“The best things in life are free”
Anyone who knows me can tell you that my idea of the perfect present is a Tiffany’s Box. That’s all. Just the box. Just the simple, elegant, exquisite perfection of that icy blue-green square, the iconic lettering, “Tiffany & Co.”, stamped in black, on the top, wrapped in a pristine white satin bow.
It doesn’t matter what’s inside the box. (it’s gonna be good. C’mon. It’s a Tiffany Box.).
The gift is the gift it comes wrapped in. As far as I’m concerned.
So there’s that.
Then there’s the part that the gift giver has taken the time to know my secret heart, put in the effort and given the thoughtful consideration to what is my ultimate delight when it comes to receiving a gift and gone to Tiffany’s, knowing said heart will skip several beats, pupils will dilate with delight and I will, after gasping, whisper breathelessly, with appropriate reverence, “A Tiffany’s Box”. They know that I will hold the small blue box in the palm of my hand as if it were a precious gem (because it is), gazing upon it as if it were a gift from the Magi filled with something of Biblical proportions. Or bird droppings or toe-nail clippings or nose hairs. Doesn’t matter.
It’s all about the box and the thought that brought it.
Despite my somewhat excessive, rhapsodic ode to The Tiffany Box, I am not, have never been and will probably never be, A Material Girl.
None of my me’s have ever been.
I somehow dodged that bullet. That is completely and 100% the description I would give to another, less savory member of a toxic and, blessedly, estranged family member.
Don’t get me wrong-I love pretty, shiny new things as much as the next conspicuous consumer (with the glaring and totally endearing exception of my best friend Schwink, the single most un-conspicuous un-consumer ever to carry two X chromosomes. But more about that later. More about everything later.).(Promise.).
The reason I know I am not a Material Girl is for reasons that are at the very core of my belief system. Whether I am at my very worst or my very best, or anywhere in between, they are a part of my self-definition, one of only a few areas where I am actually self-aware and not-negotiable in my thinking, not defensive,very comfortable, consistent and, most of all, walk my talk. When it comes to stuff and crap, I hold fast to:
- I don’t own my things, my things eventually end have ended up owning me.
- I’ve always invested in the things that money can’t buy, as opposed to the things that money can buy, and have enjoyed outstanding returns as a result. I stand by this type of long-term, high-yield investing like bankers did with mortgage bonds in the 1970’s. (Pre-“The Big Short”.)
- I’m the girl in Las Vegas people (read: ex-husbands) give their gambling money to for safe-keeping (it goes directly into my bra, if you must know). On more than one desolate, unhappy leaving Las Vegas occasion, you should know, this bra money has covered the hotel bill, gas to get home and purchased diapers once we arrived there.
- On any given trip into the marketplace, no matter how irresistibly shiny, sparkly and/or adorable an item that catches my eye may be, I pick it up, I admire it, I put it down, I walk on by. In that order. No. Problemo.
- During The Hateful Eight, as I began losing and/or giving away all the crap I’d accumulated over decades of being a wife and mother (sets of antique pottery dishes, furniture, art, clothing, small and large appliances…), I did so happily, gratefully and with a huge amount of love. With each thing I passed on, I felt freer, lighter and unburdened. When I no longer needed a storage unit and was down to stacking a few remaining things in Schwink’s garage, I felt as if I had molted (but in a pretty, colorful, blush pink kind of way), that I had shed a skin that no longer fit ( also not in an unattractive, literal and scientific, way. It was all very lady-like. There weren’t any, like, dead, flaky pieces of me or anything like that lying on Schwink’s garage floor. I would never do that. I totally cleaned up after myself. And disinfected.).
It feels very fitting to write about gifts today. It’s Mother’s Day and gifts today can be a yardstick for many mothers and their kids that are somehow meant to measure appreciation and acknowledgment, say thank-you, pay tribute to mom and all that she is, means and does, all day, every day, over the course of the year and/or her life as a mother. And while I see the value of a fancy and expensive brunch, the pricey jewelry, the flowers ordered and delivered as well as all the other markers on that yardstick, (been all there, gotten all that), this first Mother’s Day in recovery, mine is a different ruler. For me, and I am sure I can’t be alone in this, it’s the thought and the immeasurable quality I delight in, not the monetary value, quantity or quality of my Mother’s Day gifts this year.
Exhibits A, B and C, for your consideration.
Many Merci’s, La Belle
I received my Mother’s Day gift from La Belle earlier this Spring (it’s also my birthday and Christmas gifts due to it’s hefty price tag…). My oldest daughter and I share a deep, profound and abiding love for all things Coldplay. We’ve seen the band live together twice-once at The Hollywood Bowl ( which has become known as “Cinco de Coldplay” since the concert was on the evening before Cinco de Mayo) and once at The Cricket Amphitheatre, when she was in college in San Diego and won tickets on the radio. The Cricket was a memorable evening under the summer sky, amazing Coldplay music and bouncing yellow balls and cannons shooting off cascading multi-colored tissue-paper butterflies. An evening that lives in La Belle and Maman history, a truly unforgettable experience of singing and dancing and jumping up and down and even crying. Think full-court press Ed Sullivan Show Beatlemania, circa….1964 and you are there. We commemorated the evening forever with little delicate Coldplay lyrics (“You Know I Love You So”) tattooed on our right wrists which, in the almost decade since, have become an acronym, “YKILYS”, short hand for “I Love You.” This year, Coldplay, on their final tour as a band, will perform at The Rosebowl in August-two nights- and my Mother’s Day gift is attending both nights, the second night with both La Belle and The Badass Bunny. The tickets are a ridiculous shame-on-you-recording-industry price that cost Belle, I figure, a month’s rent, easy. I really should say gifts, becasue there are so many that are part of this Mother’s Day present from Belle…sharing Coldplay and music, two of many things we both love, and with my daughter. Her happy, joyous excitement, her beautiful face lit by the flashing pink, green and blue neon lights at the show, the songs we will sing and dance and jump to and whatever fun Coldplay’s special FX rains down upon us that night and making more memories that will last as long as the YKILYS ink we slung the first time we saw them.
Gifted by The Badasss Bunny
Exhibit B, reprinted below, really requires no introduction as it is the essence of what I, with my many words, have been trying to capture in this blog about gifts, that my youngest daughter at 20 has captured with few. The stuff money can’t buy, immeasurable by any yardstick anywhere.
“A Crow Left of the Nest
Syndromes of empty nest syndrome from the daughters perspective:
– Mom makes awesome five course meals when I visit with all of my favorite food
– When I call mom it’s like we haven’t spoken in weeks
– Random emails with cool articles or just notes saying that I’m missed
– Care packages in the mail with my favorite snacks or candles
Symptoms of being out of the nest but still needing your mom:
– Getting care packages in the mail is like Christmas Day
– Calling once to five times in one week because Moms always know best
– Asking your mom to cook your favorite meals when I come home
– Creating playlists for my mom because I know she would like the band I am currently listening to
– Whenever I’m sick Mom has the magical ability to make food that works better than cold medicine
– Apple juice from Mom works better than Pepto
The primary symptom of being out of the nest but still needing your mom:
Finally recognizing that all those years spent doubting your mom was wrong because mom is usually right.”
And finally, Exhibit C, which is this blog. My Mother’s Day gift to me. And to you. If you are reading this.
There’s a bit of a back-story to this gift. If I may….
Originally, I had meant to launch thislifetomake.wordpress.com today, on Mother’s Day. Being a Type-A personality, task and goal-oriented kind of gal, with an eye to details that align under the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars, what could possibly be more harmonious than launching my very first ever blog, especially one on being a recovering wife and mother, than on MOTHER’S DAY!?!?!?!
But, le sigh, as usual, I made a plan and Providence, that swarthy swashbuckling pirate of my plans got wind of it, had a good hardy har-har and, well,….here we are.
Four days into thislifeihavetomake.wordpress.flipping.com.
Actually, Providence had a name, and this time, its name was The Badass Bunny, who came down for an unexpected visit the other night. At dinner with The Dude, we talked about my new endeavor, that I was building this blog, but that I wasn’t ready to publish it yet and wanted to wait until Mother’s Day. We talked about how intensely private I’ve been in my recovery, particularly over the past three years, keeping my thoughts in my journals and sharing them only with Schwink, The Dude and my therapist, (Dr. I-Covet Your-Monochromatic-’90’s-Wardrobe). A really big part of my recovery as a wife and mother, from the devastation I experienced from The Empty Nest Syndrome, has been about redefining the roles of wife, mother and family, bringing them current by letting go of what was, opening my eyes to what is and, most important of all, beginning to see and feel the unlimited and vast possibilities in what can be for myself, my husband and our kids. Admittedly, I was dragging my feet a little (Ok. A lot.) in putting what had been so private for so long on a public forum.
One might even say I was…stalling.
I was procrastinating.
Because I was heart-in-my-throat-scared. As much as I wanted to turn eight year’s worth of liabilities into assets by saying them out loud and maybe blessing one of you by doing so, should a word or two resonate in any big or small way in your own journey, I also wanted to continue to protect my own anonymity, and that of people close to me whose stories I might touch upon by telling by own, in adddition to my own newfound peace, calm, quiet and tranquility.
Truth be told, for very specific reasons, I do not have a Facebook page. Not only that, I’m happy to let the real birds, the ones with actual feathers, do the tweeting AND I don’t have a cell phone of my own.
We do, however, have indoor plumbing.
But my computer skills pretty much start and end at pulling up my chair to the keyboard. Unless you count being married to The Dude, who has a degree in Computer Science, as being tech-savvy (which I’m pretty sure does not.).
So when the Bunny showed up with her own blogging skills and experience, tech shmahties (the girl wears a watch that can actually tell her phone to call me) along with lovely and enthusiastic support for my project on the very same day Schwink had kicked my dragging-stalling-procrastinating-being-a-scaredy-cat ass, clearly, it was go-time.
So….here I am.
Posting my fourth blog.
Which is no small thing in a lot of big ways. One of which is that I am choosing, in this life I have to make, to be friends with that swashbuckling pirate of Providence and the treasures he plunders.
As long as they come in a Tiffany Box.