participate, and I have appreciated every conversation. Because of that, I needed to create something extra special for him. He had mentioned Montauk in the past, which happened to also be one of my favorite places on the planet. I decided to create a baby seal for him, complete with blushing cheeks and lashes. I also crocheted an amigurumi brownie which was scented with chocolate essential oil. He has always been a big fan of my brownies.
When I offered the gift to my doc, he had already inhaled the aroma of the fresh brownies that were on the bottom of the bag. I encouraged him to open the small paper bag inside, which contained the white seal and the brownie made of yarn. The look on his face was almost comically quizzical. Flustered, I stammered something about the North Shore of Long Island. I had completely forgotten about our mutual love for Montauk and the whole reason I crocheted the seal for him in the first place. It was an appreciated gift, embarrassment notwithstanding.
Any opportunity that one has to offer something to another helps to add good vibes to our world. Even holding the door for another is a gift that is appreciated. It is important, in a world that can be incredibly cruel, to be incredibly kind.
Not all gifts land as we hope, but sometimes it takes time for the recipient to appreciate the token of gratitude offered. This is a lesson that I learn daily, as I am certain you do as well. Sometimes it takes a minute for true appreciation to sink in fully. We live, we learn, and we grow from experience. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

 

 

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