The ‘giving’ in thanks

It has been nearly two years since my mother-in-law went to her heavenly reward.  Since Thanksgiving is one of the times when the entire family is together, my father-in-law brought with him all of mom’s jewelry and remaining Christmas angel collection.

You see, mom had a pair of earrings and matching necklace for nearly every outfit; as well as shoes in every color of the rainbow.  In a phone conversation dad told my sister-in-law he was planning on taking the jewelry to the thrift store.  She put a quick halt to that idea, telling him that there were family heirlooms in the collection and perhaps he should consider allowing his daughter, daughters-in-law, and granddaughters the opportunity to see if there are pieces they might like as a remembrance.  Thank goodness he agreed and Thanksgiving was the day.

Being the orderly person that he is, each pair of earrings, each ring, pin and necklace were in their own tiny plastic jewelry bag.  They were laid out on one end of the dining room table.

At the other end were the remaining angels from mom’s collection.  She loved angels.  She had angel earrings, stained glass angels, figures, and candles. A couple of years before she died, she asked us to go through her collection and take pieces we might like to have.  So each of us already owns several angels.  These were the ‘leftovers’ which dad was also planning on taking to the thrift store.  Once again my SIL intervened, suggesting that the grandkids have the opportunity to see if there were any last pieces they might like to have.

And so we gathered around the table…and just stood there…looking.  Peanut, my daughter, picked up a gold locket, opened it and burst into tears.  In it were baby pictures of her, her brother and her cousin Leighann.  The hubster and I had given it to her as a gift many moons ago.  My SIL was the first to pick up a charm bracelet asking, “Does anyone mind if I take this?”  The chorus of, “no’s” weren’t too loud.  And so it went.  “Do you mind if I take this?” was asked by each person as they chose various pieces of jewelry.  Dear son brought out his jeweler’s loop to examine the gold bracelets for everyone.  (He uses it for his coin collecting.)

There were a couple very beautiful rings.  One I handed to my niece saying, “You should take this.”  “I don’t wear rings,” she responded.  “Not now you don’t. But you may in the future. Or may want to give it to your child, should you decide to have nay.”  She took it.  We wandered around the table for a couple of hours repeating the same thing, “This would look good on you.”  “Are you sure you don’t mind if I have this?”

The same story was repeated at the other end of the table.  By the time the evening ended, all the angels found a home with someone.  Not one was left to go to the thrift store.

It was a profound experience, especially for me.  To hear so often, “Do you mind…?” and “You should have….” instead of “I want….” or “I picked first…” was so reminiscent of my mother-in-law.  It was if she was with us, sitting at the table eyes glistening and smiling, proud of her family and their giving hearts.

There was a lot of ‘giving’ in our thanks.


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