Last weekend was a big birthday for me. It’s a big birthday for mom! they all shouted. Not THE big-birthday, but a big one. (No, I’m not going to tell you. You can guess. Be careful, my fab friends.)
What do you want for your birthday? my husband asked me a few weeks ago. ?????? It’s like I didn’t even understand the question. Same thing with my mom: Is there anything that you have your eye on that I can get for you? (What I really want these days is green grass in my backyard, but that type of gift wasn’t on the table.) I was touched by their interest, but found myself unable to come up with any good answers for them.
Staying true to my own history about forfeiting presents, I told both of them: I don’t want anything. Before you start telling me what an idiot I am, here’s why: After wracking my brain, I kept returning to the same thought: What I wanted could not be wrapped up. Instead of presents, I wanted presence from those I love the most. And yes, I know how hippy-dippy that really sounds.
There’s a fun firecracker of a mom I follow on Twitter named Heather Schuck (or, @Glamajama). From time to time she tweets a fab article on her site called Engaged Parenting: Give Presence Instead of Presents. Not only do her points resonate with me deeply (even as a rookie mom), but I realized this last couple of weeks that us moms sometimes need PRESENCE too. We give, we give, we give and frankly… sometimes we need to get that energy back so that we can replenish and give again.
After a few weeks of being inexplicably antsy, frustrated and just plain pooped out from the daily mechanics of it all (i.e.: NOT sitting down… ever), I finally figured out I needed presence from the important people in my life. For my big-birthday, I could give a $hit about opening a gift. I wanted a fun day outside with my girls dressed up, shopping and eating chocolate+raspberry cheesecake. I wanted a hot date with my husband at our fave live-music-and-tapas+sangria place. I also wanted a chic, girl-time dinner (with no husbands, boyfriends or babies) like we all used to do in our before-we-were-real-grownups days but don’t do anymore. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I needed.
So that’s what we all did. Exactly in that order. Without checking my iPhone (except a few times…for work things involving this blog). And just as I hoped, the events yielded some of the best “presents” (memories & surprises) ever (even though I’m still in love with this from last year). Watching LilMiss scarf down bread crumbs and LadyP smear raspberry sauce all over herself, holding hands with my husband across our table-for-two (just like when we dated) and laughing & reminiscing with my friends (while also miraculously scoring a picture with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Ken Todd – aka Lisa Vanderpump’s husband – at his Sur restaurant!) during my girlfriend-dinner added up to a perfect weekend. You can’t slap a bow on that kind of stuff.
Instead of feeling another year older, I actually feel years younger. Happier. Content. Fun again. Wiser. I also now remember how thankful I am for things that I sometimes forget about on a day-to-day basis when I’m tired of loading and unloading the dishwasher.
So thank you to my daughters for ‘taking’ me to lunch, thank you to my husband for our date and thank you to my friends for just showing up. (And thank you to Lisa Vanderpump for letting me borrow your hubby for a fab fangirl photo.) Happy birthday to me.
And happy next-birthday to YOU.
Don’t underestimate the power of putting presence in your life…
DID YOUR BIRTHDAY WISHES CHANGE WITH MOTHERHOOD?