Mum had had it with that cabinet in the corner of my room yesterday and she finally did what she had to do. Between the two of us, we managed to clear out that deceptively little space which we had ignored and left untouched for the past two decades or so. Out came years and years of things, many many things that we’d received or used or simply could not bear to throw. Mum called it hoarding, one of those weird fetishes of my Dad’s. It was a fascinating experience for me to uncover all those which had been ‘hoarded’, little momentos of life which had been picked up throughout the years and casually stuffed into the back of that cabinet for appreciating at a later time(this, more often than not, never happened).
The store cabinet had inadvertently become a sort of time capsule for the family since we moved in.
Most of what we found inside were unused Christmas presents from gift exchanges, intact in the boxes they came in. These included various plastic and ceramic mugs, leather wallets which had begun peeling from disuse, three sets of body lotions with accompanying teddy bears, a large pink scented candle in the shape of a present, four bottles of wine (how is there wine in my room without me knowing??) and something like 101 photo frames.
Allow me to address my newly-discovered extensive collection of photo frames. Photo frames are the go-to present of every occasion and and really utterly useless. No one in this day and age prints hard copy photos anymore. It’s sad but true. My family print photographs from holidays abroad to keep chronologically in albums, not so much to frame and display. We have absolutely no room to display a clunky albeit beautifully decorated frame on the tables, shelves or desks.
So this is my advice to any true well-meaning friend: Do not, if you can, give photo frames as gifts. Seriously. They are really thoughtless and insincere. Even chocolates beat frames any day. They are edible and don’t take up so much storage space. Admit it, the only reason why you got them was only because it was convenient for you. I should know. I confess I am not the kind of friend who gets gifts way in advance of any occasion and I have turned to photo frames as the easiest way to weasel out of showing up empty handed. Over the years though, I figure that these frames are one of the worse kind of gifts anyone can get. So, don’t.
If you feel as if you really must give photo frames, the only way photo frames will be deemed useful is if you have something meaningful in it. Stick a photo in. A photo of yourself with the person you are giving the frame to. All of a sudden, this mass produced piece of metal or plastic takes on a whole new value because of what it frames.
This just pretty much struck me now that I’m writing about frames. ‘Tis really the same about how you present yourself. You can be a really gorgeous frame but if you’ve got nothing of value framed up inside, you’re really just another frame with a complimentary black and white photo in it of some model having fun. Get a personality. I mean that in a good way. Everyone has one. Don’t be afraid of showing it. It’s really much more eye-catching than a frame. 😉
Among all those pretty looking frames, my favourite is actually the little wooden one which kind of blends into the floor. It has a verse in it.
…But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
Hohoho I don’t know why they printed that verse. It’s not a very popular one in the sense it isn’t used for cards and on book covers but I suppose that’s why I like it. It’s refreshing. And it has a “Yes I can do this!” factor. 🙂
The other thing you shouldn’t get for people are mugs. Please don’t get mugs. It’s alright if it’s a cute cup which is actually functional and handy. It’s not alright if its handiness is compensated for it’s cute factor. To be specific, do not get a heavy mug. Anything chunky, really. Mugs that fit better in a display cabinet than a kitchen rack. We won’t use those. We’ll really just keep them for a couple of years before throwing it out. Do avoid these and you’ll have my unsaid undying gratitude.
Amidst all the boxes of the various iPhones and other technological equipment Dad has kept, GUESS WHAT WE FOUND.
I was amazed when we unearthed two large boxes of photo albums, each sporting Mum and Dad’s wedding and engagement photos on the front. The albums were gorgeous with the frills and the cushions and the floral patterns. I could see the age of those albums just by looking at the style of the photographs, the background and the slightly yellowed age spots on it all. My parents were even more gorgeous as they graced the album cover. They were dressed so handsomely and they were truly beautiful in there. (Not to say they aren’t now :P)
It was thrilling to flip through all the photos of the wedding I couldn’t attend 20 years ago. All the relatives I’d known now were all incredibly young and black-haired and slimmer (in general). It was amazing because it’s really seeing people you know and grow up with in a different light. It’s like looking into their past lives. Just a glimpse of life before me. My brother and I had a good time laughing at my cousins who were mostly babies and little, trying to figure out who was who. We were also very mind-blown at the fashion sense, the sheer oldness of everything. (Can we say retro?) It made me wish how I could have been there at the wedding haha.
Can I just say my mother looked absolutely lovely in there. She has always been very photogenic and she has this really lovely smile and rather fine features. She looked wonderful in both the Western wedding and evening gowns and the traditional Chinese kua. Having studied in England before, she was a very keen follower of the Princess Diana fashions and pulled of the English rose look perfectly. Absolutely film star quality.
Although she is no longer in such whimsical gowns and has lost her long curly hair for a breezy shoulder-length cut, she is as radiant and effervescent as ever. She works hard and plays hard and is a really first-class mother. She looked her best then, but I’m so proud of her as a mother because even though she’s lovely, she doesn’t just sit around trying to keep her youth. She’s really lives life to the fullest and is concerned and enthusiastic about so many things besides herself.
Same goes for Dad. While he’s earned his prosperity belly over the years, he works so hard to provide us with all this luxury which I sometimes take for granted. He’s not an extremely handsome fella, but he’s a cute one and he pampers really well, so I don’t mind. Haha. They make a great team, he and Mum.
It is so apt as well since today marks the 20th wedding anniversary of my lovely parents. So here’s to you both. You guys are great! Hope you all have a lovely dinner out tonight!!! ❤
I actually wrote a short piece on the engagement photo they have on their bedside table. Maybe I’ll put it up soon. 🙂