I’m a gift person.
(If you’ve read The Five Love Languages, you know what that means. If not, here’s Dr. Gary Chapman’s theory in a nutshell: each of us has a primary and probably secondary way that we express and receive love. The idea is that our spouse or significant other might bring us flowers, but if we receive love through acts of service, we might prefer him washing the dishes or putting gas in the car without being asked.)
For me, gifts are one of the primary ways I express love. [Interestingly enough, I receive love in a different primary love language, but that’s a story for another day.]
I’ve been a gift person a long time. When my grandmother died, we found her batch of cards. Like every card she had ever received. There, in an old-school Valentine envelope was a beautiful diamond ring I had cut out for her, most likely from the Sears catalog. My mother had written “Love, Dawn” at the bottom — so I know i couldn’t have been too old when I gave her that gift. The pack rat in me wishes I had kept it, but I kept the memory of that gift– and the knowledge that it meant enough to her for her to hold on to it. That’s a good gift in my book.
Sometimes I can still find just the right gift. Today, I had a great reminder of such a moment of personal victory: Last November, for my sister’s birthday, I ordered a Paris coloring book. Adult coloring books, of course, are all the rage, and I knew she would enjoy the artistic outlet. When I saw the Paris version, I knew I had a winner.
The problem, of course, is time. With her work schedule, crocheting and otherwise busy life, I worried that she wouldn’t have time to enjoy the gift. I REALLY worried after she mentioned casually in conversation that she almost bought herself a coloring book, but decided against it because she knew she wouldn’t have time.
Oops. This conversation was after her gift was wrapped and everything!
But my instincts were right. And it made me feel good when that’s the past time she brought with her for spending the day at the hospital. Calming and creative, but not requiring excessive concentration. That coloring book might just make the best gifts list after all.