Tag: presence

Presence

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“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.

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I Failed: Christmas Presence

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“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

On Christmas morning after we thoroughly inspected Santa’s cookie crumbs and opened the first stocking stuffers I made my way to the kitchen to produce pleasure in the form of traditional Christmas cuisine. I had prepped the Quiche and monkey bread the night before. Each recipe was carefully adhered to and I knew it was minutes before the bulk of my efforts were unveiled.

Cue chaos.

I opened the fridge to find egg dripping down the side of the door. Somehow my Quiche had tilted and spilled onto the monkey bread. I remember saying to myself, “I can handle this.” I scraped what I could off the monkey bread, preset the oven, and believed it to be salvageable. I got to work on remaking the Quiche and congratulated myself on saving breakfast. I retreated back to gift distribution with great confidence and self-worth.

Minutes later I smelled burning. The bottom of the monkey bread pan had residual egg on it, which was now burning in the oven. As I opened the oven door to grab the monkey bread my oven glove caught fire. Panicked, I dropped the monkey bread pan and sticky contents spilled everywhere. I mean it. No surface was safe.

As I set to work for a quick clean up to ensure I wouldn’t miss more magic, I noticed my Quiche wasn’t rising.

Cue meltdown.

I had tried so hard to create a perfect Christmas morning breakfast. I failed.

It became apparent to my parents and husband that I was in crisis. Ever so gently my mother pulled me aside. She took it upon herself to remind me that a perfect Christmas breakfast was far from what we were celebrating or what mattered. She urged me to sit down and watch my girls, which of course instantly brought me back into the realm of reality. This, their faces, their wonder, and their joy is what I’d remember. The messy magic and the miniature hugs were all that mattered.

The kitchen was sticky for a few days. My parents ended up walking to Dunkin Donuts to produce our morning Christmas feast. I sat, coffee in hand, next to my love watching our little loves revel in the spirit of the season.

I think my mother was wrong about one thing. I won’t forget about the Christmas morning I failed. It reminded me about the power of presence.

For 2019, here’s hoping we remember perfection is overrated and that presence is the perfect present.