gifts this year

My gifts aren’t under the tree this year.  They’re right in front of me.

Right choices (finally), genuine smiles, cherished moments, tears, the breathe of life that is no longer taken for granted.

The struggles that reap endurance, the pain that sees a rainbow.

A spark received from giving that ignites an excitement that spreads joy.

Help that is given, and received with gratitude, that results in unexpected success at school. “Mom, we won!”

Graduation from something that tested one to the core.  Walking proud, with honor.  Being proud of such a great accomplishment.  Letting go of the man he has become.  Watching him soar.

Trust given, confiding in and leaning on each other. Family.

Friends, a.k.a. “my squad,” (according to my daughter) who have pulled me forward even when my heels were digging into the mud.  Friends who know I’m stubborn, and love me anyway.

This year, my eyes are open.  My mind is clear.  I am standing tall. I am holding on.

Watching my children grow older, and realizing how much they love me.  Each one in their own unique way.  Being able to discuss the big questions about life with them.  Seeing their strengths develop.  Hoping they will believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.

This moment, as I watch my children put ornaments on the tree, I love that they are asking when we received each one.  I love being present with them.

“How old were you when you made this one with Grandma?”

“Remember when Grandma came to the school to have lunch with me every day?”

“I made this one with that babysitter who ran down the street trying to catch me when I tried to run away from her.”

“How do you remember so much about these ornaments?”

“We should start buying some ornaments for our brother, so he can accumulate, remember, and cherish them like this someday.”

This year, I have a greater appreciation for the gifts that are right in front of me.

This year, I realize that no matter what we buy, no matter how beautiful the wrapping, the item inside doesn’t compare to the gifts that can’t be wrapped.

The gifts this year are priceless, and held within our hearts.

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