Monday, February 7, 2011

On giving a present to a nine-year-old

Not at all prepared, the Big Day
sneaks up and I have to buy
something, anything. So
I settle for a grab bag type
of gift—an assortment
of surprises. Why is it so
important that she like it?
Is this how she measures
my love? At nine-years-old,
perhaps. So I assemble, first,
a stuffed jack rabbit,
its quirky extended
front feet redeeming it
from the mass of beasts
already littering her room.
And the small glittering
butterfly broach, almost like
real jewelry. Good enough
for her? I hope so. For good
measure I throw in crayons—self-
sharpening—and an artist’s tablet
of blank paper, prods to her
imagination. Back home,
I realize I don’t have wrapping
paper, so the plastic bag
announcing “Staples” in bright red
letters will have to do. As I get out
of the car, I fret, “Will she like this?
Is it enough? Can she sense
how special she is to us?" Then
the relief, the silly relief.
“Grandma! Is this for me?!
I love his feet! How soft!
And this too? How beautiful!
Can I pin it on now?”
Such small things. I continue
to wonder, how does the love
manage to seep through?
Happy Birthday, Alandra.


  1. Oh that gift-giving were as genuine and uncomplicated in our family. Alas, when lack of money has caused hurt in the past or money has been used to divide through competition or money is currently serving as a symbol for devoted love little gifts in Staples bags don't erase the pain or evoke celebration. I was thinking about this before I read your blog. Responding to your blog is helping me to sort through options and possibilities for healing in our family. Thank you. Please keep sharing the wisdom and beauty of your experiences (and the painful ones as well). Much love

  2. Thank you, Mary. You always make me go deeper.