Last week I was helping my dad clean out some clutter and came across a heap of old tablecloths. Most of them had seen better days. They were stained, worn and faded — a testimony to a lifetime of use. But at the bottom of the drawer lay one impeccably folded, immaculate linen.
I remembered this particular tablecloth from my youth: it was Asian in design, fabricated from a fine silky fabric. My dad had given it to my mother as a gift when they were first married.
Although we always dressed the table for dinner, we never used the exquisite blue linen. Too elegant for everyday use, I suppose. So after all this time it remained untouched at the bottom of the stack.
Mom passed away years ago and the fact that she never fully enjoyed her gift made me sad. I promptly unfolded it, smoothed out the creases and put it on the table for display. If it became the victim of a wine stain or fell apart in the laundry, so be it.
I went home and looked at my own stuff and realized that I had unwittingly followed in mom’s footsteps. Expensive perfume was reserved for special nights out, a bar of fine-milled soap was set-aside for houseguests only and that cute sundress I couldn’t live without had been passed over most of the season for a tattered pair of shorts because I was staying in for the evening.
This safeguarding of material possessions was foolish and nonsensical. Gifts — those given to us, or those we buy for ourselves — should be ripped open with a child’s delight and enjoyed to the fullest.
Now I aim to celebrate each and every day. It doesn’t have to be my birthday or some other momentous occasion. I’ll celebrate even if it is a Thursday and the house needs cleaning.
Today is reason enough. So come on, relish the day and bust out the good stuff!
Are you in the habit of hoarding the good stuff and waiting for that special occasion? —Karen