When my wife and I first moved from North Texas to Oklahoma City, in 1992, we purchased our first new home in a nice little neighborhood. Two houses down from us was a couple who had twin boys the next year and we became good friends with the family. Later with the birth of our daughter and then our son, we traded off babysitting for date nights and did a lot of things together. That friendship has lasted through today and is one of our most cherished relationships. Sometime in those first few years, our friends held a garage sale. They had a lot of items of their own and some items contributed by their parents. I decided to go take a look at the treasures for sale and noticed several round rocks for sale. Yes, rocks! I gave them a hard time about selling rocks and told them I would start gathering rocks for my next garage sale.
A day or so after the sale, one of the rocks was gifted to me. They thought it would be funny to give me a rock that I wanted so bad at their sale. We kept the rock for awhile and then regifted it back to them in some form or fashion. The rock has passed back and forth now for over 25 years! It shows up when you least expect it. Sometimes it shows up as a wrapped gift. Sometimes it just shows up on the front porch with a new decoration or two. We just sent the rock back to our friends with it wrapped like a pumpkin with candy inside the wrapping. That poor rock has Easter stickers and smiley face stickers attached as well as tape with the family name and year it was regifted.
This little back and forth has been fun over the years and I hope will continue for another 25 years. It is a dumb little thing we do, but does bring a smile to our faces when we open the door to the rock. I have heard stories of similar traditions over the years. I have heard of family members passing some awful Christmas gift around every year. Some awful vase or necktie gets regifted every Christmas to another family member to enjoy for a year.
The rock, to me, does not only represent a little silliness. It also represents a great friendship. A friendship in which one couple will take the time to pass the rock back again someday. As long as the rock gets passed back and forth, we know we will continue to have contact with one another. The rock is also a tradition that our kids have loved to be a part of. It is something simple, but something fun that has lasted for 25+ years. The rock is a very small part of the relationship we have with this family. We have all enjoyed good times and shared heartache in bad times. We have supported one another through births, deaths, job changes and much more. I look forward to what the future holds for us all and to share in their lives as long as possible.
Does your family have any similar tradition? Or, have you heard of other friends or family doing something like our trading of the rock? If you have ever thought about starting such a tradition, now is a good time to start!
As the rock sits in it's other home, I already miss the little guy. Hopefully he will return back here again someday!