The Dude has recently celebrated a Significant Birthday. The celebrations have included a trip down to London to watch the NFL game (with Little Person) and staying on for a few days, his parents coming up to visit for a week, and a small gathering of close friends complete with complicated catering. All in the space of about ten days. No wonder I’m tired.
But here’s the thing. I think I’m supposed o be tired at this point, because it was his birthday and I was giving the best of myself so that he could have a good time. So we went to the restaurant for main part of the meal, and I didn’t try to seize control of the shopping list on any of my trips out with his mother, and I drove in the heavy morning traffic to go to the shopping centre to get the thing. And I didn’t have to be right, and it didn’t have to be perfect, and Little Person and I sat on the floor writing in and colouring his card on the morning because she had been too tired the night before. And I bought him a tin of biscuits, because I was tired, and hungry and they were there, and actually, that wasn’t the actual present, the present was everything that had gone before. I would tell you all about it, but it’s not my story to tell.
Because that’s the thing about gifts. They’re not about you, they’re about the person you’re giving it to.
The Dude is about the moment, so that’s what I gave him. A hundred special moments scattered like diamonds and pearls over a fortnight that left him with a goofy and exhausted grin on his face.
A few weeks ago it was the Friend’s birthday. He’s into creativity, and often speaks in metaphors, so we gave him a bag that represented a creative journey. And he gave The Dude a “Match Day Experience” bag, which made me smile.
I love giving gifts, and I love the way the right gift can touch a person’s heart and tell them, yes, I know you, and who you are is important.
And now, having thought on this, I have the courage to face the rest of the time with my in-laws. (‘Cos I slipped on some milk in the supermarket and gave myself a groin injury which is seriously painful and making life challenging, so yes, I have cried over spilt milk.) Because they matter too.
[Insert your own witty finish here because actually, I’m too tired to think of one.]