It is World Series time again and Americans are evenly split between those held hostage by their televisions every night and those who have no idea baseball is even being played right now. (Although there are other divisions in US citizenry, for this post I’m going with only that particular division. Bear with me.) Knowing that a bunch of men are sprinting about in tight pants brings several things to my mind, one of which is the concept of “priceless-ness”. In 1997, during that world series, MasterCard began cheering our lives with depictions of things with tangible costs, as well as those which are priceless. What is priceless, anyway? By definition, it is understood that to be priceless is to be so precious that no dollar value can be attached to it. By application, it is understood that the notion of that which is priceless changes per person and per situation. The individual sets both the value and the cost. Because everything in our lives, indeed our very lives, has a value and a cost. And it is our very own perceptions that create both. If you follow this blog, you know that as a person I tend to not shy away from pondering the bits and pieces of my life. And of late, you know that I also have shared how dark my life view has been. But even though I struggle in my life, I know how priceless my life truly is. And it is made priceless by those I value so very, very much.
I was blessed to receive several gifts for my birthday. Mister Soandso knew my 8 year old espresso machine has been sputtering towards death for a few months now so he splurged and brought home a “single-serve-coffee brewer” with a fancy-schmancy name. I love it. And use it with wild abandonment. Because we all know how much I love coffee and am fueled by it. Mister is no fool – keeping me caffeinated goes a long way towards keeping me happy. Have I mentioned how much I love it and am thankful for his thoughtfulness? (He is awesome and I say that not only because he sometimes reads my blog. Hi honey!)
But his greatest gift was enabling our children to give me gifts as well. For Littlest, gift giving is more like opening the flood gates because he is so funny and creative. I would never have thought to ask for a “PacMan Pot Holder” but it is precisely the kind of gift a five-year-old gives a mama prone to burning herself in the kitchen.
And Middlest instructed her dad that she wanted to buy me something for the kitchen as well. When I asked her why she thought a gorgeous enameled red Dutch oven was a good gift for me she said, “Because you love to cook and you are good at it and it makes you happy.” She knows me so well.
Biggest sat down and made me two pictures that now grace the mantel right by my peace cranes. I love that he drew me a tulip–my favorite flower–and captured the fleeting beauty of a Monarch butterfly. And I love that they are both small but pack a bold punch of color. Because if you know much about me it is that I like bold and I like color and I like a big statement.
Coffee, protection, a vessel to feed others, and a bit of beauty – very priceless gifts indeed. And really, they are perfect gifts to celebrate the advent of a 43rd year of life. Because as a fellow Libra (just a tad farther along the birthday line-up than myself) remarked, the 43rd birthday is a bit like a Tuesday. Nothing scary or something to dread like a Monday, but not quite the celebratory milestone of a Friday.
But really, Tuesdays are pretty good at one thing: reminding a body of what matters. BEING. Being present, wholly, for the day that is before you. Being present for those who walk the path alongside you. Being present for the things that you look forward to, but present as well for what has come before. BEING.
And that is what I am feeling so blessed with on this Friday. For today’s chance to be with those who are so priceless to me.
Two bits of pricelessness I want to share: a book and a reminder.
Several weeks ago, Littlest had to accompany me to the office. He was quickly bored and asked if he could use some post-it notes to make me something. What he created, after much hunching over, arm thrown around his artwork so it could be a secret until he was ready to reveal it, was a little “flip-book” type thing. It is titled, “I Heart” (He used the heart shape, but I am stymied how to replicate it here without a ton more cursing and howling, so please use your imagination and don’t bother telling me all I need to do is blah, blah, blah.) Anyway, the book. It has seven pages and has a page noting each of his family members, by name, and that he loves them. “I love mi mom!” “I ❤ mi Dad” et cetera. But the last page of text is my favorite. and it looks like this:
How perfectly priceless is that? My Littlest, the child I never in a million years would have dreamed to actively and purposefully try to bring into my life, ended his book with “I love me”. My child, who so often is the force of chaos in my day and thusly is the catalyst behind so many moments of my worst parenting when I am frustrated and short-tempered and less than the parent I want to be, feels enough love and encouragement and joy in his life that he is able to in great big letters announce that he loves himself. That is priceless. It is a by-product of so many things I cannot take credit for but which thankfully reside in his heart and it is priceless.
Also priceless in this life of mine is that I am not alone in my struggle to be a better version of me. And I mean that not in the sense that other people are struggling just as much as I am. No, I mean that I am not alone.
When we struggle, when we are in our places of worry and self-doubt and pain, we can feel so alone in those moments and feelings. But throughout last Monday, both here on my blog and in my cyber-places, people I know both “in real life” and those only via Facebook and Twitter held out their hands, hearts, and selves. They reached out and reminded me that by being willing to share my true feelings, I was allowing them to offer what they could to me. And they did and I am so thankful.
To connect with others, to admit we need help and then accept the help that is offered is a priceless thing indeed. It is a gift that is greater than the giver or the receiver. It leaves both parties better for having partook. It is a gift to our past selves as well as to our future selves.
Together we are better.
And that is the place from which I aim to live this 43rd year of my life: being better. It will mean being more together with others and with the sides of my self that I struggle to accept. It will mean finding the ways to say “I love me” as well and to say it without discomfort or fear but with honesty. It will mean being better in many ways, but I hope it will also mean that the 43rd year of my life will allow me to give gifts to others I never dreamed of giving and for which they may never have dreamed of asking.
And that would be priceless.