the gift that keeps on giving
the gift that keeps on giving
I was rounding up the presents I got Justin for Christmas and I realized how impersonal our gifts have become over the years. We have reached that stage where we buy each other things we need, not things we want (Ok, he got me the camera this year, but I left him enough hints about it). I wanted to do something special this year, something sweet in addition to the cds and dvds and weights I bought him.
We have been together three years, and I think as time goes on, couples tend to forget where they came from. Those heady first weeks of a relationship, the things that brought you together and bound you together, the little things that ended up meaning a lot.
We went through a lot to get to the point we are at now. Every one in a while, we will lay in the dark of night and talk about those early days and the things we used to do and feel and say. We agree that sometimes we take each other, and our love, for granted. It's good to think about those times when we weren't so sure it would work - not because of each other but because of circumstances - and when there was a quiet desperation to our relationship. We both can relive every moment of those times, word for word, breath for breath, down to the last detail of weather and sounds.
It was this time of year when it all began. We met, online, in November and by December had forged a relationship that was almost frightening in its intensity. There was a time when we were apart, unable to contact each other, and if I close my eyes, especially in this weather, and put on certain music and can (and I don't know why I do it) relive the exact feelings I had back then.
I decided that the best gift we can give each other is to never forget those times. To remember when we weren't together all the time, when too many miles seperated us and we depended on late night phone calls and instant messaging to spend time together. When we savored every single moment we had, every word we spoke, every feeling displayed. Before the life of whose turn it is to do the dishes and stolen moments in the laundry room between dinner and homework.
So we came up with the idea of giving each other memories for Christmas. We are each to find little mementos that for some reaosn remind us of those days or mean something special to us; things that any other person would look at and view as nothing much, but to us mean the world. We will open the boxes on Christmas morning, before the kids get up and throw the day into disarray. And we will take each item out of the box one by one and explain what it is and why it reminds us of the other person or another time we had.
My box will consist of: the train stub from his first trip to New York to see me; a napkin from Perkins in Stroudsburgh, PA, on which there are scrawled directions back to Long Island he wrote for me, complete with little notes that I was to read at certain points on the way home; the first snail mail letter I received from him, January 2, 1999; a packet of sugar, which is just one of those inside jokes that no one else would understand; an issue of Sandman, which he read to me over the phone one night when I was having trouble sleeping; and my favorite thing, a cd I made of all the songs that remind me of those days and a little note saying what exactly the songs mean to me. This, to me, is the most important item. Music is an important part of each of our lives - it was our love of music that brought us together and led us to finding out other things we had in common.
Putting this cd together, and the rest of the box, has been an act of love for me. Just the act of making this present for him has already accomplished what I wanted to do on Christmas day: remember why we are togther, what brought us together, and appreciate the little things that keep us smiling and loving and laughing.
I'm anxious to see what is in the box he gives me, and how similar or different our gifts are. More than anything bought in a store, anything gift wrapped that came with a receipt, this is the gift I want to give and want to get. The gift of appreciation for everything in our hearts.