Friday, 14 June 2013

My top twelve favourite presents

My top twelve favourite presents
14 June 2013

Presents are awesome!  Don't believe anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.  Nobody can resist their allure.  The way they make you feel special, shallow though that may appear.  They have the power to make you feel cherished and valued.  Appreciated and cared for.  I have received very many incredible presents, but a few stand out.  And stand out by far.

  1. When I was pregnant with Cole, I was given an amazing baby shower by my family and friends.  And I was just so very touched.  Having a baby shower is a part of the pregnancy ritual and makes the whole "baby-being-born-soon-thing" seem very real.  At my baby shower I got such awesome goodies for Cole and I.  From baby food, clothes, blankets, wet wipes and disposable nappies to lotions and potions for me.  But nothing ever compared with the brilliance of the gift from my mom.  It was just so unique.  So Maggie-ish and different.  Rather than giving me some more baby paraphernalia, she gave me a R200 gift voucher for kiddies meals at McDonalds.  This was truly inspired.  At the time, Luke was six and Amber was two and a half.  They loved McDonalds and for them it was an awesome treat.  For me too, as it allowed me the luxury of not worrying about cooking a meal for them and furthermore, they felt so special when they got take-aways.  And nearly nine years ago, R200 was a lot of money.  It worked out to sixteen Happy Meals in total, in other words eight joint meal times between the two of them.  It was perfection!  So thoughtful and different and I just loved it!
  2. Us Twisted Sista's have a tradition.  When it is the birthday of someone in the group, we pool money together.  We throw it in a pot and then rather than getting ten Vanilla bubble bath bottles from Woollies, we rather get one big, awesome present.  Usually something you really, really want, but don't end up buying for yourself.  Hinting about what you would like to get is very much allowed.  Perhaps a new pair of boots or a snazzy handbag.  Something you've been lusting after for a while.  And so, one year for my birthday, the Twisted's came up with a rather novel idea.  Rather than spending the loot for my birthday on one present, they pooled the money and the chicks and I went for a horse ride on Noordhoek Beach.  It was so beautiful, it was almost surreal.  Utterly magical and charming and I simply loved every single minute.  So thoughtful and kind, it blew me away.  Could anything be better?  Well, the cake and coffee we went for afterwards, was pretty awesome too.
  3. 3) The first time my sister, Foefie, and her husband did a stint in England, she sent me a random present of a few of the Queen's very own sterling pounds.  It was for no special occasion.  No rhyme or reason.  Simply because she could.  And she knew it would make me feel special and spoilt.  It wasn't for my birthday.  Nor for Xmas either.  If I remember correctly it was about £40, which converted a few years ago, turned into a lot of South African rands.  Such a special treat as it was all for me, with strict instructions to spend it on me and me alone.  Hunting for just the right goodies to buy, was so thrilling and exciting too.  It felt absolutely sinfully selfish to splurge it all on me.  Such fun!  And then funny enough a very, very dear and good friend of mine who lives in Switzerland, once also gave me some Swiss Francs with similar instructions.  I had to get some spoil pressies just for me.  I delighted in the challenge of finding just the right things.  So awesome!
  4. One of the last paintings my Dad ever did was so gloriously beautiful, it simply took my breath away.  I loved it with a passion and remember seeing it on his easel and watching it unfurl right in front of me.  But the painting was a gift to an old family friend, Linky.   Almost a commission of sorts.  In exchange for a new duvet set, bought on Linky's Woollies account, my dad would make this painting for her.  And then a few years ago, out of the blue, Linky phoned me up one fine day and told me that she would like me to have this painting.  That she felt it was meant for me, not for her.  And that it would give her greater joy, if she knew that I had it.  I resisted and tried with all of my might to dissuade her, but she wouldn't be moved.  Her mind was made up.  And so, one of my Dad's most magnificent paintings became mine.  My uncle kindly framed it for me and it has pride of place in my study, right above my computer.  And I gaze upon it daily and marvel at its beauty and my good fortune in receiving such an incredible gift.
  5. On my birthday, on the 10th of January 1997, just nine short months after we got married, Grant told me that he would like us to start trying for a baby.  I had been ready for a baby from the second we got married.  It had been my biggest wish simply for ever.  My whole life to be exact.  And so for Grant to deem it do-able and to give his seal of approval was probably my best birthday gift ever.  A dream come true.  I remember floating for the rest of that day.  In fact days thereafter too.  And so auditions for our firstborn child began in all earnestness.  Though to be truthful, we were practically still on honeymoon, and auditions were coming along rather nicely on their own too…..
  6. I absolutely love surprises.  No wait.  Let me qualify.  I love happy surprises.  Good ones.  That bring delight and not despair.  And all of my baby showers as well as my kitchen tea, came as a huge surprise.  I fell for it every single time.  Everyone was so thoughtful and faffed lots.  Such a delicious treat!  One I can highly recommend.  Furthermore, it’s as good an excuse as any to get pregnant again…..
  7. A few years ago, an incredible friend, gifted Grant and I with a trip to Singapore and China.  I know!  How ridiculous is that!  There are simply no words to describe how amazing it was.  I had never, ever travelled anywhere and was a real greenie.  Quite naturally, I took to it immediately and loved every single minute.  It felt a bit like me head was exploding.  How could it not?  Imagine going from the Strand in the Western Cape, to Beijing.  Sure, my head felt like it exploded.  I was barely able to take it all in!
  8. My Grantie has given me many, many awesome, magnificent, gloriously beautiful presents over the years.  He's given me clothes and jewellery (I managed to squeeze him from two engagement rings – hah!).  Things for our home.  Trinkets I rejoice in and special treats just for me.  Three absolutely perfect kids.  Yet, one of the very best gifts he ever gave me, was a roll of double ply toilet paper.  I know it might sound odd, but for reasons I don't particularly want to go into, it reduced me to tears of joy and gratitude as well as an absolute overwhelming outpouring of love for him.  Blindingly hot and pure.  At that moment it meant more to me than even my kids.  Nothing could have made me love him more.  I know – I’m a bit of an oddball at times.  Whenever we talk about it, Grant still shakes his head.  He’s convinced I’m loopy.  Hey, I think he got off lucky.  See how easy I am to please?  Show me another woman who’ll value the same gifts that I do.
  9. I remember turning seven years old and having a birthday party at Cloetenberg.  My grandparents were doing a stint in Durban and we were living in the house at the time.  As a present, one of my friends gave me a huge, big, shiny R1 coin.  I had never felt so rich.  In fact, no matter how much money I have accumulated since that very same day, and even if I added it all together, I would still not be able to emulate that same feeling of wealth.  It was the equivalents of millions in my eyes.  I admired it often and couldn’t believe how enormous it was.  Still it fit perfectly in my hand.
  10. When I was twelve, my grandparents (Dad’s mom and dad), gave me a shiny blue bicycle.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  I remember the exhilarating rush of freedom I experienced, in scooting all over the place.  Unlike my loser of a brother, who had to walk to school, I had me some wheels.  Beat that!  It was huge to me.  We lived in safer times, and hence I was allowed to use my bicycle riding around wherever I wanted to go.  Visiting friends, cycling to school, going to the village (begging to do errands just so that I could go on my bike), etc.  And in terms of freedom, it meant even more than my first set of car wheels.
  11. I don’t think there are enough words to describe my love of Christmas and all things Christmas related.  Some might even call it a bit of an obsession.  I just LOVE it!!!  And so, quite per chance, I happened upon a Jim Shore Heartwood Creek Father Christmas statue.  The detail is magnificent.  The colours rich.  I love their old-wordly and classic feel.  Their timeless beauty.  Grant immediately understood how I felt.  I think my face gave it away.  And so, I acquired my first one.  A beauty of note.  And subsequently, my collection has grown rather rapidly.  Sadly they are rather pricey, and so I have become adept at find them at knock-off bargain prices with the help of, amongst others, my aunt.  They beautify my home and are proudly displayed, all year long.  They cheer me up and though inanimate, they bring me joy, with whispers of Christmas’s past and future.
  12. In November 2003, I remember feeling ever so slightly off.  Like something was just out of kilter.  I was unbearably tired, and would nod off all the time.  My body didn’t quite feel like it belonged to me.  Eventually, on Grant’s urging, I went off to the doctor, and explained to him how I was feeling.  He asked me if there was any chance that I could be pregnant.  I laughed in his face.  We certainly weren’t trying to fall pregnant.  Grant had decreed long ago that our family was complete at two children.  Amber was not even two yet, and we had to resort to fertility treatment to fall pregnant with her.  Still he insisted on doing a pregnancy test, and I recall feeling ridiculously nervous, yet hopeful at the same time, whilst I was waiting with his assistant in the bathroom, as she was doing the test.  And when those magical little lines appeared on the pregnancy test, announcing that I was indeed with child, I gave a giddy little laugh and jumped up and down and squeezed her so tight.  My dream had come true – a third baby was on the way!!!  And then just to make super sure, I went for a blood test too.  Positive too.  Could there be any greater gift, than a much longed for child?  And so we became blessed with our little Cole.  A charming and delightful little boy, who turns nine in just a few sleeps.  The very best gift ever.  Though to be truthful, the surprised delight in Cole’s arrival was twofold.  Because apart from getting my heart’s desire of a third baby, another rather unexpected present was seeing Grant’s face when I told him.  He turned a whiter shade of pale, and immediately phoned my mom and said to her, “You won’t believe what Helene’s gone and done”.  Men!!!  I kept on reminding him that this was definitely not a solo achievement!
I have received so many amazing, incredible, thoughtful gifts.  Kindnesses that have been shown to me.  Letters and special cards.  And they all were precious to me.  Each and every one.  But just perhaps, my top twelve stands out the most.  Thank you one and all for spoiling me so much! 

These gifts all meant so much, because with them, you gifted me a little piece of your heart.  And those sentiments have warmed my heart too.  Thanx!

I never felt quite as rich as when I got that shiny new R1 coin

Horse riding with my Twisted Sista's on Noordhoek Beach - sublime!

Baby Soft Double Ply = True Love

My bike meant freedom and independence - simply loved it!

McDonald's Meal Vouchers were my best baby shower gift

My most magnificent painting in the study

And in some natural light, she is even more beautiful!

I know! Can you friggin believe it! That's little old me on the Great Wall of China - totally surreal! I swore I could smell History that day. It was like a physical presence in the air.

Yeehaaa!!!  Pregnant again!

Some lovely dosh!

I know - I can wax lyrical about the whole two-ply thing.

Aaahhh!!! I particularly love the birdie Father Christmas with the bird houses on his cloak-thingy. Arms stretched out wide. Magnificent!

A few more of my Jim Shore Father Christmas little statues - I adore them! Aren't they just so charming?

1 comment:

  1. STUNNING Foef! Loved it! The best gift by far is your gratitude for the small things in life. And that's why we all LOVE spoiling you! No-one deserves it more. And by the was £80! Wish I could do it for you again. xxxxx