It’s the season of giving — this is especially true in the Rathje household. Yes, it’s December, which means the Christmas holidays are coming, but at our house, December also means birthdays. My husband, three of our four children, and our only grandchild were all born in December. For as long as I can remember, the festivities start with Thanksgiving and end around New Year’s Day. It used to overwhelm me, but now I buckle in and enjoy the ride.
Granted, it is easier to enjoy the ride now that I am not working full time. I am able to think about gifts a little more thoroughly, purchase them at my leisure, wrap them a little more carefully, and mail them at off-peak times. I have picked up gifts in a variety of places as I make my way around town. I have ordered many items online, and for the first time in a very long time, I am actually making several gifts. I can’t tell you specifically what they are, but I will say that I have dusted off my sewing and crocheting skills.
Making these gifts has been quite eye-opening. I started with some small projects that took about an hour each. As I was making these items, I thought about potential recipients; these were the kind of gifts that I could give to a variety of people — coworkers, friends, students. I selected colors with certain individuals in mind and, although I was often crafting in front of the television, I couldn’t help but think about each person as I was creating his or her item.
The projects got a little larger. My daughters were perhaps the first recipients. Since they had recently moved into their first apartment together, I made them some throw pillows and a little mis-matched lap blanket. The items weren’t really spectacular, but I took pure joy in creating them and surprising my girls with them.
One of the largest projects so far is for my son, I sat with his project several nights in a row…I pictured him opening it in his apartment at Fort Bragg. I pictured him figuring out what it is. In my mind, I saw him sitting with it, just as I was sitting with it. My dog snuggled close to me as I worked on it. I saw dog hairs weaving into my creation; I didn’t remove them. I knew my son would see them and smile.
As I have finished project after project, I have gotten a little more daring. The current project is by far the most challenging. I have at times thought of abandoning it, tearing it apart, or throwing it in the trash. It involves multiple pieces that had to be joined together. The joining is imperfect. In fact, the whole project is imperfect, but I keep moving forward on it. I keep hoping and believing that when it is finished it will be, although imperfect, somewhat fabulous.
And I guess that is the object lesson I was writing to today. Each of the people I am purchasing or creating gifts for is imperfect but pretty darn fabulous. In fact, it is sometimes their imperfections that make them so remarkable — their ability to endure despite challenges, to stand in the face of opposition, and to get back up after being knocked down are their most impressive character traits. I am honored to have each of them in my life. I am blessed to have the time, now, to think of each one as I prepare these gifts. I am thankful to bear witness to their fabulousness.