Everlasting Memories Blog About Life, Loss and Everything In Between
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I truly do love December and all the trimmings that go along with the month. Not only is it so festive with the decorations and the trees and the lights but the other sights and smells and sounds of the season are fab-u-lous! I love Christmas music, I love getting Christmas cards in the mail, I love seeing the decorated gingerbread houses. I would REALLY love some Christmas cookies, some fudge, some goodies - however given that I don’t have a reliable ‘off switch’ when it comes to those kinds of things I do not keep them in the house. And I don’t care what you say, Halo Top protein ice cream is no substitute for a frosted Christmas star Christmas cookie!
It is also the season of giving. And given that I am what I would consider a ‘giver’ (say that three times fast), this time of year is right up my alley. Wrapping - not so much - but choosing and buying the gifts - all over it. And there is nothing better than goosies coming downstairs to seeing gifts under the tree, stockings filled to the brim, shrieking in delight over what they’ve received…
And then you have teenagers.
Sigh. Gone are those days. Gift cards, money, blah blah blah. No longer do we want things that are fun or that mom has picked out. I haven’t given in yet and a large part of that comes from something I read about several years ago on social media. Four gifts. That’s it. Four. Something you want. Something you need. Something to wear. Something to read. And it is brilliant! And it has made life infinitely easier when it comes to choosing gifts for them during the holidays.
As I was thinking about this blog, deciding the direction I wanted to take - it hit me. Yes, this is ideal for those tangibles, the boxed up, gift wrapped packages strategically placed under the tree. But is it an intangible thing too? Are there things in our life that we can gift ourselves, things we want or need, an intangible to wear or read? Think about that for a minute. Let it marinate. Those intangibles are there. They are necessary. Implementable. Impactful. Some might even say - life altering.
So in honor of all the parents out there with hard to buy teenagers, college kids, on-their-own-but-still-semi-dependent adult children - you got it. I wrote this one for you.
And for every person out there, looking for some inspiration, wanting to make some positive changes, redefine their personal focus and tune in to what truly matters to them - well, I wrote this one for you too.
Something to Wear
Everyone can use something to wear. This literally takes probably the least amount of effort to come up with and typically is easy for the recipient to come up with ideas as well.
Something to Wear Tangible
Lordy the options are endless. You can go sports related and choose favorite NFL or NHL team. The uber popular Love Your Melon beanies. Gloves. Scarves. Socks and underwear. Hats. A pair of their favorite brand of jeans. Nice work gloves. Take a hop on over to Lululemon and drop a cool hundred on a pair of workout pants. That you sweat in. Take a look through their closet and find what they need, what they’ve grown out of, add some color. There’s no excuse for not being able to come up with ‘something to wear’ that is a tangible.
Something to Wear Intangible
In today’s day and age, you know what I see very few people wearing? A smile. Imagine if you made it a point every morning, every outing, every interaction to wear a smile. I know you’ve been on the receiving end of it and there is nothing like being greeted by a smile. It shakes us out of a bad mood, it serves as a reminder that hey maybe things aren’t so bad. And it certainly shows our younger generations that even when life is challenging, slap a smile on your face and fake it til you make it. I’m all over wearing a smile more often.
And wear your confidence like a brand new Gucci suit. I don’t care if it’s a Gucci knock-off…no one’s gonna know unless you tell them! I often get mistaken for being confident and in all reality, I’m often times nervous, scared, intimidated, etc. But I have learned that sometimes pretending as if I know what I’m doing, faking the confidence on the outside - that confidence ‘practice’ starts to become permanent. Confidence - take it out of the closet and start cycling it through your wardrobe.
Something To Read
Not everyone loves to read. Fact. But not loving to read is NOT a deal breaker when it comes to choosing something to read for someone in your life.
Something to Read Tangible
The obvious choice here is books. No brainer. I am lucky in that I have a voracious reader in the house and girl goose will read almost anything she can get her hands on and can in fact lose herself in a book for hours. But something to read can be more than books. Manuals on how to fix things for the do it yourselfer. A yearly subscription to their favorite magazine. An all about book for that person that has a place on their bucket list to travel to. A motivational how to for that young athlete in your life that is striving to be better, get more, have an edge. An Instant Pot cookbook (hint hint). For those that really don’t like to read - audio books are a fair option in my opinion. Think about the interests of the recipient and google some ideas surrounding that interest. You’d be surprised what you find.
Something to Read Intangible
Y’all know I’m an advocate for taking care of your body, check-ups, that our health matters. It’s our greatest asset. Do yourself a favor this year and give yourself something to read. A number on the scale that is healthy. A lab report that shows cholesterol numbers that have decreased. A letter in the mail confirming your next annual appointment. Read up on daily supplements and how much hydration is the right amount.
Take a few minutes and read your child’s face when they come in the door, that of your significant other. It’s amazing how often we don’t take the time to ‘read’ the most important people in our life, gloss over their expressions because we are too wrapped up in other things that are probably of far less importance. Read the body language of a friend. Are they in need of a cup of coffee and a venting session? That cup of coffee and hour of your time can alter the course of someone’s day.
Something You Want
Believe it or not, I think this can be one of the more challenging gifts to come up with. For many adults, we don’t necessarily ‘want’ anything. If there’s something we want, we save or don’t save and get it for ourselves. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting them what they want…just means that sometimes you need to open their eyes to what it is.
Something You Want Tangible
Like I said, I think this can be one of the hardest gifts to come up with. Sometimes we have to take a more proactive approach (such as I did this year with my eldest male gosling) and figure out what they want - and it may just happen to coincide with something they need or something to wear. As long as it is within budgetary reason, I always attempt to get them what they really want. I don’t have any real suggestions other than if you can make it happen - do so.
Something You Want Intangible
Oh boy - the list is a mile long for this one when it comes to intangibles and what we want. What I really want more than anything in this world is for my children to be happy. To be engaged in their own lives with absolutely nothing holding them back. I want them to dream big and not be afraid of failure. I want them to wake up feeling blessed and to approach their days as if THIS day is brimming with opportunity. I would give up all I have if someone could assure me of that want.
And really - this holiday - I want my older two children to come together. They are at a crossroads with one another and as a mom, it is heartbreaking for me. I want them to understand that what they see as shortcomings in one another is not a deal breaker when it comes to family. Rob once said to me that the greatest gift we could ever give our children is one another. A sibling. A shoulder to lean on. One of these days I’m going to step off this merry-go-round and I pray that it is with a heart that is secure in the knowledge that they will be there for one another. The three of them united.
Something You Need
This is what I consider a ‘mom’ gift. We often see what they don’t see and if they can’t clue themselves into what they need, we typically can. At times their ‘need’ may not coincide with ours but as they get older it is our responsibility to acquiesce to what they feel is a necessity…roots and wings, peepers.
Something You Need Tangible
I try to pair this up with a ‘want’ whenever I can because a. it takes care of another gift and b. it usually goes hand in hand. One year one of them got an Xbox (want) and he also got a monitor (need). Upgrades to cell phones, new chargers, a Fire Stick for the upstairs TV given that your want was a Fire Cube for the downstairs, so on and so forth. Finding something they need whether it’s a revamp on their sock drawer or a spa treatment after the holidays can be done with relative ease and if you can pair it with one of the other three - winner winner chicken dinner!
Something You Need Intangible
Again - big list this year. Joy. Who doesn’t need more joy in their life? Laughter. Pick me! Lightheartedness. This girl. Life is so serious and hard. That is a fact. And choosing to have joy, to laugh more and approach life with a little bit of a lighter heart is just that - a CHOICE. And living your life filled with joy, bringing laughter and a positive approach to your days is a choice worth making. I’m in control of that, you’re in control of that - put it at the top of your ‘Need’ list.
And I need more mindfulness. More being present in the present moment. I am fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead in 2019 and focusing on those challenges is simply taking away from the present moments. Adding stress and anxiety that is not necessary. I have the book, I have yet to open it but I am committed to taking the time to read it and open up my eyes to the here and now.
Four Gifts Chez Moi
I don’t do well receiving gifts. I would much rather be the gifter than the giftee. That being said, there is something I want. And something I need, something to wear. And something to read.
Give me a suit of strength. Kinda like the super suit that the Incredibles put on when they are fighting the bad guys. Give me some strong that fits me to a T and let that strong take hold on the inside as much as it is on the outside. Break the bank but please Santa - send me some strong STAT.
Let me read a college acceptance letter for my son. One that makes him feel proud of all that he has sacrificed. One that makes him realize that HE IS GREAT. That he is worthy. That shows him that failure is not permanent but that it is necessary to achieve magnificent things. I’m already proud of him and have been for 18 years. I want him to feel that same pride in himself.
I want some answers. I want to know where I stand with my health and what is down the road. How I get there and what I need to do. I have a lot of life left to live and I need some answers to continue to live it to the fullest. This isn’t Jeopardy for me - no more questions. Tell me what I need to know. And a puppy. I really, really, REALLY want a puppy.
And I need more gratitude. The past six months of 2018 have been A LOT. And for every moment of laughter there has been twice as many tears. Part life for sure. Part hormones (or lack thereof…special little one finger wave to menopause). Whatever it is - I need to be ever more aware of my gratitude. Of growing from a place of gratitude. Of living my life from a place of being aware of my blessings.
As we roll into the gift giving season, be ever mindful of the gifts that you are giving. Of the example that you are living. Think about what you want from this life, what it is you need. Wear your love and joy for those that matter most like a beautiful brand new coat, treating it with the upmost care. Read the delight on the faces of your children, the look of love that you share with someone you cherish. Be ever aware of the blessings in your life and approach your days with gratitude. When faced with the choice, choose joy.
And Santa, please don’t forget about the puppy. I totes would just be tickled pink with a puppy.