As my birthday was approaching my kids were either, (a) very secretive about what they wanted to do or give me; or (b) flat out telling me what they are making me (my youngest can’t keep a secret to save her life). As they are getting older they want to buy me things and, while I absolutely appreciate that they want to do that for me, I would rather they didn’t spend their money on me.
This is all my Papa’s fault. 😉
Growing up, I remember that my dad never wanted any gifts; not for Christmas, not his birthday and not for Father’s Day. The way I saw it, I had a job and I wanted to get him a gift. To me, it was almost showing appreciation for him being the best dad he could be. A couple of times I even asked him what he wanted and he said “I don’t want anything.” I’d still get him something but, being the man of few words that he is, it’s not like he got excited about it. It was almost anticlimactic to watch him open the gift. I got over it.
Eventually, as I matured into a “real” adult, my siblings and I would have parties and get everyone together whether it was for a special occasion or “just because” and he really enjoyed those. If someone was missing, he’d ask where they were. We realized that it truly made him happy to simply have us together; to BE together and enjoy our TIME together. Today, that’s how I feel.
My oldest wants to take me to dinner and it will be very nice to spend more time with her, but a part of me doesn’t want to have a fancy dinner; I’d rather she didn’t spend her money that way. We can have a nice dinner and enjoy each other’s company without the expensive bill at the end of the night. I don’t want to crush her plans so I’ll make a light suggestion that we go somewhere else and see if she takes the bait. I will appreciate whatever it is (like the manicure and PAINFUL eyebrow threading that I endured already as part of her gift to me). Ultimately, my hope is that I instill the same appreciation for time that my dad did for me and my siblings. We don’t “stress” about gifts like we used to because the most important part is that we all take the time out to spend together. God blessed me with a wonderful family that I love to spend time with. I can’t ask for anything more for my birthday.
Thank you, Papa. 🙂