Today being the last day of the year and, in fact, the last day of the decade, most of us will spend it reflecting on the past. We will think of all the things we have done and all the things we have left undone. We will also look to the future and make plans for the upcoming year. New Year resolutions will be on everyone’s mind and we will inevitably make promises to ourselves we will not keep. You want to make sure to steer yourself in the right direction so you are not disappointed, which brings me to a very recent memory. A regret I had from this past year.
All year I kept telling myself that I was going to compile some of my favorite stories that involved my family and have a small book made so I could present it to them as a Christmas gift. I ran out of time. I don’t know about you, but to me this year seemed to fly by. Actually, the older I have gotten the faster time seems to go by. Anyway, suffice it to say I did not have the book made and Christmas morning, I was left with regret.
Under the tree sat hundreds of dollars of gifts, but not one of the gifts I was giving sparked the kind of joy I wanted to spread. I wanted to give my family something they would remember for the rest of their lives and lets face it- shoes, books, toys or electronics just wasn’t going to cut it. Granted everyone in the family loved everything I got them, but deep down I knew I could have done better.
Then, just as I was reeling with regret, our youngest daughter Carmen said she wanted to give out her gifts. She stood up and said to the whole family that each gift she was giving had two parts to it. The first part was the opening of the actual gift and the second part was her reading an accompanying poem that she wrote herself about the gift and why she gave it.
The first gift she gave was to her brother Tony, our daughter-in-law Jess, and our grandson, Boston. It was a beautifully crocheted blanket that she also made herself. It was beautiful, but the poem that accompanied it made this already special gift even more sentimental. They will likely never forget the blanket or the poem. She nailed it with a gift that will be remembered long into the future.
One gift after another was special and each poem was beautiful. Our other children all teased that Carmen made all our gifts look pale in comparison. Then, just when we thought the gifts could not get any better, along came her gift to her dad.
As she presented the box, she read the first verse of her poem that went like this…
“1947 Plymouth ad states it was a car of luxury at the lowest cost. No other value-marked car had suicide doors but this one did. It was the family sedan with the gangster flair. All dads wanted to be seen in this car. Sleek and stylish and yet practical and family oriented. Plymouth made a statement about who drove its car and knew whom they were selling it to. My dad.”
Then he opened the box and saw that she had gotten him an antique steering knob, also known as a spinner, with a picture of a bathing suit clad lady on the knob. She then followed with the rest of her poem…
“The smell of the old engine, the oil, or the gas. The sound of the key turning the ignition. Everything about the old car just feels right. Everything is perfect to the musty seats and the creaky doors. Nothing is out of place, especially with the new antique wheel spinner added for an extra touch of flair. No one is going to be able to shake this feeling that is in the air. The magic of a car ride in a classic car of the ‘40s. Nothing puts you in a better mood for a diner and a drive-in movie. Take it slow because it definitely can’t go fast. But why would you want to, when you’re going home at last, on an old back road that everyone else forgot. So sit back and relax. And use the spinner on the old wheel and get home as slow as you feel.”
As she finished, my husband replied with tears in his eyes and a frog in his throat that not only did he love the gift, but she had unknowingly gotten him the identical steering knob his deceased father once had on his old 1950 two-ton Chevy truck.
Years of sentimental memories flooded back as John shared with us stories of his father and the old truck, making her poem and gift more valuable than any expensive gift ever could.
What are the odds?
Carmen knew her dad would love the steering knob and had a feeling that he would use it in his 1950 Chevy pick up truck, ironically a truck that he inherited from his father. But even Carmen could not have known that her Grandfather had one just like the one that she bought her dad. It made for a seriously sentimental moment. It was exactly the kind of sentiment I wanted to invoke this Christmas but never found the time to do.
While I sat there disappointed at myself for not following through with my desire to create a sentimental book for Christmas, my daughter was doing everything I wanted to do. Then it hit me.
Then it hit me…
Perhaps everything that happened actually happened for a reason. I wanted a sentimental Christmas and I got one. I might have been too busy, and time for me might have flown by for a reason. Maybe, just maybe, it was the wrong time for me to give that kind of gift, but clearly it was the right time for my daughter to do so. After all, the antique steering knob, one just like her Grandfather had, was a once in a lifetime purchase. I can’t even fathom the odds of that happening.
When making New Years resolutions, remember that you can make all the plans you want and you can have all the best intentions, but sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan. Sometimes life can steer you in a better direction. One that might include a poem and a steering knob. Life is mysterious.