A surprising Valentine's Day
My mom called yesterday morning to see if she and my dad could come up to the house and bring my son his Valentine's Day gift. It was a quick phone call (I'm busy, after all) and within a minute we'd confirmed the time that they'd be arriving. Later on, and moments after I met my son at the bus stop, my parents arrived with a balloon, a card, and a box of SweetHearts in hand. After a lot of hugging, my son opened his gift, ate a few candy hearts and punched away at the balloon (not its intended use). Then, to my surprise, my parents pulled out two additional gifts - both of them for me. Last I knew, we didn't exchange Valentine's Day gifts. Did I miss something? Two gifts, really?
My dad had handmade a little birdhouse for our deck. Apparently, he and my son made it together on a recent overnight visit as a 'special project'. My dad had taken care to place a little wire netting above the birdhouse floor to keep the bird's home clean and comfortable. He thought I'd like it, and I do; very much in fact.
My mom's gift to me was a little jewelry box wrapped in a red ribbon. "I thought you'd like to have this", she said. I opened it up and lifted a beautiful rhinestone choker from the box. It was a piece from my grandmother's collection of costume jewelry (nice stuff, actually). She had impeccable taste, but not much of a budget. I also have her beautiful 3/4 sleeve faux fur with mink collar, which tells me that she made the most of her limited resources! It's really too bad that she died when I was just five years old, since both my mother and I agree that we would have gotten along famously. This gift really meant a lot to me.
These small acts of kindness from my parents made me realize that my parents are still mine and although they act a whole lot more like grandparents these days (giving my child gummy worms and doing WHATEVER he wants, whenever he wants), I'm pretty lucky to have two living parents that I see on a regular basis. I'd honestly gotten so used to them being Grandma and Papa, that I'd pretty much stepped out of the parent/daughter relationship all together without truly realizing it.
This year my parents will both turn 70, so it feels pretty important to savor these moments and appreciate them in a way that matters. Because they do matter.