The Best Gift I’ve Ever Given

My dad is just about the sweetest man out there. I was reminded of this when I got home from work late after a long day today and a package was waiting for me at the door. I didn’t order anything so it was immediately unexpected. 
Come to find out, he had seen my post a couple weeks back about statement necklaces and took note of the Hyla Dewitt necklace I loved. There wasn’t a special occasion. He just knew I had been facing major decisions recently and needed the love. Normally it is my equally sweet mother who surprises me with a goodie here and there, so to receive such a thoughtful, personalized gift from my dad was so special I would be lying if I said it didn’t bring a tear to my eye. 
Because he continuously does so much for me and never thinks of himself or his needs/wants, it has always been so hard to think of meaningful, useful gifts. That is, until, I found the perfect idea on Pinterest and executed it my sophomore year of college just in time for his 60th. 
I reached out to about 75 of my father’s closest acquaintances. He knows just about everyone in the state of North Carolina so it was surprisingly hard to narrow his friends down to a small number of a mere 75. I asked each of these friends to write a personal, hand written note addressing a story, a character trait, or something of the like that they remember my dad with. Afterwards, I asked each of them to mail it to me. 
I collected a number of responses, even from those I never reached out to. They simply heard the idea and jumped on the bandwagon knowing how much my dad meant to me and how much this would mean to him. 
After I collected all the letters (and, of course, read each and every one) I set them each into their own individual vanilla envelope and labeled them. Some letters were sappy (mine), some were hilarious (his fraternity brothers), some were inspirational (his business partner), and some were a blast from the past (an elementary school teacher). I tried to organize the letters so that there weren’t a clump of heavy reading nor a clump of laughter but an even spread of stories, resembling every day life and it’s ups and downs. 
He loved it. There are very few times I have seen a tear in my father’s eyes but this was one of them. I am so grateful for the idea and even more excited I was able to execute it. Well…I say I was able to execute it, but really it was him and each of the hundreds to thousands of people he has touched that was able to pull this off. I strive to make a portion of the difference on the community, and in the world, that he has someday. 
Before I start to tear up again about how lucky I am to have such role model parents and how much their friendship means to me, I am going to sign off. But I will say, if this has you inspired, DO IT you won’t regret it. 
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

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