Happy Wednesday, everyone! This week seems to be flying by – anyone else agree? I’m welcoming it! In any case, today’s post is another prompt I snagged from my daily journal that I wanted to bring here. Like usual, this one really got me thinking and I love anything that makes me think beyond surface level thoughts – you know, really digging deep and maybe asking yourself more questions. So let’s hop right to it with the best presents I’ve ever gotten…
The Best Presents I’ve Ever Gotten
Before Dane left for Afghanistan, my childhood Labrador, Maddie, passed away. It was gut-wrenching in a way I still struggle to put into words, because she had been such a loving companion for so many years. I remember the first day we brought her home and so many different life milestones in between. Suffice it to say — losing her really knocked the wind out of me. While Dane was gone, I got an email one day with a photo attached from him. He wasn’t in the habit of sending a ton of photos, so I was a little bit confused. Turns out, he had spoken with a Labrador breeder here in Hawaii and reserved a black Lab puppy for us! I was over-the-moon ecstatic and between missing Maddie and missing him, I burst into tears.
Fast forward 6 months, that breeder ended up not working out. I was really heartbroken, because we had waited and waited for a puppy to become available. But – there is a silver lining in every story, which is why we are the proud parents of a chocolate Lab named Judy. You can read all the details of that story here, but she is one of my life’s greatest joys! The photo below was taken at the airport the day we picked her up…ALL THE HEART EYE EMOJIS!
Growing up, my parents always hosted the family for a big Christmas breakfast and I still have so many fond memories of eating delicious breakfast and brunch foods while all of us wore pajamas. It’s a fun tradition I hope to continue one day, but anyway – one year (this one to be exact!) I distinctly remember getting a gift from my cousins that they had read about ON MY BLOG! I had only been blogging a very short amount of time and I just thought it was so cool they had taken the time to read a post I wrote and gifted me something that was on my wish list. I think I’ll always remember it because it was the first time I can remember thinking to myself “WOW, I THINK PEOPLE READ MY BLOG!” LOL (I don’t think the clutch is available anymore, but the bag is here!)
Probably one of my absolute favorite gifts was the year Dane came home from a deployment right before Christmas. I knew he was coming, but we kept it a secret from both of our parents. So as much as it was a true gift for me to have him home, I loved seeing our families so overjoyed. I picked him up at the airport and we surprised our families one by one at home and work. It was nothing short of magical.
Love you to the moon and back @dmhanso! Best Christmas present ever! #homecoming #love
Surprising each of @dmhanso’s family members #homecoming #deployment
Okay I promise, last video, but had to share @dmhanso surprising my parents @traceycalhoun & @joecalhoun #homecoming #love
Okay, I was not prepared for how emotional re-watching those videos was going to make me! Seriously — I fall into a puddle of tears every time. It was such a special day for our family and re-living it here…whew! I did a full post when he came home with a few more photos that you can read here.
When I turned 16, it was right around the time that “My Super Sweet 16” was beginning to take off. Pinterest was not a thing then, so here I was, an idiot teenager with dreams of sparkling ballrooms and catered six-course meals special thanks to MTV. I was delusional at best, but that’s a different story for a different day. In any case, God bless my parents, who threw me an amazing party at a local dance studio they had rented out. There were pink roses everywhere, a special cake and even a DJ. I don’t really remember who was there or what we did, but I just remember thinking how cool it was and also that I LOVED my all-pink-outfit from Aeropostale. I think my parents are saints for this!
It’s hard to pick just one friend who has gifted me something special, but I would be remiss in not mentioning a few that really stand out in my memory: When Dane and I got engaged, my friend Carly sent me a beautiful wedding planning book that was so sweet and thoughtful. When Dane was deployed and I was in the midst of planning a wedding, Stevie gifted me a beautiful Kate Spade bangle that I still wear and love. Whenever Casey travels, she is sure to send a sweet momento from her trip so I’ve got beautiful jewelry from all around the world! Ever since we’ve lived in Hawaii, I always tell Sarah about the trials of not having certain stores and she fulfills all my needs in the form of care packages from Trader Joe’s 🙂
Aside from Carly who was my college roommate, I met all of the above friends on the internet. So honestly – another of my best gifts has been this blog of mine and the beautiful and amazing people I’ve met through it. The internet can be an awful place that is filled with judgement, but it can also be the source of great friendship, support, fellowship and love.
And on that note, I’m going to wrap this up, even though I could probably go on and on. I’m so curious though – what is the best present you’ve ever gotten? Why does it stick out to you?