Would You Give Up Gift-Giving?

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.”

– Unknown

Day 198.

When you reflect upon your childhood, what are some of your fondest memories? Was it the Nintendo Gameboy you received? Or maybe the Air Pressure Super Soaker, or Scorch, the cute and loveable Beanie Baby?

The fulfillment and joy that encompassed my childhood did not come from the gifts given to me, but from the moments shared among those I cherished. Moments filled with laughter and love, teachable moments where my parents chose to instill lifelong values.

If given the option, would you give up gift-giving?

“According to a new Harris Poll survey on behalf of SunTrust, 69% of Americans said they would.”

“43% of respondents said they feel pressured to buy gifts and spend more money than they can afford. With the extra time and money saved by eliminating gift-giving, 60% of Americans said they’d spend more time with loved ones, 47% would save money or invest it, 37% would pay down debt and 25% said they would use the money on activities with friends and family.”

(https://www.ajc.com/news/national/nearly-americans-say-they-give-gift-giving-this-holiday-season-would-you/l2PTRFjwFzMnnsQlX6KBFO/)

This year my husband and I came to the decision to, “switch gears”, and give our daughter a Wee-Ride for her birthday! It is like a regular bicycle that connects to the parent’s bike, allowing your child to ride with you.

Instead of giving her another toy, why don’t we give her a gift we can all share in? The gift of memories!

– My Husband

We have tried with much success this year, not to buy our children’s happiness, but to gift them with opportunities for happiness. Giving the gift of experiences, fulfillment, and memories!

Our children are growing at a substantial rate, and we had to replace their bicycles with new ones, and they could not be happier! Both my husband and I have had the pleasure to share in our children’s excitement!

I watched as each of my children sped past me on their new bicycles, the melodious sounds of their laughter like that of a wind chime. It brought both a sense of joy and peace into my heart, they were happy! It was at that moment that I realized how vitally important these family outings would be for our children. Why?

“Love is not about how often you say I love you, but how often you prove it to be true!”

Our children will not be children forever! They do not want our money, though they may ask for it on occasion. They want both our time and affection. They want moments shared with their Father, after he returns home from work, maybe reading a favorite book! They want moments shared with their Mother, playing hide-and-seek, whilst hiding in one of the kitchen cabinets! They want cuddles, and kisses – they want moments filled with giggles and grins, and fits of laughter! They want us to present them with the chance to create memorable moments – the only expectation being for them to be who they truly are… children!

My step-son came to stay with us this month, following suit with his siblings, he inquired multiple times if we were going on a bike ride after Dad came home. He stayed with us for a month, and we thoroughly enjoyed him being here!  We have played several games together, been outdoors, and laughed ourselves silly!

Looking back, I know that my children will appreciate these moments, and remember them far more than they would with any new toy we might have bought them. 

Every day is a new opportunity for us as parents to give our children the greatest gift of all, the gift of ourselves, our presence and our time!

January Clarity

50.

This is the number of days that have passed since I woke up with a renewed sense of purpose. A realization that things needed to change. I felt an urgency to transform my quality of being. An almost animalistic desperation to find the happiness in my life that I have yearned for all these years.

Everywhere I looked, and everywhere I turned, I could see nothing but chaos and clutter. Mayhem and Mess. Things were strewn about our home. Our days were empty and exhaustive. Our lives were what I would define as, mere insanity.  We were doing the same things over and over again… and expecting a different result.

We asked ourselves the same question every day, “what are we going to do?” Neither my husband nor myself ever had an answer. We would stand silent, for what seemed like an eternity, staring at each other with vacant expressions on our faces. “I don’t know,” was always our answer.

We were what I would call a, “fly by the seat of our pants” family! There was never a plan, never a schedule, never a clue what we were going to do. It wasn’t working. Life wasn’t working. The maelstrom of war… a war going on at home. We were fighting amongst ourselves, and my husband and I weren’t the only casualties. We had unknowingly and unintentionally enlisted our two children into the same battle.

My 7-year-old son is Autistic, he has Asperger’s Syndrome and both he and chaos mix together like oil and water.  My 4-year-old daughter is not Autistic, but she no more needs chaos in her life than my son does. Children need a place they can call home. A place free of chaos, clutter, and calamity. They need clarity. We need clarity… and January gave us just that!

Fifty days ago we began a minimalistic journey, one that would lead us on a path to acquiring more by learning to live with less. Less chaos and disorganization, less time spent in front of electronics, and less junk-food and unplanned meals. Acquiring better health through less processed foods, and more healthy meals. Acquiring the answer to the age-old question, “Mom where are my shoes?” Acquiring more unforgettable moments spent together as a family…

and acquiring a life that is truly unimpeded!