I am an awkward gift receiver.

I always think gestures are too grand or I, too undeserving. This is hard enough on the gift giving occasions like Christmas or my birthday, but ask any boy I ever dated; blushing profusely and stammering over a thank you was my M.O. Don’t get me wrong, gifts and surprises were always appreciated, I’ll just admit I was probably a bit two awkward and uncomfortable by the generosity to truly show my gratitude.

As an adult, it was more my ego that took over. I always wanted to be or at least appear to be independent and never want to accept gifts from our parents – things like, “Oh, your daughter needs a winter coat? Let me pick that up for you.” Or, “Your fridge is on its last leg? We can help.” – for fear that I would be perceived as unable to provide for my family.

It wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I realized what these gestures from my parents and in laws really were – acts of love.

As a parent would I do absolutely anything for my child. This doesn’t change when they move out of house and even start family of their own. I can picture helping my daughter with whatever she needs, for as long as she needs it, simply be cause I’m her mother and I love her. It hadn’t occurred to me that my family wasn’t trying to give me a hand out; they were simply being loving parents, helping their children however they could.

Still, despite my new perspective and learning to accept the generosity of family graciously, I was very much concerned with one day being able to pay them back in some way. Not being of the means currently, I found myself often thinking of what gesture would be enough to somehow repay our parents for all the kindness and love they’ve extended over the years.

Not until I began blogging for this site did I realize there was an alternative to paying it back – paying it forward. Showing gratitude by extending a kindness to someone else, rather than always having to adhere to a tit-for-tat.

A few days ago I received an anonymous gift from a stranger. It meant more to me than I could ever express. Being that I didn’t know who the gift had come from, there was no way to pay them back, or even properly thank them (except if you’re reading this now!) So instead of focusing on how I could ever repay our parents back, I’ll begin now, attempting to pay forward all of the kindness and generosity that’s been shared with me and my family.

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