it’s a well-known fact in my little home… gift-giving to daddy each year causes me no small amount of grief. he’s a wonderful man, and he loves to give good gifts. but he is notoriously difficult to give to… he’s very
picky thoughtful about what he likes, and when he chooses to purchase something, he analyzes every facet of what makes any thing the thing. and to make matters worse, making a list comes hard for him, so sometimes, he just doesn’t offer up a clue (and makes me know i need to become an even better student of this man…).
and so each year, i agonize about how to find the thing that will make him light up like i would, blown away by what he’s received. and each year, i let the fear of disappointing steal a little bit of my happiness at the sweetness of this time of year. and this year, stuck once again, i found some little things that would make him smile (and they did), and then setting aside my pride, i wrote him a letter, saying all the things i wanted to give, and then giving him cash to choose for himself.
to some, it may seem a cop-out. to me, it was a dying to my need to “get-it-right,” and a truer gift of choice, and of acknowledging who he is. and that i may not always know. and do you know, he smiled, and said what he’d buy, and was pleased. and so with a sigh, i relaxed into the giving. but meanwhile,
i watched my children. with utter abandon, they dove into the hunting, the thinking, the procuring of gifts for each other. with no thought for themselves, they gave to each other, some a little and some a lot. some to all of us and some to each of us, and some to only one or two siblings, as they felt led and as they were able (and sometimes with help from mom to foot the bill). i watched with my heart in my throat as they plotted and planned, whispered and swore to secrecy, and then as they watched each other in anticipatory glee, opening those gifts. some cried at what they received, and some were moved at the receiver’s reaction. some were surprised with giggles to discover they’d been given the very gift they’d considered giving to the other. as the mama, i was amazed at how they know each other, and at how they surprised me, some of them, with their resourcefulness and their sometime-sacrifice.
the idea was, they gave. and their focus was not just on the giving as opposed to the receiving, but the giving with knowing. they know one another, and they gave according to that knowledge. i do treasure all these things, because i’m keenly aware that all too soon this sharing will stretch to include spouses and Lord willing, babies, and then children with their own quirks and callings. and while it will bring its own new joy, it makes these moments all-the-more dear. and it makes the me in the equation so very, very small.