A week before my mother left, I was instructed to get my niece a present for her 21st Birthday. Recognizing the significance of the event, and partially acting in appreciation to my aunt for taking care of her in the hospital over the years, my mom gave me specific instructions to get my niece a nice diamond necklace for the occasion.
I was given a budget of $**** (*er hem*, the exact figure’s top secret!) for the necklace. However, the budgetary issue was secondary. What really mattered, however, was to get something presentable and most importantly something that my niece would like.
I got the present on Tuesday evening – just hours before my mom left. My niece, who had spent an entire day at the hospital was controlling her emotions well – until I presented her with my mother’s gift.
She broke down, and she couldn’t stop crying until she got home much later that evening.
Of all the things that my mother enjoyed doing, was really making people happy. In her own words, she’s “happy to see other people happy”, and she enjoyed doing so by means of gifts.
Now it probably wouldn’t surprise me if the thoughts in your mind began painting images of my mother splurging on extravagant gifts like what most spendthrifts do to indulge the materialistic inclinations of people that are her friends, relatives and children. That impression could not be further away from the truth, however.
Where it comes to buying gifts, my mother has always heralded and abided by the principle that it boils down to what the receiver wants rather than subscribe to doctrine of “it’s the thought that counts”. To my mother, it was never sufficient to merely buy an random object for a person just for the sake of buying and expressing one’s “appreciation” for the receiver. To my mother, the lack of thought translates into a lack of sincerity, and in some cases, paying little regard for the type of gift one gets can be translated into a lack of respect for the receiver. And I understood what she meant.
Just think about it:
The idea of the gift has always been about delighting and surprising the other party. After all, what are the odds that a miscellaneous item grabbed off a random shelf would be able to bring joy to the receiving party?
With little regard or thought put into a gift, there’s a high chance that a gift would invariably disappoint than delight the receiving party.
For years now, my mother has been holding on to her principle and practice of giving other people what they want. Like clockwork, my mother never fails to rack her brain to come up with the list of items to get our relatives during festivals and special occasions, especially during birthdays or birth anniversaries newborn members to our family.
Until her death, I was never able to truly understand the power of my mother’s generosity. Having experienced tremendous distress and emotional and physical strain from staying at the hospital for extended periods, my siblings and I received tremendous support from our relatives who came forth to volunteer their services. I was pleasantly surprised when one of my cousins, Sharon, paid tribute to my mother for the generosity and kindness she extended to her mother and family over the years.
Sharon’s words of appreciation were also accompanied by actions of reciprocation. With my mother’s passing, Sharon stayed back at the hospital to keep an eye on my mother’s body whilst my siblings and I attended to the administrative and logistical affairs of my mother’s memorial/funeral services.
Sharon’s example is just one of the many instances of how ALL my cousins, nieces and nephews came forth to volunteer their support during the period extreme difficulty. In all honesty, their contributions were simply invaluable to my immediate family. And, in all honesty, I believe that I’m merely reaping the rewards of the hard work and the generosity that my mother had put in maintaining the ties with our extended family.
Everything began with my mother’s unwavering support for the family unit (as I’d shared in Mom’s Lesson #1). Next comes her believe that gifts involve more than just “the thought”.
My mother taught me an invaluable lesson where interpersonal relationships are concerned. My mother’s principles and actions extend beyond the realm of dollars, cents and thought of showmanship. Whilst I’m not an advocate of “over-giving”, I do recognize how a little selflessness, generosity and thoughtfulness can go a long way in establishing long-lasting and fruitful relationships in life.
Is it time for you to reflect on your principle of giving, and adopt a little more thoughtfulness where gifts and presents are concerned?
That’s your fruit for thought for the day!
Mom’s Lesson #1 – Family First
Mom’s Lesson #2 – More than Just a Thought
Mom’s Lesson #3 – Discipline – Respect for your Elders
Mom’s Lesson #4 – Just a Little Bit More
Mom’s Lesson #5 – Don’t Give Up – Just Do Your Best
Mom’s Lesson #6 – Go Forth and Explore
Mom’s Lesson #7 – Love & Sacrifice