the best gift

design, experiences, family, inspiration

I don’t have the words to describe how much I love this gift. Our friend Kathy is our daughter’s godmother and gave this gift to our daughter at Christmas. I am sharing this gift with the permission of both Kathy and our daughter.

The gift, shown above, is a small clipboard with 15 pieces of paper attached to it. On the first sheet is a letter to our daughter. It starts out, “There are many great things I wish for you in life–adventure-some experiences, grand sights, memorable delicacies and so much more. I would like you to go through life savoring these experiences, being conscious of them, imprinting them in your mind so you will be able to recall them many years later. Some events will indeed be monumental events, others will be transformative moments as you observe the ordinary in an unordinary way.” The letter goes on to explain that she has put together a Checklist for Life.

The checklist is broken down into Things to Do, Things to Touch, Things to See, Things to Smell, Things to Taste, Things to Have, Things to Hear, Things to Be and Things to Make. Here are a just few of my favorites:

Under Things to Do:

  • Forgive someone.
  • Write a letter to yourself, seal it and open it in 10 years, repeat every decade.
  • Keep a secret.
  • Fly the flag on the 4th of July.
  • Cross the equator.
  • Write your congressional representative to express your views.
  • Donate blood to the Red Cross.
  • Count your blessings when things go wrong.

Under Things to Touch:

  • The hand of someone 80 or older.
  • A kitten that still has its eyes unopened.

Under Things to See:

  • A space launch.
  • A harvest.
  • A robin’s egg.
  • The Mona Lisa.

Under Things to Know:

  • How to change a tire.
  • How to drive on ice.
  • When to apologize.
  • Which fork to use at a fancy dinner.
  • How to waltz.
  • Your heart’s desire.

Under Things to Hear:

  • A speech by a world leader
  • the quiet of falling snow
  • Yourself singing a lullaby to a baby

Under Things to Be:

  • Selective.
  • Unafraid of crying.
  • Patient in explaining things.
  • A cheerful giver.
  • A hero to someone.

In truth it’s a bunch of paper and a clipboard but to me it’s that someone I love has wonderful hopes and dreams for my daughter and is cheering her on in going out into the world to learn new things. We sat there on Christmas morning scanning the list to think about the things that we too wanted to do. And of course it got me thinking about my own list. I know that people often talk about “Bucket Lists” and that there was a movie made about this theme but this is different to me. This list is about personal growth as a child and wanting to make sure that she had lots of great goals, some big, some small.

I’m going to think about how I can adapt this idea and share it with others I love. It would be a great high school graduation gift or a wedding gift. How about a baby shower list for all of the great Mom experiences that you think someone might enjoy with a new baby? I know that the advertising world wants us to buy lots and lots of stuff, but truly, I can’t think of a better gift to give than someone saying, “I want you to have a great life.” So simple. So profound.

8 thoughts on “the best gift

  1. That is a terrific and inspirational gift. I can see it being perfect for so many of life’s milestones. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. The title said it all. This IS a great gift. I have two HS graduations coming up and what a wonderful thing to send the young grads out in the world with. Thanks to your friend, your daughter and you.

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