Hawaii was a long-desired vacation destination of my parents. My memory is somewhat faded, like looking through frosted glass as I scroll back to the age of twelve. They returned from the islands excited to share their adventures and bearing gifts for me. I remember my excitement waiting for something I’d love and wondering what it might be. When they presented me with a hand-woven hat made from palm fronds, my apathetic response was apparent.
Then they handed me a ukulele. Enthusiasm elevated as my dad, a former banjo player, demonstrated how to hold the ukulele, and I efforted to finger the chords of Aloha Oe, printed on the enclosed leaflet. The novelty of the ukulele and the time with my dad is a treasured memory. A few years later, the stringless ukulele lay atop a box of discards in the garage.
What triggers the recall of these random thoughts? At age twelve, I wanted to know, “What’s in it for me,” instead of seeing the gift as an extension of my parent’s love and kindness. Regret sat heavily on my heart for a moment contemplating my lack of awareness. Then I remembered that in my late teens they traveled to Switzerland. This time on their return they brought me a beautiful music box that played two of my favorite melodies. Overjoyed, I gushed with gratitude, more aware of their efforts. Every so often, I open the music box and play those two songs with renewed appreciation of their love and kindness.
Thinking of them with love this Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.