Our youngest child graduated from high school this spring, and our gift to him was a grad party. Grad parties are a big deal where we live – white tents, catered food, a fancy cake, and a display of photos of the graduate growing up. And, of course, that pretty box for guests to place their cards!
Last weekend, as we wrote yet another check to place in a pretty box, we got to talking about giving gifts. This summer gifts have almost exclusively been of money. We took a step back and considered what gifts we have we been giving each other this summer. And, what makes a good gift? Money? Time? Our favorite gifts to give each other are gifts of our self with the other in mind.
We learned this a while back when some friends recommended that we give a gift of ourselves to each other for two weeks. They encouraged us to choose a simple, everyday gift, something we did not readily do. Examples of their past gifts to each other were putting the toilet seat down after going to the bathroom during the night and putting the cap back on the toothpaste after using it.
This sounded like a simple, fun challenge to us and so we gave it a shot! Mark gave Mel the gift of control of the TV remote, and Mel gave Mark the gift of closing the kitchen cabinet doors. What an interesting two weeks! Mel decided to not use the TV remote, but to leave the television off the entire time, and Mark didn’t walk into any open cabinet doors. These small gifts became significant. Mark gave up control to Mel. And, we chose evening activities we probably wouldn’t have otherwise chosen, like doing a puzzle together and baking cookies. Mel created a new habit of closing cabinet doors and it has stuck until this day. We learned that gifts don’t need to be lavish. Doing something slightly out of our comfort zone for each other is a real gift of self – and it’s free.