My daughter is going through a phase of wanting to give gifts. At 8 years old, she doesn’t have money or transportation to go and buy gifts for people, however. When she’s feeling particularly loving towards someone, she will scavenge in her room until she finds just the right thing to give as her gift. Among some of the gifts I’ve received recently are: my grandmother’s stuffed animal (which I gave to her when grandma died), plastic necklaces, a homemade necklace of random beads, pictures from coloring book pages, a child’s headband, her medal from school…just to name a few.
Each time she gives me her gift, it’s wrapped up, haphazardly, in whatever paper she’s been able to scrounge up. Sometimes she will find a gift bag and stick her treasure inside. She always has a huge smile on her face and watches in anticipation as I open up her heartfelt gift. Of course I play along and give a show of excitement and thank her for her thoughtfulness.
Since my mom has been stricken with dementia, she has become a child in nearly every way. Gift giving is no exception. Last night, we gathered together for a family dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday. For a few weeks leading up to Christina’s special day, mom kept telling her that she wanted to take her to that “bath place” (Bath & Body Works) to buy her some good body stuff. With all the chaos that has ensued over the past few weeks, mom never made it out with anyone to go shopping.
Last night, as we gathered for Christina’s birthday, mom came rushing into the kitchen and put something in Christina’s hands: one plastic-sealed bottle of Country Apple Scented body gel and one half-empty bottle of Country Apple Scented body lotion.
“Since I couldn’t take you to that bath place here, happy birthday,” she said with a big grin.
There was no card; no pretty bows or wrapping paper. Just a recycled gift that came from mom’s heart. Christina smiled (and chuckled) as she accepted her sweet gift and thanked mom.
Soon after, Christina received a work call on her cell phone. As she walked down the hall to take the call privately, mom followed behind her, singing into her ear “Happy Birthday to You.”
I’m growing to appreciate these small, heartfelt moments from my mom. I see her as I see my children, eager to please and with such an innocence about her. For me, the gifts I’ve always appreciated the most are the gifts that come from the heart. Mom has surely mastered the art! :)