My greatest gift is still unfolding and becoming.
Forty-four years ago today (it was a Friday then), my daughter Heather came into this world. In spite of a mentally and emotionally challenging pregnancy, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
The drama of her birth (three days in the making!) has become back story to who she’s been and who she’s chosen to be over time.
What could have been an “all about me” mindset for an only child fully grown instead became an “all about others”. More specifically, for Heather it was all about making the difference in a little 14-month old boy’s life and the life of his sister who was born a few months later. The woman she was babysitting for had mental challenges she could not overcome, and the kids were to be placed in an orphanage and adopted out if someone didn’t intervene.
Heather decided it should be her – or, as it turned out, us as a family.
This happened in Las Vegas but it didn’t stay there. We moved to Denver, then California, then Oregon, then Denver and back to Oregon again, then California.
At the end of all this, Texas. Yes, out of nowhere, we went ‘Midwest’. Heather’s idea and it turned out to be a good one. Lifestyle and work opportunities are more affordable and plentiful here. Who knew?
Gifts are not about perfection – even perfect gifts. They are about enduring and weathering the seasons of our lives, sometimes even being or representing the seasons of our lives. Great gifts keep on giving through the qualities we value in them, through the moments in our lives they inform, transform and inhabit. They shine, touch our hearts and give meaning to each moment that we recognize how much they mean to us.
How much more so with the people in our lives that we’re gifted with. Even during those interactive times we’d rather dis-remember or do over. Somehow those too remain part of the meaning and the worth in our being here, and of sharing those gifts with others.
Thank you for being my gift, Heather. Often I am busy with figuring out how to add meaning and value to my being here through one writing project or another, and today – and on other days as well – I also need to recognize and remember that having a daughter who makes the world a kinder, more inclusive place is about the best – and most needed – gift I could give.
Happy Birthday, hon! May your candles today shine as brightly as you do in heart and spirit. And thank you!