The tiny, wrinkled lady sat in an overstuffed chair in the “Gathering Room” of the assisted living facility, surrounded by about 30 people of varying ages. I had stepped out into the hall to give my friend some privacy while an aid helped her change into fresh clothes, and my attention had been captured by the celebration of what was, if the 2 large gold balloons floating above the large table in the center of the room were any indication, the lady’s 90th birthday.

The guest of honor was decked out in a beautiful purple dress, a matching hate with several feathers adorning it perched atop her beautifully-styled white hair. The color on her cheeks reminded me of my grandmother’s rouge, and her lipstick could certainly have been called “Sassy Red”. 

 She was animated — smiling and laughing and chatting with those around her, her hands clasped together in obvious glee as a beautifully-wrapped present was presented to her. She unwrapped it, and when she pulled back the tissue paper, she laughed out loud and clapped with delight. A woman standing next to her lifted out and held up for all to see the bright red sweatshirt emblazoned with “I never thought I’d be a smokin’ hot Great-Gigi, but here I am, rockin’ it!”. Everyone laughed and applauded; I couldn’t help but join in. 

I didn’t see what was inside the remainder of the brightly-colored boxes and bags piled on the table; the aid stepped out from my friend’s room and indicated I could go back inside. But since that day a few weeks ago, I’ve thought about that birthday celebration, and each time I do, I envision the birthday girl herself and the pile of gifts.

For many years, I didn’t think of gifts much outside of buying them for birthday and Christmas presents for family and friends. In recent years, though, I’ve begun to think of them more often, and even more so the past few weeks.

And so, in honor of the lovely, spirited 90-year-old woman who captured my attention a few weeks ago, I’m going to focus this week on gifts. 

Please join me on social media (Patti Miinch on both facebook and instagram) each day this week and join in the conversation. There may be a surprise or two, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.