46: A Little Something for Rob

46: A Little Something for Rob

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

A Little Something for Rob

It isn’t the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it.

~Eileen Elias Freeman, The Angels’ Little Instruction Book

Just a few days before my daughter’s wedding, I realized that I wanted to give her a keepsake — something from me to her to commemorate the day. We had planned to spend some time alone together the afternoon before the wedding; that outing would be the perfect occasion to present Elaine with a sentimental gift from her mom.

I found and bought an inlaid wooden music box that played “Edelweiss.” The box was stained celadon green. An intricate floral design, fashioned from bits cut from different species of wood, graced its top. Elaine and Rob were both musicians; in fact, they’d met in high school band, thirteen years earlier. Elaine’s favorite color was green. The box played the same song I’d sung as her lullaby, all those years ago. It was just right.

It dawned on me when I awoke the morning before the wedding that we should choose a little something for Rob. I wanted to give him a token to welcome him to the family. So my husband Rich and I decided to seek an appropriate gift. I was a bit apprehensive about choosing something he would enjoy. And only a few hours remained before my date with my daughter, the bride.

We skipped the leisurely breakfast we’d planned to create time to shop. We drove to a local museum and stormed its gift shop. After considering and rejecting several options, I found myself drawn to a basket of — rocks. The shop where we searched offered a selection of small stones engraved with inspirational words.

Browsing through the pebbles, I kept picking up a rock inscribed with the word “Joy.” I would set it down to look at the other choices, but that small “Joy” stone made its way into my hand at least six or seven times.

“Rich,” I said, “what do you think of this?” I held up the pebble, and my husband examined it. His raised eyebrow told me he wasn’t impressed.

Considering his response, I had to agree. A rock hardly seemed to be the best gift I could dream up for my new son-in-law.

I looked around the shop for other ideas. Nothing appealed to me. I found myself returning to the basket, and once again that Joy pebble called to me. I turned to my husband again. “I think we should buy this. I don’t know why, but it just seems like the right thing.” Rich was accustomed to my sometimes unconventional gift choices. He nodded.

“He can carry it in his pocket tomorrow as a ‘fidget stone,’” I offered.

“Isn’t he wearing his dress uniform?” Rich asked.

“Yes, he is,” I replied, picturing how handsome Rob would look in his U.S. Navy uniform, waiting at the altar for my daughter.

“Those trousers have really tiny pockets,” Rich said.

I glanced at my watch. My daughter expected us in twenty minutes. I bought the rock.

As we raced across town to meet my daughter for our special date, Rich and I joked about the old Peanuts Halloween special, wherein Charlie Brown kept saying, “I got a rock.” I hoped that Rob would understand why we’d given him a rock. I wasn’t sure I understood why we were giving him a rock.

Elaine greeted us at the door, her skin glowing, wearing a serene smile. Her calm countenance reinforced my certainty that she and Rob were meant to be together.

“Mom, are you ready? I have a few last-minute errands I was hoping we could run while we’re out.”

“I just need a minute,” I told her as I hugged her. “Is Rob here? I need to chat with him.”

“I think he might be out back,” Elaine said. I found Rob puttering in the garage and handed him the small gift bag holding the rock.

“This is just a silly little something,” I told him. “It’s kind of goofy, really…”

My voice trailed off as he pulled the tissue from the bag and unwrapped the pebble. He looked at me and blinked. Then he swallowed.

My heart sank. Had I offended him?

“I used to have one of these,” he said quietly, turning the smooth stone over in his hand. “My grandmother gave it to me. Her name was Joy.”

~Sheila Seiler Lagrand

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