The text messages started two weeks ago.
“Need stocking stuffer ideas for the girls.”
“What do the girls want for Christmas?”
“Do you think she would like this?”
“What size does she wear now?”
I’m incredibly grateful for family who loves my daughters, who wants to give them so much of what they want and need. I’m thankful, too, that those family members are thoughtful enough to ask for my input. But this year, more than any year before, these questions are stressing me out!
Part of it is simply timing and life stage. When I look up from my phone after reading a sweet text message and see blocks and Cheerios scattered over every surface of my house, it’s hard to ask for One. More. Thing. And even though both my girls seem to outgrow their pants at a startling rate these days, my leaning tower of clean-but-not-folded laundry mocks my idea to ask the doting grandparents for new clothes.
Another text message arrived the morning of Thanksgiving. This time my father-in-law was asking if I’d like him to bring the Black Friday ads from the paper when he came for dinner that night. It was sweet of him to offer, so I said, “Yes, great! Thanks!” but I knew, even before I started my cooking for the big day, that I wouldn’t be looking at them. I could not imagine dredging up an ounce of enthusiasm for shopping – and I didn’t.
What is it about this year and the holidays that has me all worked up? Why don’t I want to shop – at all? How did I make it to December with an empty “gift ideas” spreadsheet? (You don’t keep a gift ideas spreadsheet? Well, you should. It’s super handy. If you use it.) What’s going on with me this year???
Normally I love buying and making and wrapping and giving gifts. It’s really one of my favorite things. But it seems I’ve lost that loving feeling for all things present-related this year. I just can’t stomach the thought of giving or receiving more stuff. I just can’t get excited about spending my time and money, two resources that feel depleted after a good but challenging year, on things.
As I’ve been working through all these thoughts about holidays and presents and text messages, I’ve created an alternative wish list for my girls. What I want for them, this year and for always, can’t be found at the store and it will never be discounted in a Black Friday sale. But what’s on this wish list is so much more valuable than anything I could wrap and put under our tree.
A Wish List for My Daughters
- Confidence - More than anything else, I want my girls to know, for sure, that they are loved. That there were created by a loving Father who celebrates and delights in them. I want them to know that, no matter what the world tells them is important or beautiful or valuable, they are adored for the very essence of who they are – by their parents and their God.
- Compassion - I’ve written about how thankful I am that my girls already love each other so much, despite a pretty large age gap. The way they make each other laugh melts my heart every time. I wish for them to never stop caring for each other, even when they’re old enough to argue over who gets to use the bathroom – or the flat-iron – first. But I also wish for them to nurture the compassion they have for others, learning how to care for those closest to us and those around the world as well.
- Cravings - Okay, so maybe I’m stretching this one to find another “c” word, but I do want my girls to crave the good things in life – a relationship with the Lord, a close family, true friends, the chance to make a difference in another’s life, dark chocolate.
- Creativity - My seven-year-old is so very creative, and I wish for her to never lose that gift. I also wish for my 11-month-old to grow up freely using her imagination and thinking outside the box. But I don’t just wish for them to create works of art or music, robots or buildings. I wish for them to be creative when solving problems, choosing the paths to take in their journeys, and fulfilling God’s plan for their lives.
- Courage - Even with all the confidence and compassion in the world, it will take a great deal of courage for my girls to follow their cravings and use their creativity as they grow. I pray that the Lord gives them just the right measure of courage to take those bold steps of faith (and maybe a little bit of comfort for their mama as she stands by and cheers them on!).
When my daughters open their presents from the grandparents later this month, I know they’ll be excited and appreciative. (Of course, one of them will be much more appreciative of the wrapping than the gifts themselves, but that is the nature of an almost-one-year-old!) And so will I! But no matter what awesome new toys and clothes our generous family gives – or what I end up putting in their stockings myself, the biggest gift I’ll give them is my prayer that God grants these “wishes” for my girls.
What do you wish for your daughters this Christmas?
(archive: Original Post date: 12-2-2014)