When I graduated from high school, my father was temporarily between jobs in the aerospace industry. He didn't have the money to buy me an expensive gift or to send me on a summer vacation with my friends. Instead, his graduation gift to me was an antique watch that was passed down to him from his paternal grandfather. While it kept accurate time, the watch was never aesthetically pleasing; the gold had tarnished and the hands were extremely ornamental and difficult to read. Yet I cherished the watch as a family heirloom and as a symbolic acknowledgment of my adulthood.
I hoped that the gift was just the first of many from my father as I began a long and happy life. Sadly, he was killed in a car crash during my freshman year in college. The gold watch he presented to me at my high schoolgraduation was the last gift I ever received from my father.
It now symbolizes much more than my impending adulthood; it represents all the missing gifts that I will never receive from a man I deeply loved who died far too soon.