I was lying on the bed several different evenings over the span of the holidays with Son #5, recapping gifts that have been both given and received. It’s amazing the impact that a few wrapped items regardless of size or value, can bring to an individual.
But what about those gifts, often taken for granted, that are priceless, never have duplicates, and require consistent investment both on the part of the giver as well as receiver?
Yes, I’m talking about legacy and friendship.
I’ve written here before about my friend Cathy’s love for football. But the love for football has deep roots and connections to a lot of life that has been lived over the years, memories that have been made, jokes that are consistently referenced, and finally…regret-free living. That’s one of life’s best gifts ever, is it not?
You’ve seen this picture several times before.
It represents the last Jamboree in June of 2011 my brother coached.
What hasn’t been highlighted, is the fact that this particular event was an hour away from Newport, and an equal distance from Cathy’s home.
Working full time, having a schedule that reflected that, and a son still in high school; it was a stretch to request that she attend. Tim asked her to be there.
And she almost said no. But have I mentioned how much she loves football?
As you well know by now, I’m there for two things: the cheerleaders and half-time show.
Tim rode the bus, and my mom and I, who were visiting Seattle at the time, road with Cathy.
She watched each play fervently, texting my brother on the field regularly with her commentary. ( THAT was appreciated…NOT!)
Afterward, Tim rode with us and we stopped for dinner at his favorite place: Red Robin.
They talked players and plays, plans for the season, and ins and outs of football that I shall never get no matter how many years pass by.
It was late when we were finished. We said our goodbyes, hugged one another…and that was it for Cath and Tim.
For in September, Tim was gone.
Over the Christmas holidays, Cathy and her kids visited Southern California. Born and raised here, she returns often, and we have been Disneyland buddies and “family” for over 20 years. Despite the fact that her husband, Dave couldn’t make it at the last minute, she forged ahead, making the drive alone.
But really, there is so much more to it.
Here we are this last trip.
I had received a text that we were going to have “Ugly Sweater Day.”
Something we pulled off rather well, if I do say so myself.
Park goers had some serious commentary about our group.
Our group that had individuals in it, who had driven an hour or more to be a part of said day’s festivities.
At a season of the year when time itself becomes a gift and commitments encroach upon structured schedules in every way; priorities must be chosen.
For most of our now very mature adult lives, we have been investing in traditions.
(Notice the WET in this shot?)
Those traditions have given way to legacy. A legacy of traditions and events that have woven deep and lasting relationships: relationships that can only become this rich and meaningful with time.
While we were discussing the football Jamboree, Cath said to me ( for about the 100th time), “You have no idea how grateful I am that I overlooked convenience and decided to go. Because of one decision, I have no regrets.”
Life is rarely convenient, and relationships are forged through adversity; regardless of how big or small.
I’m so grateful that amongst our friends and family we can offer and build into our children true gifts:
Gifts of lifelong relationship coupled with no regrets.
Here’s to many more in 2014.