Treasured, Loving Gifts
I opened the doors leading out to my quaint, private patio and gazed at my gorgeous dwarf olive tree, the purple bougainvillea climbing up the patio walls and spilling overhead on a trellis, the blue sky above, the deep green boxwood hedges surrounding the small lanai with bouquets of multi-colored impatient plants popping up their heads. I said, "good morning, world!" I sighed in delight, patted Orchid and smiled.
I purposely walked outside to write my good morning story. I wanted to be with nature. Other than my family, there is nothing I love more. Nature is Mother Earth... the Universe.
I sat down at my charming petite, iron table, with Orchid by my side, and opened my laptop. I looked around at my surroundings. I had created a perfect feng shui environment. I was in the moment with my pooch, my laptop and my second love -- nature.
My stories today are short vignettes that hold a special place in my heart. These stories are about gifts from the sea and gifts from the earth. Gifts I have given and gifts I have gotten. One story took place in America on Nantucket Island; another in Ireland and the third vignette took place in Israel. I call these stories, "Gifts of the Heart."
A Gift From the Sea
Several years ago my husband, Shelly, and I were walking hand-in-hand in the early hours of the morning along the Atlantic shore. The sun had just peaked her head. We were on Nantucket Island. We were the lone walkers on the beach. As my eyes skirted the vicinity, I noticed in the distance, among very tall reeds, a tall woman with white hair. I noticed she would disappear and then reappear!
"I would love to meet that woman," I said to Shelly.
"What woman?" He asked.
"The woman in the not-too-far distance," I replied.
"Why is that important to you?"
"I'm inquisitive," I explained. I want to know what is she doing out here alone in the tall reeds. She keeps bending over and then standing up."
"Alright, let's go," said Shelly.
We had to push the reeds back as we made our way to her side.
She was almost six feet tall, with silver hair worn in a bun. She had a bronze glow to her skin, beautiful, clear blue eyes and strong, large hands. She was dressed in a long blue dress that resembled a pinafore with an apron tied around her waist and under her pinafore she wore a crisp white shirt. I imagined her to be in her eighties.
She smiled. We smiled.
"Good morning," we said. "We walked over to see what you are doing."
"I am shelling... collecting shells," she replied.
"I love sea shells," I declared. "I love everything that has to do with the sea."
She then opened her apron and showed me her morning collection of the most amazing seashells I had ever seen.
"What do you do with all these shells?" I inquired.
"I collect shells for the shell shop in town. Today I found the most beautiful shell. Look!"
"Do you know its name? I asked.
"Yes, it is called a Moon Shell."
She noticed I could not take my eyes off this exquisitely-patterned shell and said, smiling, "I would like to give it to you! Please accept this as my gift from the sea."
She continued, "Take it home, wash it in bleach to clean out the animal and the bleach will bring back its natural color."
I looked up at her and replied, "Thank you. I will always treasure your gift."
We said our goodbyes. I carefully wrapped my moon shell and carried her back to Chicago. I followed the instructions from the 'woman in blue,' and then placed my beautiful white shell into a glass box with lid so I could view her every day. Moon Shell sits on my desk today... 15 years later! The joy this small gift brings cannot be measured in words. I wish I could once again thank 'the woman in blue.'
Two Daughters, Two Hearts, Two Valentine's Day Presents
This story took place about ten years ago as Shelly and I drove around the Ring of Kerry in Ireland.
One of our stops was at a famous lake that grants wishes if you dip your hands in the water. I could not resist!
"Let's walk down to the lake," I said to Shelly.
The walk down was laden with medium-sized rocks in all shapes and sizes. It was a difficult walk. You could trip or lose your balance because the rocks moved as you walked. You had to keep your eyes glued to the ground as you proceeded down to the water's edge.
As I neared the water, I saw two medium-sized rocks lying side by side. I truly believe that a million people would never have noticed these rocks. To my eye they looked liked abstract hearts.
I let go of Shelly's hand and bent down to pick them up.
"What are you doing?" Shelly asked.
"What do these rocks remind you of?" I asked.
"I don't know," was the answer I expected.
"They are abstract hearts! I am going to take them home, write a saying on each rock in red magic marker and give them to Jenny and Lizzie for Valentine's presents!"
Shelly just smiled. Squeezed my hand and kissed my cheek.
When I give gifts, thought wins over cost.
But I must admit that I did not think these two rocks would have such an impact on my daughters. I was overjoyed when I saw the heart's importance. Overjoyed because my daughters visualized their mother finding them on the shoreline of Ireland... and thinking of them.
My daughters have perfume trays in their baths. One daughter lives in Chicago. The other daughter lives in Arizona. I noticed years ago that both of my daughters placed their Valentine rock with their Mother's words of love on their perfume trays. They still sit there today.
A Grandson's Gift to His Honey
My grandson, Robbie, was traveling to Israel on Birth Right, a great trip for young people. He always brings me a present from his travels.
"Honey, what would you like me to bring you from Israel?" Robbie asked.
"Nothing from the store. A gift from the land would be a treasure," I replied.
I was not disappointed in this grandson of mine. He brought me a perfectly-shaped round rock. It looks like sand and it is sturdy and hard like the State of Israel.
It is a treasured gift because it came from my grandson and the land of Israel. My rock sits on my desk along with my Moon Stone.
I have taught this to my children and grandchildren by my words and my gifts. Little treasures from Honey... straight from the heart.
These are my words to them:
"Gifts do not have to cost money to bring joy to your family and friends. The joy of a material possession lasts but for the moment. A gift from the heart lasts... a lifetime."
Have a wonderful day my "honey bee" readers. Until next time...
HuffPost Parents offers a daily dose of personal stories, helpful advice and comedic takes on what it’s like to raise kids today. Learn more