Today over at Childswork (linked...try it and see!) I'm posting about the gifts we receive from our kids. I don't mean the hand prints or crafts they make in school and then send home with your child for the holidays, and I don't mean the gifts you give your child money for and send them shopping with Grandparents to buy...I mean the whole "blessings" of having children kind of gifts. It's the kind of sappy shit I don't really like talking about all that much, which means it'll probably be a big hit.
And by "appreciating" I don't mean the whole, "Oh my god, THANK YOU, this is exactly what I was looking for!" speech people give upon unwrapping each and every apparently perfect and timely gift of socks or a sweater or whatever. My mother taught my sister to do that growing up I think. It never seemed to matter what I would come up with around birthdays and holidays, it was always "EXACTLY what I wanted!" and "How did you know??" etc. It probably fooled me for the first 15 years of my life until I got all jaded, and then it was just part of the gift opening script I knew was coming at every occasion for even the stuff that was sized wrong, or the wrong color, or whatever.
And then when I got older and was actually working off a list complete with colors and sizes, it was less about fooling me and more about fooling my kids or something, and I'm so literal about those things that it's hard for me not to answer the whole "How did you know?" thing without saying, "Because it was on your list. Because you told me exactly what you wanted," every time. Actually, now that I think about it, I probably do say that every time. This year maybe I'll change it up. "I just totally guessed!" Or "It came to me in a vision!" Probably I'll catch hell about this because my sister and mother both read this blog, and it'll be before Christmas, so they'll probably change up the script proactively just to fuck with me and say something like, "What is this? I hate this." And then I'll have to scramble to come up with some suitable reply like, "Emma told me she thought you'd look beautiful in it. See, Emma, I told you Gramma thought your taste sucked." Just to make her feel guilty for playing a trick on me. Maybe none of that will actually happen. You have to be careful how much of what I say you actually believe.
Reacting properly to the surprise and gush of gratitude is especially hard when they buy it and wrap it themselves and then just give me the present to give to them. Sometimes my wife does that. She'll buy boots, because you just can't buy the right boots for a woman, unless she's a stripper, I suppose (then you just buy the tackiest boots you can find and they're perfect..."Oh Cheetah print thigh high boots that lace up the back with hot pink ribbon? AND the 6" heels have goldfish swimming in the 4" platforms??? I LOVE them!!!"), so she picks out the boots herself. She'll wrap them because I'm hopeless at wrapping, and then she'll act surprised for the sake of the kids when she unwraps them. It's perfect for the lazy husband in me, because I only am required to write "To Leslie, From Jim" on the tag.
Wow...I really strayed off topic there. The POINT is, not that sort of appreciation. The post is a little bit about perspective, which is a recurring theme, and a little bit about just honest to goodness surprise and bewilderment at an unexpected side effect of the whole child rearing process...special needs or otherwise.
I probably should have posted the link above, because some of you will only breeze through this anyway. And it should link to the post so Childswork sees the traffic. I'll go back and change that.
Anyway, here's the link: "The Gifts We Receive"