This week is my birthday and yesterday I got the most amazing gift I have ever received.
We have a tradition of handmade gifts here on the homestead. Money is always tight and gifts are usually better when thought and effort create them, rather than a factory somewhere out there.
I had to work but when I came home all the boys were on the deck with flashlights.
When I got closer they all shined them on a wooden box laying across a couple pallets in the garden.
It was a cabinet they had made from start to finish in ONE DAY, varnish now drying in the hot night.
Months ago, when I was asked the age old question “what would you like for your birthday?” I had responded that it would be nice to have a place to keep all the tinctures and herbs I had been collecting over the summer.
My current arrangement was overflowing with mason jars and I mused wistfully about the cabinet I had back in Ca. that we had to leave behind.
I did not expect such a response.
My hands were grabbed and I was lead to it; excited voices talking over each other, explaining all the things that I needed to understand about their project.
The thought that went in to each aspect was astounding. They picked out every board specifically because it’s markings.
This one because it looks like a mushroom. “And you LOVE mushrooms.”
This one for the “snake head, because you love snakes.”
This one is in the middle “because it looks like eyes.”
“Doesn’t this look like a dragon fly coming right at you?! Because Daddy’s totem is a dragon fly.”
“It has your initials!!” The little one says. I laughed and squeezed him tight. “That’s a big ‘Z’ on there too.”
“Yep!” He grinned back with (almost all-the-way-in) adult front teeth. Gifting me with a glimpse of the man he will become.
“It also has two circles; one for the Full moon and one for the New AND it’s a Yin yang!!!” Blurts the oldest, as he looks at me with knowing eyes that say- even though his brother’s initial is huge, his is on there TWICE.
Their dad asked them to recount the process they had gone through and they recited the steps, back and forth in rapid succession.
Everyone was grinning ear to ear. Elated with their part of the effort.
I was overwhelmed by the wholeness of it all. The discipline it took to get this thing done in less than a day. Mind you, they also registered and inspected a vehicle (mechanic, town hall and all) and manned a homestead with 11 new duckings and a hoard of various other critters.
Ry said that he asked them a number of times if they wanted to take a break; that they didn’t have to finish it in a day and all they respond with was, “can you screw/cut this for me?”
They were all so proud as they presented it to me and I was without words. Since all three of them couldn’t have stop talking if I paid them to- that was just fine. After the torrent of explanation reduced to a trickle I found myself able to speak again, though not very eloquently.
“Totally , absolutely and completely the best gift ever!” Was all I could come up with.
The next day we installed it in our room. The box they made me last year sits on top perfectly.
I got to stash all my recent efforts and old friends in the same spot for the first time in years.
It truly was the most thoughtful, useful, wonderful, awesome thing I had ever gotten.
I love getting older. The higher you climb the better the view. Growing up is hard work. Sometime life flies at you so fast; it is easy to push aside what matters most, assuming that speed equals importance but when you get some time under your belt you realize that the things that really matter are simple, done with intention and care.
It was nice to have such a moment.
As I age, I start to hope more and more that a if I am to be judged for my actions in this life; it will be by the number of genuine smiles I share with people.
I would be good with that.
There are few things that light up a soul like the warmth of a shared smile between beings. Family, stranger- doesn’t matter. Sharing a kindness with anything is what makes life beautiful.
Today, I was blessed with my families’ thought and toil and I received more then just a place to store jars.
It is beyond words and I am fine with leaving it there. I’m old now and I can do things like that.