“For it is in giving that we receive.” ―St. Francis of Assisi
My birthday is next week. I go big for birthdays. And spare me ramblings and rumblings of “when you’re older you won’t care as much.” Birthdays are my thing.
As I age I confess to one celebratory challenge, which is presents. I struggle on what to buy loved friends. I’m equally perplexed when others inquire as to what I’d like to receive. Throughout the year I keep a running list of fun gadgets or indulgences that catch my eye, but I don’t necessarily label things as gift-worthy. Yes, I need a new hair straightener. True, I am always in favor of Amazon gift cards. And one can never go wrong with pinot noir. But do I want to receive these as gifts? Let me be clear, I won’t say no, especially to the pinot noir. However, the thing I crave most on birthdays and beyond is presence.
Go ahead. Roll your eyes. Give me another, “you’re so cheesy, Katie.” I can handle it. But in these mid to late thirties days, when professional, personal, and everything else under the sun zone collides while tending to tiny humans who demand and delight in every ounce of energy, there’s a real lack of presence.
It makes sense. We’re not as available as we used to be and our calendars and chaos look much different. But I want coffee with a friend. I need adult conversation. I crave history and humility with family.
This birthday I made it clear that what I want is time with my beloved and the circle of people who enrich and enliven me. Here’s to the gift of presence. May we recognize it as a gift wrapped in love and delivered with purpose.