By Mary Ann O’Neil

This year, for Christmas, I filled a 4-foot stocking for each grandchild with all sorts of dolls and toys, clothing and puzzles. A bit over the top, I agree. (And there were a few disapproving glances from my adult children that I translated to mean: “Really mom? Don’t you think this is excessive?”) But the 12 grandchildren loved it all and it was fun. There was so much excitement, so much noise.  Above all the noise and laughter, several times I heard, “Oh Gram, this is the best gift ever.”

The “…best gift ever”—really?– a Guitar Hero, a Jack Wells vest or an ice cream maker?  These are all fun gifts for sure, but “best gift ever?”

No, you and I know what the best gift ever is.

It isn’t something we can wrap up with a pretty ribbon.

No, the best gift ever is the Gift of Today.

The Gift of Today

When I am given the gift of today, I know I didn’t purchase it, nor did I earn it. It doesn’t commemorate a holiday or birthday. The Gift of Today was just given to me.  There are no strings attached, no demands or expectations.  I have the use of this gift for 24 hours and I can do with it pretty much whatever I want. We all can.  But here’s the thing:   I do not know if I will be given the gift of today tomorrow so I am damn sure I am going to make the best of this gift, today, all day long.

So for me that means:  I am going to start with a healthy breakfast and power walk.  I will sing out loud while I walk to the tunes of everything from Kenny Rogers to Taylor Swift.  I will greet people along the way with a smile, and offer a piece of fruit to Mary, the homeless woman who was also given the Gift of Today.  I will look for humor and will laugh out loud several times.  I will check in with the grandchildren on Instagram and call at least one of my kids on FaceTime.  I will write for hours, offering my honest and I hope inspirational thoughts to my readers.

At one point, I will take a break and just close my eyes for a few moments in the afternoon, read and watch the news to see what others are doing with their Gift of Today.  I will keep my negative thoughts to a minimum, and better yet, keep those thoughts to myself.  I will respond to my emails and hopefully positively impact the receiver. And then tonight, I will meet with a friend and together be grateful that we took full advantage of the Gift of Today.

So that’s how I am going to use my gift.  What are you going to do with your Gift of Today?

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