There is one thing my kids ask me to give them more than anything else: my presence. Their biggest want comes in the form of
“Mommy will you…..
play with me,
push me on the swing,
cuddle with me,
color with me,
build with me,
It is all too easy for me to be too busy with things that I claim aren’t my priorities while not giving undivided attention to the ones that are my priorities. One more email, another load of laundry to fold, dishes to wash, Legos to pick up…there is always something I can give my attention to. My ‘to do’ list grows faster than I can check things off.
I want to do better at giving them my presence….it is what they really want. They want it more than anything I can buy at a store or make with my hands. I think it is the greatest gift I can give them…not because I am a fabulous mom, but because I am their mom. In all my failures, mistakes, screw-ups. In all my home runs, great moments and got it rights. I am their mom. That is enough for them. Isn’t it great to be loved by a child?!
(yes…my 6 year old is missing in these pics…he wasn’t home when we took them)
Every now and then a surprise package will arrive on my doorstep or a friend will drop off an unexpected gift and I tear into it like a child. Receiving gifts is just plain fun. I’ve had a few surprise gifts lately and the bags they came in are sitting under the Christmas tree empty just because I like to look at the bags and be reminded of the thoughtfulness of friends.
To me the best gifts are the ones that reflect the giver…whether it is store bought or made by hand. When we found out FireCracker was a girl some close friends threw me a shower. Several of the girls gave me gifts that they had scoured etsy to find or made by hand….despite that many of them typically do not make gifts or shop on etsy. Their gifts to me reflected how well they know me. It was awesome. My all time favorite gifts are those that are fun for the recipient and benefits those in need.
Giving gifts is a big part of Christmas celebrations for most families. When I ponder what I want my kids to think and feel towards gift giving at Christmas a lot comes to mind, but mostly boils down to FUN. Giving gifts should be fun….it shouldn’t be a drain and one more thing to check off in the middle of a stressful season. However, that is typically how it ends up. I want my kids to have fun giving gifts and deciding what those gifts should be. Like so many things in life this is pretty easy for them….but harder for me.
I love making things. It is a part of me, however I am only recently stepping out and making things for other people. I’ve always been nervous to give handmade gifts…not wanting people to feel stuck with something they don’t like, but feeling the need to pretend they do because I am their friend. Honestly, this blog (your kind words about the projects I post here) has helped me gain confidence in giving handmade gifts.
Shopping for gifts is not fun for me, yet that is what I’ve typically always done. So this year I making more (not all). My kids have been watching me make a lot of gifts. We’ve talked a lot about who they are for and why I am making them. They’ve seen me covered in paint, glue & fabric…having fun. I don’t want to teach my kids that they have to make gifts for the gift to be special…I want to teach them to have fun when they give…whatever that looks like in regards to who they are.
So this year I am having fun with my little “handmade by” stamp (which was a surprise gift itself). I want to give my kids the example that giving gifts – this time of the year or any time – is an extension of who they are….and it can be so much fun. I’m not too good at giving gifts that really reflect the one I am giving it too, but I have a lot of friends that are…and they are teaching me….and one day I hope I am better and it rubs off on my kids. I really hope one of my kids decides their most enjoyable way to give as an adult is to randomly surprise their mom with Anthropologie gift cards. I’ll be a proud mom in that moment.
And if you are getting tired of all these ‘Deep thoughts with Ashley’ posts…I only have one more 🙂