Number 7 has a short day every Monday, and she gets off the bus around 1 pm, a couple hours before everyone else gets home.
This past Monday, I decided that rather than try to run errands or give her something to occupy herself so I could get some stuff done, I’d instead spend some quality time with her.
Because I rarely take advantage of this alone time we have.
So she helped me make something to eat, and then we sat down together at the dining room table for a lunch date.
She looked at me and exclaimed, “Mommy! This is like going to a restaurant. I LOVE YOU!!!”
She was so happy.
And at that moment it became crystal clear that the biggest thing my kids want really isn’t a remote control robot or Shopkins or an iPod or anything that can be bought in a store.
What they really want is time with me. And undivided attention.
And this year, I’m committed to giving that to them.
My biggest Christmas gift to Number 7 is going to be Monday afternoons.
I am reserving them for her.
Because time is flying by.
And nothing is predictable.
The Universe is slapping me in the face with wake up calls regarding this.
I am Facebook friends with someone who I’ve never met.
In fact, I don’t even really know how I became friends with her. And I don’t know much about her at all.
But I do know that she’s driven and successful and intelligent and in decent shape and in her thirties.
And a couple weeks ago she had a heart attack.
If someone told me that out of my list of 800+ Facebook friends, one of those people was going to have a heart attack two weeks ago, this person would not have been my first guess.
Or even my 700th.
There were no warning signs. Nothing.
And I am finding myself being rattled by this woman’s experience that came out of nowhere.
Then a couple days ago, something else happened.
A different friend shared another story.
Her friend’s four-year-old daughter died in her sleep a few days ago.
Just like that.
Out of nowhere.
And today, two days before Christmas, instead of enjoying the excitement and anticipation of Christmas morning with their daughter, those parents burying her.
I cannot even imagine. IT makes me sick to even think about it.
My intention is not to be a Debbie downer two days before Christmas.
My intention is to give you all a wake up call, too.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have that last thing you needed at the grocery store.
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t get to do whatever those last remaining things on your to do list were.
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t make those cookies you decided you had to make.
Put your phones down.
Step away from the computer.
Don’t worry about the quality of the wrapping job you are doing (your kids don’t give a crap if there are bows on their gifts).
The biggest present you can give your kids (and yourself) is to be present.
Sit with them.
Watch a movie with them.
Read a book with them.
Play a game with them.
Snuggle with them.
Ask them what they’d like to do.
And then do it.
Over the course of the next few days, worry less about documenting every single second with your camera and worry more about documenting them with your brain.
Your kids may not realize it, but they don’t really want presents.
They want presence.
And no matter how much money we have, that’s a gift we can all give to our kids.