After graduating from college, the dear friend–who premiered in my life as the college roommate–and I met for breakfast at the same restaurant every Thursday for about six years. Obviously, this can no longer be the case.
But today the dear friend and her mister flew into Baltimore, and the husband and I, with the help of our new GPS* unit, picked them up at the airport and went for Thursday breakfast just like it was the old days. And then we all strolled around Baltimore, went shopping, and had lunch because this is the new days.
When we got home from our B-more adventure, a box was waiting for me on the front porch. The little sister drew my name in this year’s sibling gift exchange and had told me to expect a hair dryer box not containing a hair dryer a few days after Christmas.
The little sister is a remarkably thoughtful gift giver. She is also a stylist, something I am always proud to tell people when talking about my family and something that accounts for the hair dryer box at her disposal. Inside this box with its bold Italian labels proclaiming the superiority (which I don’t doubt) of its original inhabitant was an array of cosmetic treasures that I cannot wait to use. She also included a necklace ‘because it didn’t seem right without something pretty.’
Me: Thank you for the great goodies!
The little sister: You’re welcome! And I hope you don’t mind the necklace. It seemed incomplete without something pretty to open.
Me: I love it. I don’t have anything like it and it’s not in the picture because I’m wearing it.
The little sister: Oh good! I saw it and thought of you. I got it at Target because I know you know how to get to the one near you and home again, just in case.
Me: Ahh, a doubly thoughtful gift. Oh! I also like the candy canes, which tumbled out of the box in a merry display of enthusiastic Christmas cheer.
The little sister: The mom added those.
This is the second time this Christmas that someone has offered a gift with the explanation, ‘I saw this and thought of you,’ and I don’t think there’s a more humbling or thoughtful thing to say to someone else.
On Christmas morning as the husband, his brothers, and I exchanged sibling gifts, the mother in law tucked a small square box next to me, bearing a tag that read from the mother in law and offering the excuse, ‘I saw this and thought of you.’
The strips inside the ornament are lines from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a favorite, and whether it was the content or the concept of the ornament that made the mother in law think of me, I don’t know. I repacked the ornament as carefully as I had unpacked it and it’s now hanging in the shoebox, helping to extend Christmas until I’m darn good and ready to pack everything up.
Tonight, unable to eat out or partake of holiday food any longer, the husband and I went grocery shopping. In the old days, there was red velvet cake. But this is the new days, and in DC, the red velvet cake comes with a fork. If that’s not customer service, I don’t know what is.
* For Christmas the husband and I received a GPS unit with all the trappings from the parents in law. It has proven a valuable addition to our navigational well-being.