Over sixteen years ago, one of my husband’s buddies gave us a wedding gift. It was a cream colored quilted blanket with a fringe, the kind you drape over your couch and grab to keep your toes warm on a winter night. I was impressed by the gift, but he laughed and said his mom helped him pick it out.
I proudly displayed that blanket when we were setting up our new home in a little apartment near our college campus. It sat on the back of our couch for a few years, until we acquired some cats. I thought that three playful kittens might pull at the fringe and unravel our special blanket, so I folded it and put it in storage.
I came across the blanket again when we moved from Texas to California. I didn’t take it out of its box because by then we had a grown cat who liked to claw things, two dogs that shed, and a toddler that really didn’t care if something held sentimental value to me or not.
A little while ago, when my boys were three and four, I got up the courage to bring that special blanket out of storage and into our living room. I draped it over the back of a comfy chair, ready to enjoy it again despite threats to its well being from the pets and the kids.
Although I was planning on using the blanket as cozy decor, my kids had other ideas. They draped it across their forts to make a door. They asked to be rolled up in it like a hot dog. My youngest would invite me to cuddle under the blanket and watch a cartoon. Sometimes, he’d spread it out in a big rectangle on the floor and make a pretend snow angel.
And do you know what? It’s looking a bit worse for the wear. The fringe is unraveling a bit, just as I feared. Random strings are loose. It’s often covered in dog hair. It’s not quite as cream-colored as when we received it.
I’m surprised to find that none of this bothers me. In fact, this blanket’s sentimental value has only increased as the boys have used it to make new memories. Gifts are meant to be enjoyed, and I’m so glad that I let go of my need for perfection and embraced the pleasure of enjoying something now, in all of our current messiness.
Do you have a special gift you’ve been saving? A dress you worry will get stained the first time you wear it? A scented candle you’re saving for a special occasion? The china your grandma gave you that you never use for fear of chipping it? Wear it! Burn it! Use it! Otherwise the gift is hidden away and blessing no one. You have permission to treat any occasion as a special occasion. And may these small luxuries bring you the kind of joy that’s contagious to all those around you!
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