Giving a person a small gift could have a huge impact on their life; however, the receiver may not appreciate it until several years later.
I was once given a gift by a man I admired, even though I scoffed at it. The man was my father. The gift was a little bear wearing a Liverpool shirt which he found on the ground when we were out for a walk. My understanding of this gift was always sentimental until the day before writing this article.
Firstly, let me introduce another character in the story of my life, Muffin. Unlike the other characters, Muffin is the one I owe. I owe her a birthday present. On our most recent Fat Day, she mentioned needing a watch for when she returns to her travels. Immediately, I told her I’d give her my watch.
No consideration or thought behind my statement; completely out of the blue. This was my watch. A watch that has visited every country with me and is one of two things that I’ve always packed; the other being a three-headed demon t-shirt. Why would I willingly give it away? My drive home gave me time to consider the proposal I had made.
What does the present mean to the giver?
The bear possibly meant nothing to my father. It was found on the street; possibly dropped by a child. He was a collector of items that were quirky or didn’t quite fit in the home environment. My mother’s living room still houses an old school green parking meter, all of which were removed from circulation in 2008 in favour of the meters that we see at car parks today.
The watch would help me tick the box of giving Muffin a birthday present, and it would also give her something to hold onto as she made her way around the globe; she’d make sure she wouldn’t lose the watch.
What does the present mean to the receiver?
Let me remind you of the first paragraph in this post: “Giving a person a small gift could have a huge impact on their life; however, the receiver may not appreciate it until several years later.”
The bear mocks me whilst wearing its Liverpool shirt. Ever since I was little, long before I was given the bear, I have supported Man United. Watch every game; convinced we’ll win every game; always have and always will. However, I’ve never been one to resent another person for supporting a different team, or being from a different country, having a different culture, or even believing in a different God.
As good as my memory is, I can’t pinpoint the exact year I was given the bear, but from piecing together different memories, I believe it was when I was aged between 11 and 13. A challenging time for any child; you may have moved to a new school; made new friends; lost old friends; been put into a specific social group; developed your understanding of the world.
The bear may have unintentionally helped me understand that everyone will be in their own lane and it is okay if someone else’s lane is not the same as yours. A sentimental bear, wearing the shirt of the biggest football enemy Man United will ever have, teaching lessons about life, about people, and about your action towards those people. If you’re able to keep a bear with a Liverpool shirt then it should be very easy to not interject with your 50 pence anytime someone does something that may not be in line with your ethics.
What would the watch mean to Muffin? I don’t know, I’ve not yet given it to her. Or, I’ve constructed a story from nothing, added in bits of detail so you’d see it as a true story, and manipulated the words so you’re able to read between the lines and consider the gifts you give to friends and family.
Isn’t that what a good wordsmith does?