I remember when my dad turned 80 and his children and grandchildren chipped in and bought him a very expensive black leather briefcase, embossed with his three initials. We didn't really think much about it, other than that his old one was tattered and stained. And the handle was fraying badly. My dad, on the other hand, was ecstatic.
"Imagine it," he exclaimed to my mom, "at 80 years of age, they think I am vital enough and capable enough to merit a new briefcase."
And I noticed there was more buoyancy in his step and a more engaging smile on his face.
My dad's been gone four years now, but that memory stays with me. It came to mind when a very large series of boxes was left on my front porch by the UPS man two days ago.
Tipped off my one of our sons that our 40th anniversary present was coming, I realized the large boxes were meant for us. Gleefully, my husband and I immediately pried open the boxes and, lo and behold, four brand new pieces of luggage emerged.
I hadn't really considered that we needed new luggage. I had won some very expensive, life time guaranteed luggage 17 years ago when I was selling insurance -- luggage that had endured quite strikingly well in spite of the pushes and pulls of airline handlers.
"The wheels on your old stuff don't swivel, Mom," one of my son remarked. "And the bags are all so heavy. And the new sets are light weight, with wheels that turn in every direction. And each piece can charge your phone and tell you when your baggage will be at the pick- up turntable."
I was quite impressed. (Of course learning how to program them for use was another whole issue.)
But seriously, the thing that really got to me is that our children gave us a gift that would make traveling easier. My husband and I both have aging mothers who live 1,000 miles away. We both have lively, ever growing grandchildren and three of our five sons living 1,000 miles away in another direction. Getting luggage meant something.
To me, it signified that our visiting them in their own environments was important to my sons and my daughters-in-laws and that they wanted to make our traveling to see them as easy as possible. Their intention -- which put a buoyancy in my step and a smile on my face -- well, that was the best anniversary present of all.
Iris is available to speak on a variety of topics, focusing on self-help, self-improvement and self-empowerment. For more information, contact her at email@example.com
If you want more information about Iris's forthcoming book Tales of a Bulimic Baby Boomer, or to sign up for her weekly newsletter, visit www.irisruthpastor.com or follow her on Twitter @IrisRuthPastor.
You can find more from Iris on LinkedIn.