A gorilla appeared at my fiftieth birthday party. With great gusto it read a poem from my daughter, who was away at college, and had regretfully informed me that she would be unable to attend the celebration.

I loved the poem, and the excitement generated by this unusual party guest, but when the gorilla removed its hairy mask, and my daughter appeared in person, I was stunned and delighted.

This delightful memory was reactivated when a group of women at a networking meeting started to play with the question, “What is the best gift you ever received?“

The instigator of the conversation had announced that she had just received the best present of her life — a ticket to Hawaii. She said that other favorite gifts were the generosity and helpfulness of her son at a time when she had been injured and was unable to move around very much. The gifts that tied for her number two slots however, were facials and reflexology treatments.

Many of the gifts that were labeled “best“ were surprises.

  • One woman recalled being blindfolded and driven to the park for a surprise thirteenth birthday party.
  • Another‘s fiancé took her for a surprise ride on the Pikes Peak cog railway followed by a picnic.
  • One woman remembered the time her pet parrot had died, and she and her husband decided together that they could not afford to replace it. She was stunned when he brought her the expensive pet cockatoo they had reluctantly left in the pet store.
  • Still another woman remembered receiving the pet puppy she had spent five years wishing for — as a Valentines Day surprise.

Gifts of experiences, rather than things were high on several lists.

  • The 11 year old stepdaughter of one participant decided that she would rather experience a repeat of a family trip to Mexico than any other Christmas present.
  • Someone else recalled her father taking the entire family to Belize when she was in her mid 20s as the best gift she had ever received.
  • Other “best gift“ experiences were a certificate to a day spa, and tickets to Phantom of the Opera.

Of the nine women at the table, only one remembered an object as a “best gift.“ The object was a heavy copper bracelet, but the important part of the gift was that it was the first gift a 14-year-old girl received from a 15-year-old boy, and it was a complete surprise.

I appreciated the reminder to review the wonderful gifts I have been given throughout my life. I am also speculating that perhaps the perfect gift for someone I care about cannot be found in any store or catalogue.

Take some time to give yourself the gift of remembering the gifts you have received and given.

[tags]Personal Growth, Relationships[/tags]