Dear Gift-Giving and Gift-Receiving Readers,

People give gifts in numerous ways… through a compliment, a lovely note, wisdom, small tokens, extravagant gifts, their presence, a hug, a massage, a kiss. For some, it may be simply putting the toilet seat down, babysitting the kids, borrowing an outfit, or emptying the dishwasher. How about receiving a special phone call? Many ways to give and many ways to receive.

Sometimes you are not aware that people are giving gifts. You are too busy. But as I become more aware, I observe things more keenly and sweetly.

And today, I decided to observe the gifts from my dad. My dad, Ken, is a true audiophile. You hardly walk in his home without the stereo blaring zydeco, jazz, funk, hard rock, etc. You name it, and he has it. Growing up, my dad had an extensive album collection that he kept in an armoire. Friends came over, and they were amazed at his collection. They were stunned at his stereo equipment. The speakers alone were huge columns that almost touched the ceiling. Thankfully, they invented something smaller, for my mom’s sake.

The music gene has embodied me that I hardly drive or work or bathe without music. Since the love of music carries over into every crevice of my being, concert venues are a must, whether it be the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Music Festival, Tipitina’s, Humphreys by the Bay, etc.

My dad taught us to love travel experiences. We traveled to London, Florida, and California over the years. I remember on one road trip that we stopped at a picnic area. There was a huge snake. My mom screamed, and we all ran back to the car. Memories of road trips. But more importantly, those moments were teaching me to enjoy the moment wherever I am. And traveling is in my blood.

He has taught us to push for excellence in everything we do and to pursue higher education. My love of learning ushered in greatly. I received my masters but law school was not for me. Sorry dad. Just being me.

Ken has taught me to exercise and take vitamins. The summer before my wedding, my little sister, Lauren and I were jogging on the treadmill. My dad ran in the gym and yelled, “Girls, the grocery store freezer broke and all the ice-cream is melting. They said to take it all.” Well, we had our priorities right. We jumped off the treadmill and grabbed 100 pints of Ben & Jerry Ice Cream. We stocked the freezer that day.

There is so much more that my dad has taught me but music, dancing, travel, learning, excellence, exercise, vitamins seem to stand out as the high points. Decorating was another gift.

What gifts have you received?
What gifts have you given?
What gifts have you received from your dad?

This may be easy for some people that have or had a close relationship with their dad. But what if you didn’t have a close relationship with you dad, I encourage you to dig deep. There is a precious gift that he wants to give you now. Pay attention with an open heart. Contemplate and let that gift be received today. Maybe, it’s forgiveness for not being available or not being the father you wanted. But receive the gift that he wants to give you today. May you receive it with compassion and kindness.

As I become more aware, I observe things more keenly and sweetly. My gift to you is to become more aware and observe things more keenly and sweetly.

Keenly and Sweetly,