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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Best. Gift. Ever.

It is my birthday. Again. Funny how that happens.  Which means this post is officially one year late!  I have a confession to make. For me, this one was all about the gifts.  
O, those gifts.  They came by the dozens from friends near and far. Each and every perfect one made me well up with tears.  Birthday morning dawned clear and sunny and I woke up to a ringing doorbell and a yard full of birthday blessings.  Two amazing friends had gone on a stealth mission and beat the birthday drums on Facebook.  The result? A yard covered with giant signs from my friends.  Seriously.  I read and cried and read and wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my robe.  It felt like Sally Fields at the Oscars that year, “You like me, you really like me…” Words of love that brought tears of joy.  Later that day, a box from my sister arrived with 50 little gifts, each one covered with memories and words of love.  I can’t tell you much about the presents, but oh the words.  The Words! 

Best. Gift. Ever.  Thank you, dear ones.

You see, we never really know what effect we are having on the folks around us. We go through life doing what we do, living and loving and carpooling and doing laundry; making phone calls and dinner, chairing committees and doing our jobs. There is no report card with a gold star. No ‘satisfactory progress’ at the end of our quarter. 

But these ‘words from friends’ that littered my yard were like glittery stars and student of the month all wrapped up in a shiny bow.  A little ‘you go girl’ whispered in my ear at just the right moment. 

Maybe this Christmas, it’s ok to make it about the gifts. Just a different kind of gift. What if we leave the mall and close the online shopping cart and sit down to write an old fashioned letter to a friend or two ( or mom or dad or husband or child or sibling).  Maybe the best thing we could give those we love is the encouragement they need to keep on doing what they are doing day after day.

Just words? Yes, WORDS.  O, how we need each other’s words in our lives.
Long after the candle is burnt and the gift card is spent and the shirt has gone to Goodwill, words will be the things that last, tucked away in a drawer to read again and again.  

Let’s be generous with our words this year.  Pretty stationery, funny card, or giant yard sign, it really doesn’t matter.  The point is simply to tell those we love that we do. While they are still around to hear it.

And just in case you are worried about sitting there in front of a blank card or letter…here are some ideas to get you started:

I remember ___________ and it meant so much to me that you __________.
Because of you, I am a better ___________.
You have a gift for _______________.
When I think of you, I think of ___________ .

Thank you for _____________.   

Your words matter more than you know- your words are life giving and life changing.  Someone needs your words this holiday season!  Thank you for your words in my life...now get busy!  :) 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five Minute Friday Here's the deal. Five Minute Friday. You go find the little prompt at the wonderful Lisa-Jo's blog, set the timer and write for five minutes, and then just stop. Where you are, no edits, just publish raw words. After way too much time off, seems to me like a great way to dive back in to writing...
Here is the prompt- write for five minutes on :

ready, set, begin.  

It was like any other family trip, except it wasn’t.
The van, full of two girls and a mama and what it takes to fill a college dorm, would turn around at the end and return with a mama and a sister and a whole lot of empty.

'Welcome Home'... the sign said.  
Wait a minute, what are they talking about? ....home is 600 miles away with me, isn't it? 
And then...
Excitement. Pottery Barn comforter. Roommates. College. Classes. Fluffy new towels. Room Keys.
Scared and excited  all at once.  That was her.  
Nervous and full of hopes and dreams for her.  That was me.
Busy in the doing and the fixing and the hanging pictures and stocking the bathroom and putting on a too small fitted sheet, we avoided the big ‘last’ waiting in the lobby below.
How is it possible to drive away from the blue eyes that captured my heart 18 years ago? The government says she’s grown up now. Seriously?  Your baby is ALWAYS your baby. The old quote that having a child is to choose to forever have your heart walking around outside your body’ is no longer just words, but an ache that I can’t even begin to describe. My. Heart. Hurts. 
Life is full of so many firsts. We capture them in photos and journal them to death and share them all pretty perfect on Facebook.
But there are just as many bittersweet lasts.  Sleeping in a crib. Riding with training wheels. Preschool graduation.  Holding hands across the street. Tub baths and reading aloud and when they stop being the passenger and become- gulp- the driver.
And now...a last goodbye before driving away from the big college move-in. 
Room 402 was in order and the drive ahead was long.  It was time for the last hug.  Not ever.  But the last hug when she was still living in my house and part of my everyday life and eating my Cheerios and making me giggle with stupid make up song lyrics. Wise mommas who have walked this journey before me tell me it is never quite the same again. 
It was time.  ‘Do it quick, mama,’ she said. ‘If you hug me long, I am going to lose it right here in front of the lobby where everyone can see.  Just please hug me quick one last time and go. ‘

And so I did.