Everyone is talking about what they are giving their kids for Christmas. I'm constantly hearing questions from other parents. "Did I buy enough?" "Did I buy too much?" "Do you think my ___-year-old will like ____?" And comments: "I really wanted to get them ____, but (it was too much, they don't need it, whatever)."
It got me thinking about what I want to give my children. Not just for Christmas, but overall. Here is what I came up with.
- Unconditional Love. I want them to know that I will love them, forever, no matter what.
- Safety. Not only physical safety - that's a given - but emotional safety. I want them to know that I will always be there to laugh and cry with them, to enjoy the good times with them, and to offer them a hug in the bad times.
- A sense of "home". No matter where we are, I want them to know that as long as we're together, it's home.
- A healthy balance of selflessness and selfishness. I want them to take care of others, definitely, but I hope I can teach them to take good care of themselves, as well. For I have learned the hard way that one cannot help others unless they, themselves, are healthy.
- Spirituality. I don't care if they end up believing exactly what I believe, so long as they have faith that there is a Greater Power at work in our lives.
- Laughter. I want to be a mom who laughs more than I admonish, and who smiles more often than I frown.
- Responsibility. I want them to be productive, contributing members of society, throughout their lives.
- Honesty. I don't want to sugar-coat life for them. I want them to see it for what it is. To quote my favorite poem, Desiderata, "With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."
But, Dearest Miles, and Darling Samantha, most of all, I want to give you the gift of my time. As fleeting as it is, it is by far the most valuable gift I could give you. I love you both. Merry Christmas.