Like many Americans, I buy holiday gifts for loved ones and friends. This year, I labored over one gift in particular; not the actually gift, but the idea of giving this person another gift.
Normally, I am not the kind of who keeps a gift tally. If I give you a gift, I don’t expect one in return nor do I automatically give one . I give with my heart and there in lies the problem with this one gift. The person, whose gift was in question, is someone who I love dearly, but has never gotten me a holiday gift. I never expected one, but always hope for it. Each year I was disappointed. I didn’t need anything expensive, just something even if it was only from the dollar store.
Gifts around the holidays invoke deep cultural and emotional memories and desires. It isn’t the cost of the gift, but the thought that was what was missing.
It wasn’t the only disappointment in our relationship and combined with our gifts for passion and miscommunication, we parted ways in the spring of 2010. The disappointment was on both sides. I am not innocent nor am I a victim. As my students would say, we both had our issues. We never stopped caring about or thinking about each other.
This fall, shortly before school began, we got back in touch and have renewed our friendship. A real gift which has helped the both of us. Both of us had changed for the better, that change has allowed us to support one another and become better friends. I believe now that when two passionate and creative people connect, they never really lose that even if they part ways.
But when it came to buying gifts this year; I found a dozen things which he would like and maybe even love. I didn’t buy any of them. No matter how tempting it was.
My heart already belongs to him, so what more could I give. Putting my energy into another tangible gift that may or may not be returned seemed to me to be a recipe for failure. This isn’t about the past, but the present. It is about me saying no to the old me who always tried to please people in return for love. So the gift for one of the people whom I love and respect won’t be waiting for under the tree. He already has the best I can give him; love and friendship. And I have the same from him.