When I learned that her birthday was fast approaching, I had big ideas about what to get her--a diamond, a necklace, some fine perfume. Alas, a fifth grader's money can only go so far. So I turned to my mom for some help. I wanted our "first" birthday together to be special. (Never mind that it would also be our last).
The day slipped up on me. In fact, I had almost forgot that her birthday was the next day. My mom was given the assignment to complete the gift, wrap it and have it ready the next morning...I was headed to bed. The only thing I had purchased at that point was a trendy piece of adornment (okay, it was a leather bracelet with my name engraved signifying that she belonged with me). Whatever mom put with it, would be absolutely fine. I was sure of it.
I awoke the morning of her birthday and found the very nicely wrapped box on the breakfast table. This was going to be an amazing day. Our love for each other would only be cemented more by this show of affection.
I died when she opened the present. Inside the finely wrapped package was the leather bracelet and...a picture of me. Not just any picture of me, mind you. No, because a class photo from the fall or one of my football pics from that season might have been okay. The picture was me from ALL THE WAY BACK when I was 9 years old--bowl haircut and missing tooth included. Brooke laughed. Her friends made fun. I turned 15 shades of red trying to explain that my mom was the gifter of the picture. But that day, I learned a few valuable lessons:
- Your mom's opinion of you is probably far higher than your own. Be careful what you believe about what she tells you--including when you have a bowl haircut and a missing front tooth.
- Don't judge a gift...or a book...or a person by their cover. It truly is what's on the inside that is most important.
- Find someone who loves you for who you are, not the gifts you bring. Brooke and I didn't make it past the next week of school. The gift had been the last straw. But as my dad would rightfully say, "There is always something better."
- Things are never as bad as they seem. I thought my world was over the day Brooke dropped the bomb. Funny enough, she and I continued to be friends throughout the next two years. I don't know where Brooke's life has taken her but I can tell you that God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve when it comes to the lady that receives my gifts. I don't buy Lisa leather bracelets and, as far as I know, she's never seen a picture of me with missing teeth. But she has seen all the ugly parts of me--including my gift-giving challenges--and she loves me anyway. Life is good. Life in God's will is much, much better.