Some things are just plain stupid, until someone else values it. It’s a year later and Rosie, Max, and Jake now love Silly Bandz. Just yesterday, I was over at my kids’ house. My grandson Max, who’s four, gave me a lizard Silly Band. I thanked Max, he was very proud to give me a gift that I liked. Rosie (five years old) came back 5 minutes later with a piece of lanyard with one bead on it. Jake gave me his new 1st grade picture, and I had been gifted by all three, but when I got ready to leave about an hour later, Max caught me and said, “Bubbe, the silly band is not for you to keep, you could where it when you’re here.” Sometimes parting with precious gifts is just too hard!
Do you remember the gifts you gave when you were a child? Was it a picture, a poem, or a decorated bar of sweetheart soap? The gifts kids give seem to last forever: Hard to throw away, and first to bring a special memory to mind. I have a clay ashtray in my nightstand drawer my daughter Rachel made with her name scratched on the bottom. Every Friday night I use the Shabbat candle mat, Craig made me in his first year of pre-school almost thirty years ago. Michael made me the teapot in his high school art class that sits on my kitchen counter. And just the other day when I was going through some files, I found a story book Howie had written and autographed for me with his hand-drawn picture on the cover.
Of course I treasure the gifts of little children, but like timing a fad, I find it’s too hard for me to give just the right gift at just the right time. I rarely bring my grandchildren the little treats and presents grandmas are supposed to have in their purse when they come to visit. They have so much already. I’ve trained those closest to me, not to expect gifts from me and not to give them. I do let my checkbook give away gifts when it’s that time of year, but no greeting cards. I won’t give in to the commercialization of sentiment. It may sound bah-humbug, but it works for me and my family.
I am loving and I am loved. That’s the gift I share. Family, friends, and God don’t need trinkets and toys to know I care.
Let me give not only of my resources,
but also of my spirit.
May the kernel light of goodwill within me
be made greater with the giving,
passing from fingertip to fingertip,
each kindness kindling another.
May every hand learn the warmth of fellowship
to receive in need and to give in prosperity--
passing the flame ever forward
until all the world is awash in the brilliant light of giving.