Presents or Presence

I promised a friend I’d write a few line about the Christmas season.  So, I am sharing some thoughts tonight…this first night of December…

This morning I turned over my calendar.  I always hesitate when I do this.  I stop and read everything that’s on the month that I’m about to tuck away.  Is that odd?  I make sure that I didn’t miss any appointments.  I relive, for a second, the games I watched my kids play.  I count how many more weeks I can go before I color my hair.  Nothing big, I just pause.  Leaving November behind is particularly, ummm, touching.  It is the month of giving thanks.  All month long we are reminded to give thanks, to count our blessings.  I take this practice very seriously.  I do this every morning before I get out of bed, and every night before I fall asleep.  This practice just entered my life four years ago.  Before that, I knew I was thankful, but didn’t consciously think about all the stuff I’m thankful for.  Now I do.  I highly recommend this practice.  It is difficult to take yourself too seriously after you do this for awhile.  If, for example, you are thankful that your neighbor rescued a dog from a shelter, it is difficult to be annoyed by said dog for waking you up with his bark.  If you are thankful your child just earned first chair in the school orchestra, you will not be upset when this child practices late into the evening.  It starts your day on the right foot.  But, I’m getting off track here.

This month of thankfulness has indeed been tucked away again on my calendar.  Before I could even do this, though, the next month came barging in.  Loudly.  Boldly.  Via email.  Via print ad.  Via tv commercials.  Black Friday…indeed.   We all starting hearing about this massive day of consumerism about 10 days before Thanksgiving.  Christmas had snuck itself into the Month of Thankfulness.  And some of us began to wonder…what will I get so-and-so for Christmas this year?   Before we even ate turkey!!!  Shame on us…

What did you get for Christmas last year?  Do you remember more than 2 or 3 things?  Not sure I do.  Not because I didn’t appreciate every single gift, because I did (see above lines on thankfulness).  But because things get lost in the shuffle.  Things get put away, outgrown, used up, eaten.  But, I do clearly remember the party my sis-in-law threw at the local tennis center.  I remember our breakfast on Christmas morning.  I remember working the concession stand during the Holiday Basketball Tournament.  We remember when we are present.  We don’t necessarily remember the presents.  We remember what has really engaged us.  Most often, this is the people, the experiences.  The performance of  The Nutcracker, the dinner with neighbors at the beautifully decorated local winery.  Years ago, a friend of ours came to our (then) annual Christmas Eve Open House in a limo with a woman we had never met.  Hadn’t seen this friend for over a year.  But, man, what an entrance he made!!  As you may have guessed, this new woman became his fiance that evening.  How honored we were to be a part of that special night.  I’ll never forget it. But, I sure don’t remember one gift I got from that year.

So, don’t sweat the details of what goes under the tree.  It will be enjoyed and appreciated for awhile, of course.  But, it’s really more important that you just showed up.  You spent some time with your parents, whether they’re 88 or 48, a little bit of your time is all they really want.  Spend some time with bunches of others, too.  People you only see once a year…ya, this is the season.  It shouldn’t feel like a pain.  It should be what we are doing.  Instead of shopping.  When we’re gone, what will people remember?  The great gifts we gave everyone?  Probably not.  But, maybe someone will remember that you spent an afternoon giggling over lunch.  And they’ll hear that giggle forever.  Wouldn’t that be cool?


About nancy5vic

40-something year old cancer goddess (hah...make that 50-something now!!) raising four children and one husband. Diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2008. Love to travel, cook, bake and spend time with my kids and friends. My perfect day always starts with breakfast out...especially fantastic if I'm with John.
This entry was posted in breast cancer, cancer, family life update, healthy outlook, metastatic, nancy ferrato, survivor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Presents or Presence

  1. Alice Bedell says:

    Nancy, my dear friend, thank you once again!!!! Thank you for once again saying so clearly what is in your heart. You have a gift of putting it all so well. I get it and you are so right. I will make a point to remember my presence more than presents. Terry and I are off to the Cleveland Museum this afternoon with some of his John Carroll buddies. Was beginning to wonder do we really have time? Should we have said yes? Yes we should have and now I am glad we did. I took Colleen to the Nutcracker last night. It was the first time she had sat in the audience. It was a great night. I found myself remembering not only the girls parts in the past, but the scenes as a mom downstairs in the dressing rooms and trap room as well. Thank you too for your countless times of presence over breakfast, lunch or tea!!!
    Love, Alice

  2. Karen Vicarel says:

    Oooh, I especially like this one, Sis! Reminds me of an art piece that is hanging in
    my loft (a present I gave myself, and am thankful for–ha, ha 🙂 The caption reads:
    “Life is a process, and your participation is required. Just show up.”

  3. Joy Pizzoferrato says:

    Beautiful! Thanks, Nancy.

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