Right now I am making gifts for the winter holidays. Well, not exactly right now because I am here at the computer, but I just left that
mess land of wonderment on my kitchen table. As part of taking a break from all of that close work, I also am planning an a game or two of Mah Jong and a quick look at a couple of sites that, if not parallel what I practice, are close enough on occasion to keep me coming back.
Frankly, I am a very high-maintenance kind of forum member. It takes just about every micron, or however you measure such things, of my determination to not offend when reading at those places. Part of the difficulty I face there is that many of the (mostly) women still do not have the length and breadth of life experience that someone of my age has. But, my goodness, there is so much judging going on there, but not only there and probably not a general practice of their day-to-day lives. I sometimes wonder if I was ever like that and the sad and unavoidable truth is that I mostly likely was.
I remember many times when I felt that I had something new to share and could be quite relentless about talking about whatever it was. Try as I can, I do not remember sharing with anyone else how lame or unworthy someone who did not believe the same things as me I might think that someone to be.
Now there is this whole behavioral practice, that is part of people that I like or love or whatever who are ready to jump all over what someone else believes and judge the crap out of them. When it is truly offensive I will speak/write up. If it is racially or culturally or religiously dismissive or that objectifies a group of people, well, you better hunker down and hold on to your tasty bits, because I will take a stand on that sort of thing.
But, most of the time, I just move on and ignore it. Like I did two times just now. I read and move on, not sharing or writing or anything, because to take a stand on all of these relatively minor things makes me just as bad, just as judgmental, just as critical and non-supportive as the behaviors that offend me.
So, anyway, I am making these gifts. Today's efforts were fabric ornaments, the kind you might hang on a tree or wreath, or something. I have big plans to make personalized totes for my coffee friends and fill them with home made soap, marmalade, bath salts, fudge (which is really fabulous and whilst it is a slacker recipe, everyone always wants me to make it) and knitted washcloths. I am also embedding flower seeds into paper and making little books of the pages, with planting instructions and some information about each of the plants. Each is receiving one more thing, something that is related to a personal interest of hers.
One friend is getting a pincushion and needle keep because she is beginning to sew and I know that she does not have either of those, as well as a few sewing notions. Another is getting bookmarks, which are embroidered or plain ribbon (have not yet decided) with beads. One of them is getting three loaves of my bread and so on for the rest. I am trying to make what they like and have said they can use and if it is consumable, so much the better. I have everything except the cotton for the cloths, and I keep forgetting to buy it and they are going to take me a lifetime to finish and I have only six weeks. Erp.
Which cycles right back to worthiness as pertains to the people for whom I am making this crap. I happen to know that each of them wants this stuff, especially the totes because we are all trying to use reusable bags when we shop. But, each of these things was chosen for it's re-gift-ability. So, if one of the recipients is in a mood and just does not want a particular item or finds that she simply does not get around to using it, she can just pass it on to someone else.
You know, when we give a gift to someone, it is because we love or like them and we just want them to have whatever we give without any expectations about how they use or not use it. Once it is given, it is theirs. They can do whatever they like with it. Keep it, use it, give it away, throw it in the trash, whatever they like.
I have another friend...all right, she is my sister, but she is going through another rough bout with her drinking and in this moment I am not all that happy to be related to her. But, you know, it is her life and I can have all kinds of opinions about it, but I have to keep them to myself and let her take this part of her journey on her own. She is only a year younger than I am and I am just worn out with all of the drama.
So, anyway, she and some of her friends gave a money gift to the daughter of one of them on the occasion of the birth of her first child. It was a nice chunk of money and the daughter and her husband used it to take care of some bills related to the baby's birth and to purchase some things they needed for the baby.
That sounds great. You would think. However, the group of them had decided that this gift was to be used to open a savings account for the baby's education. The fact that they never mentioned it to the young parents, and the whole thing about a gift being a plain, old, no-strings, no expectations gift has not lessened their distress over how the money was used. After hearing her complain about this for the third or fourth time, I asked her that if the account was so important to them, then why did they not buy something long-term investment-wise with the money, buy it in the baby's name (although I am not certain that you can legally do that any more) or in the name of one of the parents with the designation that it was for education.
Her answer was that that was too much work and that the parents should have known that such a large monetary gift was for a larger purpose. Maybe they think that when sperm and an egg combine to make a baby that there is some alchemical process that bestows the ability to read minds on at least one of the parents.
The bottom line is that she and the other babes do not believe that the parents were, or still are, worthy of the gift. And, that is what I read today in two different forums. That whole belief that whatever we give, especially if we make it ourselves, should be received by the recipient with extreme and slavish gratitude. Their praises should be sung, although they would be ever so humble about hearing such sweet things said about them. The givers should be petted and fussed over, and if none of this happens or...horrors...the gift is not properly appreciated, then the person who receives the gift is not worthy of the effort that went into making the damn thing.
And, you know, that is part of being a gift giver. If it comes from the heart, then we find out what would please that person instead of putting our pleasure of making and giving ahead of theirs. I try to practice that. Last fall there were two family wedding, nieces of which I am so fond. The weddings were two consecutive weekends, preceded by two other consecutive weekends of wedding showers. They were in two different states, neither of which is the state in which I live. I went to all four events and made certain that what I was giving would serve them.
Once niece always wants me to make something for her. She does not care what it is. She is having her first baby late next spring, and I asked here a couple of weeks ago to choose two colours and an animal. I am making all kinds of stuff for the baby and wanted it at least try to match the colours and decor that pleases her. S'kay, anyway, she wanted wine charms for her wedding gift, similar the the gemstone ones I had made for her mother. I did that, and made a two-drawer chest to hold them. I also made matching coasters, but I keep forgetting to send them to her. The other niece wanted a gift card to one of the department stores in her town.
I was thrilled to oblige both of them.
Because they were gifts.
Because I love them.
Because it was what they wanted or needed, but it does not make any difference to me.
I and they are satisfied because they got what pleased them and I got to do what pleased me, which was pleasing them.
No strings. No expectations. No judgment. Nothing but love.
And, the best part is that there is not any angst or worry or disappointment. That is as it should be. So be it.