“I’d rather you give me memories than gifts,” I told my sister Liz. I explained that experiences meant more to me than “stuff” – unless the “stuff” was homemade, of course. Liz had taken a few pottery classes in high school and made some beautiful pieces. I envisioned owning a whole set of plates, bowls, and mugs made by her.
One Christmas after this conversation, I opened a gift from Liz. It was a tiny blue box. Inside I found a dozen little white pieces of paper with the word “memories” printed on them. She thought it funny. But I was a little heartbroken that she’d totally missed the point. Or so I thought.
I don’t recall whether it was that same Christmas or a subsequent one that I opened another gift from Liz: handmade pottery mugs and bowls. I was overjoyed. But a week later, putting them into my kitchen cabinet in my Boston apartment, I dropped not one but a couple and they shattered. I was devastated. The next time I moved, I packed the precious gifts away carefully and never unpacked them, fearing the same thing would happen.
Years later, I finally trusted myself to not only have Liz’s pottery in my kitchen, but to actually use it. In July, when I packed my car for my six months in North Carolina, one of Liz’s mugs was with me.
Now, I’m at a place where everyone appreciates handmade things. I drink my morning tea out of Liz’s mug and numerous times people have asked if I made it.
“No, my sister did,” I say. The other day I added, “And it’s the sister I never got along with – so it’s even more special!” That morning I took this picture of Liz’s mug with my teabag in it, for all of you to admire:)
Today I’m thankful for all the gifts I’ve been given – and happy that both Liz and I have grown up and no longer make our gifts with popsicle sticks:)