Once in a lifetime moments irreplaceable

There are timeless gifts, or ways to give gifts, that bear no duplication or repeating.

Last week I devoted this column to the value of shopping locally, for non-mass-produced presents; this week I’d like to encourage you to look at some unique experiences — ones which cannot be duplicated, even if you were to present the same gift.

It wasn’t Christmas, but it could have been; it was actually his birthday.

But in 1998, I believe it was, we gave my dad the gift of tickets to the Army/Navy football game. This happened to be the 100th anniversary of that game, and ever since my dad was a child, it had been his dream to go in person to this long standing football tradition.

We’ve asked him, since, if he would like to go again. The answer is no — not because it didn’t live up to expectation, but because receiving that present again would be anti-climactic.

Amanda had two “can’t miss” events in her life, both of which she has now achieved. One was a visit to the White House; the second was a trip to the Nutcracker Ballet. Of course she can, and possibly will, do each of those again. However, there is nothing to equal the first happening of a dream.

I know this feeling myself. It may have been 2004 when my wife and a couple of friends took me to see Transiberian Orchestra in Amarillo. My birthday is Dec. 15. It was a dry and crystalline snow falling, over one of northwest Texas’ best cities, at least in my opinion.

After the concert, we went to a restaurant where I had never been for supper. The snow, the music, the restaurant, and the real present — that I had been almost three years clear of cancer, and was beginning to believe that I was truly going to have a “rest of my life.”

I guess I have a rest of my life. One of the powerful events that I value more deeply than I might have before is the idea of giving those gifts.

Jason was 8 when we were able to take him to Disneyland, through a series of circumstances. At any younger, it would not have been a good idea. Though there will doubtless be other trips to Disneyland, this first one will reign as magical for him.

Mikayla is 6, and is exactly the kind of little girl who will love the Nutcracker Ballet. By the time you read this, of course, she will have been there. As she has been talking about it since she found out about the plans, we feel sure it will be a very special and one of a kind Saturday.

Everyone’s context is different, but what is there, in the life of one in your world, which would be the once in a lifetime experience?