The gift of giving is passed down through blood lines

Grandmother Mom Daughter


Three Generations: My mom, my daughter Johannah, and me

It occurred to me this morning that both my parents (no longer married) have each sent money/financial gifts to me at various points in my adult life, for things ranging from Teflon coated pans and maternity clothes while in Morocco, to camcorders plus customs tax (no small price back in 1987!), to trips to Kansas City for a conference for the entire (then) 6 person clan, to couches and carpet cleanings. They’ve paid for ski trips when I was in college and new clothes postpartum (five times over!). They use their Nordstrom discounts and their credit cards to buy shoes and dinners, trips on Catalina Express and flights on planes. They’ve loaned me cars and have put my family up in cabins and beach houses.

They’ve sent generous amounts of money at Christmas when Jon and I didn’t know how we’d pay for gifts for the kids. My mom has traveled to France, Morocco, and Ohio to see me/us, and my dad has traveled to Ohio. They’ve given me sentimental jewelry and photos (and photo albums!). They both supported Jon and me financially when we were missionaries, even when they weren’t sure they agreed with the mission. They’ve put us up in their homes, apartments, condos—from just me, on a pull-out couch in college, to the ever-expanding seven of us sprawling throughout the house on couches and in beds, back down to the smaller version of us now.

I didn’t ask for these gifts. They would simply offer, as the circumstance arose. They were quick to send the finances or the tickets or the new skirt, never promising and not following through.

My mom, when I once through tears told her I wondered if I’d ever be able to take my kids to a restaurant or hotel because we were so poor and I couldn’t imagine that ever changing, said, wisely, “You’re just coming into your earning years now. You’ll be amazed at how things change.” It comforted me.

The gifts from my parents were never “bail outs” for mistakes made. They were rooted in generosity for a family on one income with lots of kids. I keep thinking how lucky I am to have had parents who were generous, even when their own finances were tight.

I thought about all these things this morning because all I want to do now is spend money on my adult children any time I hear they have a need. I stopped to consider why I feel that way. Then this long list of reasons spilled out of me.

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