‘Tis the season…for overwhelm. Every Xmas, I tend to get overwhelmed. My love language is NOT gift giving – especially in “have to” gift-giving times. I am not one of those moms who knows the “right” toys for certain ages. I don’t know the “cool gifts”, heck I don’t even know what styles are “in” right now for me! With our children now in full “magic of Christmas” swing, I can so see how moms/parents could get consumed by the whole present thing and lose sight of what is most important.
I found myself the other night with Brian after the kiddos were asleep and the contents of Santa’s bag spread out on our kitchen floor, seeing what we had and making sure everyone had “enough” of the “right” stuff. I found myself spending waaaaaaaay too much time checking our “lists” and getting more and more anxious – did Clara have enough? Is it “balanced” in terms of “girly stuff’ and stuff that actually challenges her? What about Aidan – he’s not that in to superheroes any more and more in to magic – do we give him the superhero stuff we had left over from last year? And Brian – I can’t find him that sweater he wants, I even had Maria on the search, what do I do if I can’t find him anything?” In comes “overwhelm.”
It’s all self-induced. Our families are pretty chilled. I probably wouldn’t have to have anything for anyone (ok, besides the kiddos) if I didn’t want to. But I want to have something for them. Yes, yes, I could make things – and I often do. But even then, trying to decide WHAT to make folks can leave me feeling pretty overwhelmed.
What I’d really like to give for xmas? Presence. What I’d really like to receive for xmas? Presence.
I mean, come on, do any of us really “need” any THING? “Presence” is such a hot commodity these days. Our undivided, un-opinionated, un-rushed presence. Our mindful attention to another person that communicates, “I see you” and “I’m in no rush.”
Could you imagine – a little note under the tree saying, “Brian, this xmas, I’m giving you my presence. My compassionate attention when you are tired in the morning. My un-rushed kiss as we get the kiddos off to school. My silence when I’d rather say something about how you aren’t doing it ‘my’ way. My eyes open to really SEE you and see how I might make your day lighter.”
He’d love it. And that truly would be an act of love – to mindfully and heartfully remind myself to offer my PRESENCE throughout the year.
I think that’s what I’m giving my friends. Yes, I’m pretty good about being there for my friends. But I could add a dash of not rushing and just “I see you.”
I recently was listening to a podcast by Tara Brach. She told the story of a mom who had terminal cancer and decided that with whatever time she did have, she’d live by this motto: “No time to rush.”
None of us know when our last breath will be. None of us have time to rush. That isn’t meant to scare us. It’s meant to open our hearts and eyes to the reality that this life is precious and short. It’s meant to prompt us to give our sweet, loving presence – to our own hearts, our dear ones, and this world.
Happy presence giving!