Our girls’ caregiver is leaving for Spain in January. She has taken extraordinary and loving care of our three daughters for over a year and a half, which is a long time in the lives of our 5-year-old and younger babes. We are both sad and thrilled for her. She is a smart, fun, and… well, increasingly brazen, soul and it is so brilliant that she is venturing out to explore the world post-college-graduation.

So, I wanted to get her a gift that would somehow express to her the indescribably  important role she has played in our family for the last year and a half. We have already gotten her jewelery, massage gift certificates, books, coffee cards… lots of things that we know she enjoys. I wanted this one to be different – a reflection of the feelings we have for her.

How does one express feelings through material gifts?

Story.

It’s the only way, really.

I went to my favorite “meaningful gifts” store, the newly re-opened Curiosity Shoppe here in Bend. They have consciousness gifts, books, crystals, locally handmade items that evoke the divine, and the best collection of greeting cards anywhere. I had no idea what I would get, but I knew that the store would be full of gifts that could tell our caregiver, AT,  how we feel about her. I just had to find the right story.

Lots of things happened that day in the Curiosity Shoppe, which is how it goes when you hang out with your own kin in your element. More on that later. But mostly, I explored stories that day, amongst the incense and rose quartz crystals.

First, I saw these t-shirts, handmade by a local artist, with a peace sign painted on green tie-dye. AT likes clothes and appreciates peace for sure, but I couldn’t quite pull together a story about how this t-shirt expressed our feelings for her.

Then I saw this chime and a story began to unfold in my mind about how she could use the chime in Spain whenever she felt lonely and it would call forth love and energetic hugs from the girls and us whenever she needed it. I think she would have liked that story, but the truth is that it’s more of a story that I would dig than one that would resonate with AT.

I looked at journals, books, and shiny natural rock sculptures. They were beautiful, but the stories just weren’t flowing.

Then I saw these earrings. They were big, silver, somewhat ornate and handcrafted by a local artist (who also happens to be our neighbor, incidentally.) AT likes big earrings, but I would not have called these her style. But the story they told was a deal-maker immediately. Dangling from each of three lovely silver tendrils was three different charms – a small stamped square, a leaf, and an even smaller rectangle with an impressioned stamp. Small, medium and large (ish). When you held the earrings upright, the three tendrils and their charms danced playfully together, just like our girls had done with AT countless times (we have it on video, even!) To round out the story of the perfect “thank you” earrings, each tendril had one tiny green peridot stone, adding “positive thoughts and energy” to the mix. These earrings were made for this occasion for AT.

I giddily made my purchase, paying way more than I virtually ever do for earrings – happily. You know why? Because I wasn’t purchasing earrings, I was purchasing a story, a symbol of our love and affection for AT.

Since then, I have been thinking, what other stories do I purchase? And what stories are my clients buying when they sign on to work with me? What about your clients and customers – what stories are they affirming, creating, exploring when they decide to work with you?

Thank you, umjanedoan, for the Story Rd photo (from my childhood home town, no less.)