|The best gift!!!|
Can i be frank with you? I mean very very frank with you? Heirlooms, gifts and memories are mostly a pain. A big pain. You might be wondering why such an extreme and insensitive feeling about those precious important stuff. But to me, they have almost always been nothing but a pain.
Don't take me wrong, i value a beautiful unique piece that i loved and were given from someone special. But Those are very rare and very unique. Other than those very unique occasions, rest of the heirlooms i have received were a pain. No matter what the heirloom is, it could truly become a pain. I am not a jewelery person and being a minimalist in my heart, i am not a big fan of stuff either. But i still know how to value a true heirloom.
We live in a time of abundance and digital memories. Everybody has hundreds maybe thousands of photos. Our houses are packed with stuff and mostly junk. The last thing we need is more stuff. In my opinion, as far as memories go, a photo will do it.
For me, they are two kinds of heirlooms though.
The kind that is very special to the person who is giving them and wants to give that gift to someone he, or she loves. Those are valuable unique loving heirlooms that need to be cherished and valued. Those are the gifts that the person will never, ever ask about and once they are given, they are yours to do whatever you want with them. You can sell them during difficulties, you can keep them forever and think about the loving person who gave them to you and you can pass them farther as a gift to your own loved one. They are given only once. The person is not going around buying stuff and giving them to you and calling them heirlooms.
This would be the gift i received from my lovely Mother In Law. She gave me her own precious necklace. Her own very valuable, unique, beautiful Platinum and Brilliant necklace. The necklace she loved, used and cherished for many years. The necklace she wished for and hoped for and longed for over the years and have been very dear to her. But once she gave it to me, she has never ever asked about it. She said "You are young and it is your turn to enjoy it. Do what ever you want with it. It is yours". This is something i kept lovingly in the Bank and hope to wear it on very special occasions. I thought about modifying it and use the beautiful unique Brilliant (Diamond with a special cut) to make a very nice ring for myself. A contemporary ring that will match my taste and will be just the way i like it. A ring i will actually use. But still hadn't decided yet. For now, it is loved and cherished just the way it is and is valued, because someone that i love, loved me so much that she was willing to let her precious necklace go and wanted me to have it.
The pain Heirloom.
A pain would be a gift that is not given to you because you are loved. It is given to you either because it is the tradition, or it is an obligation, or the purpose is for the giver to make sure you remember him or her and it is all about the giver, not the receiver. Lets call them Pain Heirlooms, shall we? Those kinds of pain heirlooms could be from a friend or relative or even close family. Something that they just give you to remember them. But it is nothing about you and it is all about them. It could be a vase, clothes, even some jewelery. They are usually not special to the person and have no emotional value. Sometimes they do have emotional values and the giver regrets giving them to you and is constantly monitoring them. The monitored gifts are a leash. A pain. The giver keeps asking about them and wants to make sure you Never, Ever forget that THEY gave them to you. Do you see what i mean? They are not for you. It is not about the gift, or about you. It is all about the giver.
This kind would be many gifts i have received through out the years and have been a pain. One example of these kinds of gifts is some jewelery that i have received on a special occasion from someone pretty close to me, but the giver keeps asking about them. She even got upset once because she never saw me wearing them and said to my daughter "You know what? your mom is not worthy of MY jewelery. From now on, they are yours." My poor daughter was confused about what is happening. As you can see, this had nothing to do with making me happy. It was all about that person trying and hoping to show off her kindness. Would i ever dare to think to do something with those jewelery? Only if i am planning to have a very bitter relationship with that person. If i ever thought about modifying them, she would never ever forgive me touching HER jewelery. This type of gift makes you feel like you are just the temporary safe keeper and not the new owner.
Another similar gift was a vase i have received many years ago. I was told it is hundred years old and is very valuable. I received it in a different country and i had to carry it in my arms during a very long flight and Plane change. I had to even carry it to the bathroom with me to make sure it is not going to break. I had this guilt that it was valued by the giver and i really have to take care of it. it was not my style at all and in my opinion, it was very ugly too. But i kept it mainly for the guilt, love and the respect i had for the giver. During these years, we moved many times and this one gift has always been a big source of stress for me. The last time we moved (Two weeks ago. More on that later :)), i could not find anywhere safe for it. We downsized drastically and moving to a 1000 sq from a 3800 sq is not an easy task. So I finally decided to sell it in an antique shop and use the money to buy something small. Something unique to keep and always think about that person when i see that small heirloom. I decided to create my own smaller and more manageable heirloom from her gift. So with a painful and guilty heart thinking how special this piece have been to that person, i looked for an antique shop. I thought someone else can take care of it better than i do. I felt like i owed it to the giver and it was my duty to take care of her valuable vase. It took me a while to find one. I made an appointment and went in there to see the owner. Here is how it went.
"Who gave this to you?"Asked the owner, looking at it with her magnifying glass.
" So and so... gave it to me. She said it is very old and very very valuable. I have been carrying it around in the airplane. I also held it in my arms every time we moved. But i am so scared to break it and not be able to take care of it too good" I said feeling ashamed of myself for trying to sell it..
She lifted her eyes and looked at me kindly and smiled. Then she said. "Do you see it says Oven Safe? Do you see these corners? Do you see the bottom of it?"
I nodded my head each time looking carefully at the vase trying to see what she sees.
"Well. This piece is NOT old nor valuable. It is a very inexpensive and cheaply made piece. It has been bought within last several years. My advise to you would be, either gift it, or there is a goodwill close by if you want to donate it." She said.
First thing i felt was relief. Relief from this guilt i carried with me along with this vase all this time. I was happy. I could finally get rid of that ugly vase not feeling guilty that it was something super special to the giver. The burden of the responsibility i felt all this time was lifted. But then remembering how hard it was to carry it in my arms all this time worrying about the special value and meaning it had to that person made me upset. Now it does not matter if it was valuable or not. But the bottom line is, it has become a pain to me and it didn't add to the value of my life emotionally. It made me so upset that first thing i did was placing it in the goodwill bag to go out and then turning on my computer to write this post.
Now you know how some heirlooms are meaningless and just are a pain? I am not going to do that to my kids. I am not going to give them stuff and make them feel guilty for not loving it. I am going to set them free. I am going to set myself free as well and am going to keep only the heirlooms that feel very special to me. Not the ones that are given to me just because. I am going to let myself free and let everything go. I am going to live for myself and not for others.
Do you have a heirloom or pain gift that you are keeping it only due to guilt?