Ten of The Most Memorable Gifts I Ever Received

Originally, I wanted to post about the lovely box filled with snacks and gifts I received for Christmas at day activities earlier this week. It’s a tradition here that employers give their employees such a box for Christmas. Of course, day activities isn’t a real job, but we get a Christmas box anyway. Ours was even more special, since it had been partly personalized for each of us by our staff. Maybe I could devote a post to this box, but then I remembered that Finish the Sentence Friday is about gifts too. I am twisting the prompt a little and not just writing about the gifts I received as a child or for Christmas specifically. After all, like I may’ve said before, Christmas isn’t as important a gift-giving celebration as St. Nicholas on December 5. Besides, I don’t always remember which gifts I got for St. Nick and which for my birthday. For this reason, I’m creating a list of the most memorable gifts I received throughout my life.

1. Wally, the stuffed whale. I got her when I came home from the NICU at three months of age. I slept with her till I was nineteen. Yes, I slept with stuffed animals that long! In fact, I still do. Now I don’t sleep with Wally anymore, but I still own her.

2. Roza, my favorite doll. No, Rosa isn’t spelled with a z in Dutch, but I had no idea. I got her from my paternal grandma for my third birthday. She had bought her in Berlin and we joked about the German word for “doll”, which is similar to the Dutch word for “poop”. Roza remained my favorite doll throughout childhood. When I was seven, I was interviewed for a Dutch magazine for blind children and said that my memory from three years back was tha tit was the year after getting my favorite doll.

3. A Barbie doll I got for my eleventh birthday. The reason this one is so memorable is the fact that my mother regretted giving it to me. She felt it wasn’t “age-appropriate” and I might need to go residential at the school for the blind if I didn’t catch up with my age peers socially and emotionally. I need a separate post to explain the (lack of) logic behind this reasoning.

4. Deodorant. I got this for my fourteenth birthday from my sister. No, not in a package that had other toiletries in it. Just a deodorant stick. She clearly wanted to send me a message. I didn’t get it.

5. A coffee maker. I got it for St. Nicholas when I was 20. I was going to live independently the next year and needed a coffee maker then. My husband is happy he didn’t drink coffee when I still had the apartment I used that coffee maker in, as it quickly got very moldy and dirty from lack of cleaning, as did the rest of the apartment.

6. A Planxty CD. This was the gift my husband gave me for the first birthday after we’d started dating in 2008. I only played it when my husband was there, as I really didn’t like it. Then again, he didn’t like my first gift for him, which was a book of previously unpublished philosophical works.

7. A liquorice “cake”. My husband and I got it for our wedding from my staff at the psychiatric resocialization ward in 2011.

8. The sensory cat soft toy I got for my birthday last year. It can be put in the microwave and then gives off heat and a lovely lavender scent.

9. Rainbow/Sofie, the stuffed unicorn I got from my previous day activities when I left there. She’s truly so cool! She has two names, because two readers of my blog each came up with an equally good one.

10. A weighted unicorn soft toy. Finally, I have to include something from this year’s Christmas box. It is, interestingly, another stuffed unicorn. This one is weighted as to provide sensory benefits. I’m having another contest to name her, like I did with Rainbow/Sofie.

What gifts will you always remember having received?

Saying Goodbye at Day Activities

Today was my last day at my now old day activities. It was a good day. My assigned support worker wasn’t on my group today but she was in the building. Yesterday already, another support worker I like came for a cup of coffee on her day off so she could still say goodbye to me, as she doesn’t work Fridays either.

First, I had a cup of hot chocolate. I usually drink coffee but wanted a treat. Don’t tell me it’s summer and hot chocolate isn’t a summer drink, because I just loved the sweetness. Then, like most mornings, I went for a walk with one of the staff. It was lovely walking by the river.

As the other clients arrived, we had coffee and fruit. The people on my group are all profoundly intellectually disabled, so they probably don’t understand that I’m leaving. As such, I didn’t make a big deal out of it at my group.

I had decided to go make ham and cheese sandwiches at the group my assigned support worker worked at today. They make ham and cheese sandwiches each Friday and I’ve participated a few times before. First, however, I gave each of the staff at day activities a tiny handmade soap that’s shaped like an apple.

When we were making the sandwiches, the people from the industrial group that I originally started day activities at, came over. They handed me a card and a Winnie the Pooh coloring page that a woman I’m close with had colored. Unlike the people at my group, they and particularly this woman did understand that I was leaving.

Then, they gave me some gifts the staff had bought for me. I got a smoothie cup with a straw, because I love making smoothies and milkshakes. I also got a lovely unicorn soft toy. It is white with a lilac tail and rainbow-colored hair. I sleep with like six stuffed animals in my bed and have two more in my favorite chair in the living room. Now the unicorn has joined those two. I challenge my readers to think up a name for her.

Lastly, I got a lovely set of body care products. They are a body scrub, a body butter and body mist. I have a huge collection of body care products already, but these truly smell awesome!

Leave-taking is bittersweet, but I truly hope to have a good time at my new day activities and to not have to say goodbye there within at least a couple years.