It was a few years ago, when I found out that a colleague whom I worked fairly closely with was leaving the firm to work for another. He was a very important part of my team, so my teammates and I wanted to show our appreciation with a little gift. But a problem arose – we had no objection to chipping in, but we had no idea what to get him. We knew very well his competence at work, but we knew nothing about the person he was!
So began my observation of him. I watched his every move, I listened to his every word, and I smelled his every lunch… yes, lunch! He never joined the team to go out for lunch, because he brought one from home, which his wife packed for him every day. Ah, ha! I thought – his wife will surely continue to pack lunch for him at his new workplace, so wouldn’t it be nice if we got him something useful to go with it?
I did a bit of research, and I found a chopsticks store that would engrave his name and add a case to go along, AND gift-wrap in nice wrapping cloth, all within our budget. My teammates approved the idea instantly, so I went on to go get what we thought was the best gift we could have gotten him.
At the send-off party, we (and especially I) proudly presented the gift to him. He curiously unwrapped it, opened the case, and… gave us a confused smile and said “oh, this is too precious to use.” That moment, I realized we (and especially I) were really only thinking about ourselves, getting a gift that would make us happy. We had lost sight of the original purpose of getting the gift – to show him our appreciation – and aimed to get him to appreciate us for getting him the best gift.
I always remind myself of this incident when I tat something for someone, even when I am specifically asked to.
Maybe they are just being kind when giving a place for my works to go, because I have mentioned they would otherwise go into the tin box where I keep all my past projects and never come out.
Maybe they are just being generous, giving me opportunities to feel good about myself having the ability to make the gifts I give out.
Maybe they are the ones actually doing the giving when I give gifts to them.
So, when I tat for someone, I try to remember that the goal is not to be appreciated for giving out my work, but to give appreciation for having the chance to give a tatting gift.
And maybe that is the one thing I have been missing in my gifts.
Maybe if I do not forget which direction the vector of appreciation should point to, I will become a better gift-giver… and a better tatter.
I was thinking of making this a gift for someone, but apparently my vector of appreciation was not pointing to the right direction… the bare threads on the outermost round are too uneven to offer this work as a gift! Great appreciation for the lovely pattern, though – it was a joy to tat.