Yesterday we put a call out for stories about amazing gifts that weren't things -- the kinds of gifts you can't wrap with a ribbon or put under a tree. We've already received a few very interesting and touching responses.
The first story comes from Re-nest reader Emily:
My best gift ever actually started with an idea and a "thing." For as long as I can remember, family holidays have included stories (as most do) about where our family came from. My mother's parents kept close tabs on their heritage -- including family bibles, my great-grandmother's scrapbooks from the 19teens and 20s, etc etc. Last Christmas I requested 2 things for Christmas: a scanner, and Reunion 9. I dove headfirst into my grandparent's 4 lines and over the past year have uncovered our heritage going back over several hundred years.
For most of my life I've felt slightly untethered -- my father (now retired) was in the military and we moved a lot until he and my mother divorced and then I was splitting time ... it's not an uncommon story at all. This research -- plus the new photos that my mother's siblings are sharing for me to digitize and the stories they're jogging in my grandfather's memory are treasures. Eventually I might even branch out into DNA research and I hear that leads to discovering new, living, family members. And what could be better than that?
Sentimental and Sappy? Probably. But fascinating just the same.
Our second story comes from Darcy:
My family had a rule growing up: parents paid for half of college, the student paid for half of college. Due to a financial aid hiccup, that "half of college" my mother was to pay got devoured in one term. I stuck it out for a few more years, and then fell into Corporate America, while all my friends went on to get their degrees, paid for care of Mom and Dad.
Then, I hook up with my current boyfriend, who has both a B.A. and a M.A. He gets laid off, we relocate to another state after he gets a job offer--and he turns to me and says "And now you're going back to school." And proceeds to help me get admitted to the state U and pay for me to go back to school.
A completion of my secondary education is something I have wanted for years, and the fact that he is helping me get it (I'm in my third term now) is the best thing /anyone/ has ever given me.
(Thanks to Emily for the image!)