This is the season of gift giving. I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what I'm going to get people for Christmas. I'm really weird about gifts. I feel like they need to mean something and not just be another item. They either need to be useful or have some sort of sentimental value. That requirement combined with my indecisiveness makes gift giving rather hard.
I started a new book last night of short stories about gifts that mothers give their daughters. I'll admit, as much as I don't want any more kids, it always makes me a little bit sad that I won't ever have a daughter to be my best friend the way that my mom is my best friend. That's neither here nor there, the point is, I started thinking about the gifts that I have received from family that aren't tangible things or are items that hold more sentimental value than anything else.
One actual thing that comes to mind specifically is my Grandma Kay's pie plates. I'm not sure why they are so important to me but they are. Almost more important than the actual pie plate is the fact that her name is scrawled on the bottom in her almost illegible, left handed handwriting. I know that someday the permanent marker will wear off and her name won't be there anymore but I know that I'll always be able to see her name written on the bottom of those two white pie plates, even when it's gone.
My Grandpa Ernie's gift is always his hug. He gives the best hugs I have ever been given. My dad takes after him in that way but he still hasn't perfected the art of a Grandpa Ernie hug. Grandpa's hugs go on forever and they are tight and solid and you just don't ever want to let go. Those hugs are more important than any birthday check or wrapped gift at Christmas. I love walking in to may parents house when I know that my grandparents are visiting to get that first hug from Grandpa. It doesn't hurt anything that in addition to giving the best hugs ever Grandpa is hilarious.
Morgan, my brother, and I don't always get along great. We get along a whole lot better the older we get. At some point, probably within the last year, we have developed a sense of camaraderie that we never had before. I think that the most important gift that he gives me is the knowledge that I have backup in the face of the rest of the family, heck in the face of anyone. We understand each other when no one else understands us. We have the ability to gang up on people in such a way that makes them want to cover their ears, close their eyes and rock back and forth. We typically only use our skills for good. But we always know that we could go the evil route if we wanted to.
My parents have obviously given me the most important gifts of all. Their unwavering support. Their unconditional love. The knowledge that it's okay to be weird and that different isn't bad. They made sure that I knew growing up, and still know, that I can do anything I put my mind to. Dad gave me his love for numbers and his logical way of approaching situations, as long as emotion isn't involved. Mom gave me her OCD and her sense of loyalty.
Love is magic and my parents is more magic then most. They never gave up. Obviously through 33 years there is going to be all kinds of ups and downs, trials and tribulations. Probably more so the past four years than the prior 29. But there they are; arguing, bickering, ignoring each other, supporting each other, taking care of each other and loving each other. Maybe that's why neither of my marriages worked. They didn't have the magic that my parents taught me to expect.
So, even though we don't get to choose our families, I feel as though based on the gifts mine have given me, I got pretty lucky.