LIFE LESSON#7 (continued): Play! Enjoy! Celebrate! These values are ALWAYS mission critical!
My mom was also crafty – not in the sense of making arts and crafts kind of crafty – heavens no! Crafts were too messy and she preferred neatness over most everything else. She was crafty as in tricky. Bob and I had this tradition of always going out on Christmas Eve to buy her gifts and have the department store wrap them in beautiful paper and bows. Every year it was my heart’s desire to surprise my mother. The year I was 7 or 8 years old I really thought we had nailed the gifts. We purchased two WHOLE outfits – that were in style in the 60’s, with stirrup knit pants…one in blue, I don’t remember the other color (maybe mint green?) with coordinating tops and beautifully woven over-sized sweaters made out of the softest, fuzziest, wool ever with large crocheted buttons. I loved them and was way more excited about surprising her than whatever was going to be given to me. On Christmas morning – super early as they couldn’t keep four squirmy kids waiting for Santa in bed – we headed down to the basement rec room and began the gift opening extravanganza. When it was mom’s turn, she would grab one of the beautifully decorated boxes from Bob and say……
”This feels like a cream colored angora sweater with light blue trim and over-sized buttons.” Sure enough, it was the sweater.
Next time it was mom’s turn she’d pick up another of the commercially wrapped gifts and shake it. Tilting her head to one side with a sly little grin accompanied by a tittering giggle she’d say, “Could this be matching slacks? Light blue perhaps?” Indeed, it was.
You know what she had done? Opened the gifts up in the middle of the night and rewrapped them. She simply could not wait to see what Bob had given her. She did this every year although it took me years to figure out my mother was more sneaky than psychic! This is the epitome of who she was – prim and proper and prissy….with a childlike enthusiasm and an eye for mischief. She took this spirit with her wherever our family roamed.