A few days ago, I shared the first blog in a series I’m writing, inspired by Cami Walker’s 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving can Change your Life.
A quick recap of my first three gifts: A doll, two pink invitations, a Ziploc bag full of goodies.
My Journey continues with a girls’ night, a donation, a photo, Starbucks, and snuggles.
Please enjoy…and as always, I love hearing from you!
Gift #4: Tuesday, February 28
Tonight, my gift is one I am giving to myself. I’ve had plans in my calendar for weeks for a girls’ night. For those who know me, you can be sure it wasn’t the head-to-a-bar-and-drink-my-face-off type of night. Quite the opposite. My girlfriend picked me up and we drove to another friend’s home close by. One friendship dates back 30 years to sleepover camp…the other to our first year in high school. In our sweats and Lulus, the three of us drank (tea!) and took turns sharing our challenge of the day/week/month/year…and good stuff too!
We talked, laughed, and supported each other in the way only let-your-guard-down girlfriends can. It was the kind of scenario that, in the movies, would have spilled over until dawn, with the three characters (I’ll be Katherine Heigl!) eventually crashing on the cozy couches, snuggling with an oversized knitted blanket. But alas…we all have kids/jobs/stuff so the tea party ended at 10:45. But it was just enough. Having learned just 24 hours earlier that my dear friend, Ramona, passed away after so many years of fighting, it was just what I needed. And perfectly fitting, in fact, because laughing and smiling are centre stage in my fond memories of Ramona from our childhood.
Gift #5: Wednesday, March 1
After saying my final goodbyes to Ramona at her funeral, choosing a gift today was easy. Ramona battled Cystic Fibrosis from the day she was born – so naturally her family’s suggestion was that loved ones make donations to Cystic Fibrosis Canada to honour her memory and support this very important cause. After everything Ramona gave to this world, it was the very least I could do.
Gift #6: Thursday, March 2
Tonight my cousin, Sarena, and I joined a few dozen fellow Jewish woman for Loaves of Love, a Challah bake at Toronto’s Village Shul – to knead, laugh, bond, and pray for good health for members of our community. I suppose my prayer was a gift…and an incredibly important one. But I will share one more mindful moment of giving. As the event was wrapping up, I asked one of the organizers to take a picture of us posing with our shaped dough. Sarena, who lives in Toronto, is originally from Ottawa where her mom still lives. Her mom is not in optimal health, and recently lost her own mother. And her husband, Sarena’s dad, passed away almost ten years ago. I suspect her mom worries about her daughter and misses her dearly – and I had a hunch a photo like this, with the two of us bonding and baking, would warm her heart…and my mom’s too. I texted the photo to both of our moms (who are first cousins and share a special bond). It cost me nothing and took five seconds. Her immediate response: “You 2 look so cute (insert Emoji happy face). Have a good Shabbat. xoxo.” And of course my mom was equally delighted. It’s always the simple things, isn’t it?
Gift #7: Friday, March 3
While we enjoyed a full Shabbat table tonight with 20 family members in all (a delicious potluck dinner was topped off with a “Talent Show” performed by the young cousins), these Friday night festivities were planned weeks ago. Actually, the show was a spontaneous addition…but semi-coordinated-but-always-entertaining performances, featuring “tickets” and name tags, have become a regular thing in our family! The point is, as much as I loved hosting my family, I’m not counting Shabbat as my gift. Early in the afternoon, I went onto the Starbucks website and sent my hubby – a very loyal Gold Star member! – a $5 e-gift card with a sweet note referencing a relationship talk we attended a few weeks ago, Love is a Verb.
Did he need more Starbucks bucks? Um…no….he thoroughly enjoys his pre-loaded, beloved app, stars, and perks. Did it feel great to give him something I know he’ll use and love? Yes! Bonus: it’s a 2-for-1! He loved receiving it today…AND he’ll experience a second boost when he redeems it (thinking of me of course), and sips his Venti Iced Coffee…light on the ice. As my 5-year-old son would say…BAM!
Gift #8: Saturday, March 4
While today was full and lovely (Shabbat morning at the Village Shul followed by a delicious Shabbat lunch at a friend’s house), as Hockey Night in Canada sounds filled our family room, I still hadn’t offered a gift to anyone or anything. As I was tucking my spirited five-year-old in for the night, he gathered three books for me to read. Ready to wind down myself, I negotiated down to two and he agreed relatively easily (I suppose he was a teeny tiny bit tired at 9:30 pm). After reading the two books, I offered my gift: “Do you want one more?” I asked as he nestled in closer, sweetly sucking his thumb. “Yes!” he replied swiftly, his eyes opening widely in pure delight (thumb still in place).
Three books turned into four and my gift was complete…no bow necessary. As cliché as it sounds, his joyful expression and the twinkle in his eyes when he heard mommy was snuggling for a few minutes longer, were the real treasures of the day!
More gifts coming soon…please continue to follow my journey.