“What are you getting the boys?” a friend of mine asked. We bumped into each other at the pharmacy. My fingers are still crossed, hoping we’re done with the flu!

“That’s the question of the hour,” I shake my head. “Funny thing,” I started in, “I was in Tuesday Morning last week picking up a lamp for my mom. Our rearranging of her furniture opened the perfect spot for a lamp by her chair. And I totally scored with the perfect lamp for that spot.”

“I love Tuesday Morning,” she sighed. “It can be hit or miss. But when it hits, it’s a home-run for sure.”

“I know. So happy.”

Birds were singing, we smile-nodded, all was right in the world.

“If only all shopping could be as quick and productive as that lamp-run,” she said.

“Fact,” I shuh-replied.

Yeah, my friend looked at me weird, too. Sometimes my thoughts travel right through my head and out my mouth. I still think about Amena Brown’s chat with us on SaySomething. She was SO cool. And I just loved her phrases. Apparently, I’m trying to capture some of the cool by adopting her swaggy “FACT” response as a nod of agreement. Works beautifully for her. Me? – not so much.

I quickly move on.

“While I was looking for the lamp-aisle, I saw the rows of toys. An end-cap had tubes of Match Box cars. Those would have made my boys’ Christmas not so long ago. I stood looking at them, remembering, maybe even a little longing for, the simplicity of those days when the smallest item could capture their attention for days on end.”

I keep going, “Granted, those days were physically exhausting, but looking at those cars reminded me of how un-complicated they were compared to now. Until I remembered so much of the stress and pressures on deck then, that just aren’t now. And I found myself telling myself, don’t let the worries and pressures of today take any ground or steal a single moment – even if it comes in the form of getting the right gift.”

All of it reminded me to savor and to enjoy and to not worry about much – especially the gifts. Of course I want to get them something, but maybe BIG isn’t the thing. Maybe a little more meaningful over trendy-cool is the way to go. Why not search for and find whatever it is that will help them remember how they are seen & known & loved.

It’s true.

For my mom, just spending time with her and moving the furniture that she would have whipped around the house and moved herself not long ago was a bigger gift than I could have imaged – to both of us. Because she can’t do that anymore. What an unbelievable blessing and treat it was for me to stand beside her, to be her hands and feet, to struggle through putting together a World Market end table together. I already cherish the memory, even though it was only last week. (Sap Alert!)

For my kids – just watching their thoughtfulness toward each other has been inspiring. One of the kids got her brother a wallet ($11 on Amazon) in which she put 10 crisp one dollar bills for him to use in the school’s vending machine. Things like that mean SO much more than a “big” gift. He’s going to LOVE it. Another is giving her sibling a couple of tiny blank-page notebooks since she’s been watching him doodle on note cards. And a brother wiggled with glee as he sat me down to find exactly the nerd-fest t-shirts he and other small sundries he wanted to get his siblings – heart-warming. (Don’t say anything! – banking on them not reading this – eek!)

The truth is – they know each other. They belong (though it’s far, very far, from a perfect setting – there’s been a lot of crabby amidst all the test-stress.) They are seen. Which honestly, these days goes a L O N G way toward much needed grounding in this ever-shifting landscape.

I don’t know what it is in your house, but I think as far as gift-giving goes, exciting-big is fun – no doubt – but, it’s the simple stuff that lingers. Simple stuff reminders: I know you, I love you (even if/when we fight every day), I see you.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

– Kay

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