Summer seems like such a celebration time. A plethora of birthdays with mother and father and memorial appreciations. What I’ve come to realize is that I am no longer doing physical presents. It’s not because I am a tight-ass, but I want to give presence. I want to give time. I want to create memories. I want to stop the bullshit that flitters through my mind sometimes, relax, and be with that person. I want to engage. I want to listen to them. I want to play.
My nephew Trenton just turned 5. I took him to Turkey Run State Park in celebration of his big day. No t-shirt he’ll outgrow or some toy destined to gather dust in their attic, will replace the memories and photos I have of Trenton chugging away in the park with his Super T cape on. Jumping in every puddle, looking up at me with a smile and light in his eyes as he thanks me for them (like I put them there), for letting him splash through them, rather than telling him ‘no’. Walking behind him as he grabs Dane’s hands as they navigate through the valleys dwarfed by the surrounding rocks. The feeling as his little hand reaches up to grab mine. Him telling stories after we encounter a snake. The tears in his eyes from the tiny rocks in his shoes, as I sweep him up onto my back, the hero for the day, caring my little Super Explorer home. I will have that experience in my heart forever. As he grows. As he starts having sleep overs. As he starts hanging out with friends. As he starts driving. I will always have that little five-year-old Trenton hiking in the woods on his fifth birthday. And he had me. For hours. For miles. He had me. What a sweet gift we can give: our time and presence. To listen. When I watched Gav and Trenton a few weeks ago, it hit me when Gavin was explaining his Nascars to me, he just wanted to be listened to. He wanted to be heard.
Isn’t that what we all truly want? To feel significant. To know people think about us. Don’t we all want to be loved? Don’t we want to be listened to?
How precious it is then to be able to give that gift. Time. Adventure. Fishing with Gavin for his birthday. Camping out in the back yard. Shooting bows with Dad on father’s day. Spending mother’s day with my mom. Time to me is the greatest gift (and coincidentally my love language).