On the Side: Priceless Gifts
It was March when Stephen and I first found out that, in the final months of her battle with cancer, my mother had the presence of mind to buy us wedding gifts, entrusting their safety to my father until the time was right to give them to us. When we decided to wait until after our August wedding to open them, I didn't think I'd have the willpower to leave them, untouched, for five months. It was difficult to stay detached from what would probably be my last tangible connection with my mother, but I'm so glad I fought the temptation and remained patient. The moment we opened her gifts was priceless.
Inside the two boxes my father had been holding onto since 2002 were the pieces to an absolutely stunning flatware set. My mother always believed that owning a complete set of flatware was essential because it facilitated family gatherings and meals with the people who mattered the most. She knew that food tastes best when prepared for and shared with loved ones.
(That's why our family didn't give her too much grief when she'd make tuna casserole for dinner... Three nights in a row.)
Not only did my mother buy us the flatware, but she also bought us a gorgeous wooden storage case lined in royal blue so we'd have somewhere to keep the pieces when they weren't being used. She gave the case and a set of three stackable cake plates (not pictured) to my aunt for safekeeping until Stephen and I got married, a surprise revealed to us the weekend of the wedding.
We were completely overwhelmed.
It wasn't until after we returned from our honeymoon and started unpacking all of the wedding gifts that I found my mother's final surprise -- a plate to attach to the flatware storage case with the following engraved message:
Many Happy Years
Mom really did think of everything.
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