For Mother’s Day this year, I received the following: a promise of tea with my younger son — as well as a lovely note — and the world’s greatest manual pencil sharpener from my elder son.
You may think those are pretty disparate gifts, but they accurately pinpoint two very important parts of my life — tea & writing. And the boys (both grown men w/ wonderful jobs, one even a parent himself…but still my boys ) know me well.
This is by way of saying we need to look beyond surfaces when we engage with people, even those we love. Maybe especially those we love…? And accept that what they say they are and love may well be at odds with how they look. Even how we see them.
The pencil sharpener is the exact same one used by artisanal pencil sharpener David Rees, whose ability to wreak a living from sharpening pencils that can function as deadly weapons totally impresses me. Because I ADORE pencils. Preferably very sharp ones — the kind my grandmother used to yell at me NOT to run with. You’ll put your eye out! And w/ the pencils sharpened by this pencil sharpener (the Alvin brass bullet pencil sharpener, touted as a pro tool by Wired magazine, no less), you certainly could.
This was a GREAT Mother’s Day present! But try telling folks what you received: a pencil sharpener and a promise of tea. Faces fill w/ tactful pity. These are NOT real ‘presents,’ it’s obvious. A raincheck and a pencil sharpener??
But they ARE amazing presents, and my sons know this. Noah will take me to tea. And Nathan not only went online to look at my Amazon wishlist, he picked a tool — something I will use daily, always remembering him. How are those not great presents?? Each present will — in its own unique way — create memories.
In July, when the family gathers in Virginia for the 4th of July, Noah’s present will be there, waiting — tea on the town. And I’ll get to research a place (chances are he will, too). We’ll slip away from my beloved, my elder son, my wonderful DIL, and my perfect grandson. Off we’ll go to sip tea, eat treats, and discuss Noah’s upcoming sabbatical from work.
The beauty of these presents? They’re both me: the practical, elitist tool user (I HATE crappy tools!), and the romantic tea lover. And my boys know this. How many mothers — or people of any persuasion — can say that someone they love knows them? That has to be the best of presents, any time of year.