Did you ever get a gift from a beloved friend that you sensed you’d never use, but kept it anyway? Did you ever put this item away somewhere, only to discover it years later and understand that you were meant to have it all along?
Mayim and I met while in college at a Hillel conference in Chicago. I attended school at the University of Florida while she attended UCLA. I invited her to speak at the University of Florida and we became fast friends. We’ve never lived on the same coast, but we’ve taken a few trips together over the years and see each other whenever our travels coincide.
Nearly five years ago, Mayim was speaking at a Federation event in Orlando, which provided the opportunity for our children to finally meet. Mayim had recently been at some gifting suite for work and generously brought me some of the items she thought I might like: a shirt, some lip balm, some fun jewelry, and a pair of rain boots. The shirt wasn’t really my style, so I gave it to a friend. I used the lip balm, and the jewelry makes occasional appearances, but the black and white, funky-looking boots (as adorable as they were) never made their way out of my closet.
When I’d open my closet and see them, I’d think of Mayim and smile. I’d imagine some time in the future that I’d put on a cute raincoat with a matching umbrella and bounce around in my cute little rain boots. I never did get around to wearing them. I was so busy with my boys that looking cute when it was raining never seemed to be a priority.
While the boots collected dust in my closet, a lot of things changed: We had another baby – this time a girl – and bought a new house. While packing for the move, I donated a lot of shoes, but couldn’t seem to part with the boots, even though I had never worn them. They reminded me of Mayim and the thought of getting rid of them made me feel disappointed in myself. How could I have never taken the time to put on these adorable boots when it was raining? It rains almost every single day in Florida over the summer. Was I too stuck in a rut to have fun in the rain? They made the move with us to our new home.
Sometime after our daughter Billie turned two, she discovered the television show Peppa Pig, about a little British pig who spends her days jumping in muddy puddles. Besides my daughter picking up a few British phrases (which delighted me to no end) she would watch the weather outside and ask to jump in puddles after every rainstorm. After a few such adventures, we decided to spare her Stride Rite sneakers, and invest in some rain boots. She loved them! She wore them around the house, and asked to sleep in them (which I may have allowed.) The first time it rained after the purchase of the boots, she begged to go outside. She jumped like a champ, and knew which driveways on our street produced the best puddles.
A few weeks later I was getting dressed and she was hanging out with me in my closet.
“Mommy! You have boots!” she exclaimed and she pulled the boots out from the back of my closet. “You put them on now?”
I explained that I couldn’t wear them that day, but I promised to wear them the next time it rained. And I did. We jumped in puddles together. I took her picture with my phone and then she asked to take mine. Every time it rains now, she gets her boots and mine and we jump together.
I never dreamed, when Mayim gifted me those boots years ago, that I would be jumping in puddles with a daughter one day. Without realizing it, she gave me the gift of incredible memories that will be with me always. There are a lot of books about streamlining clutter and simple living. I get that, and could definitely use a bit of that in my life, but when you have an item that tugs at you for some reason to keep around, I say keep it. You never know when it might come in handy. Tuck it away and save it for a rainy day. You might be glad you did…I certainly am.