Gift Getting

Mom and I at Clearwater Lake

As I write this, sitting at my office desk, my mother and sister are painting my kitchen.

Free labour, we joked with the guy who came to deliver J.’s and my new fridge this morning but, in truth, they offered.

I meant to get the kitchen painted, I told them over coffee, but the fall’s been so ridiculously busy. I even have the paint, I said.

Let us do it, they said, in unison.

They insisted.

I demurred.

I said: I don’t want you coming all the way from Ontario to do work on my house.

We want to, they told me, so what could I say?

I find it hard to receive. Easy to give, difficult to let people take care of me.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about, since my birthday’s coming up.

This is normally a day that I try to compress into regularity. I follow the same routine as usual: get up, get to work, squirm with guilt over all my undone tasks, feel bad about how far behind I am in my writing goals, etcetera.

This year, I’ve decided: screw that.

My sister and I out on a dog walk

My sister and I out on a dog walk

Apart from eagerly receiving whatever gift J. has for me (this is the same guy who gave me gorgeous, soft, cloud-printed fleece pyjamas for my 29th birthday, when he’d known me for less than two months), I’m going to spend the day taking care of myself.

I’m going to sink into All the Light We Cannot See, indulge in knitting for a few hours (a felted kitty pod for Griffy), pull on my down vest and take the dog for a couple of slow autumn walks.

In the evening, we won’t be going out.

My birthday is on the same day as our federal election, so I’ll be eating gluten-free pizza made by J. and watching the results roll-in once the polls close (and, yes, I’m hoping for the biggest birthday present EVER in that regard).

Life is too short, I realize, to demur.

So I accept. The gifts I can give myself (because aren’t those actually the most important?) and my mother and sister ushering me out of the kitchen, telling me to go write my blog post while they get to work, brushing a new colour over my walls.

Three days short of my birthday and my heart already feels full.

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10 Responses to Gift Getting

  1. Angie Gallop October 16, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    You nailed it again! I so enjoy this blog. Happy Birthday!

    • Lauren
      Lauren October 16, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

      Thanks, Angie 🙂

  2. Linda Buchanan October 15, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    I just finished ‘Swarm’ and was totally blown away. I wasn’t sure whether I was happier in the city or on the island because there was so much bleak stuff there that made me think of the world I am part of now – and where it is going. And there were so many surprises in the characters, showing how complex people really are. Thank you.

    • Lauren October 16, 2015 at 9:57 am #

      Thanks, Linda! I really appreciate that. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the book!

  3. Carey October 15, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    The timing was perfect and the perfect gift too! So why not? It’s all done now!!! We’ve had a great visit, chats, laughter, drives, hikes, spelunking, dog walks, exotic food, knitting, English murder mysteries, stove demolitions, fridge dancing….. And a LOT of wine…. And tomorrow, we will celebrate your birthday!!!! I love you tons!! Happy Birthday little sister, “The Great Laurenco”, hahahaha! xoxoxox

    • Lauren October 16, 2015 at 9:58 am #

      Thanks, Sis 🙂

  4. mary-lynn murphy October 15, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    Loved this post, Lauren; feels very familiar. Thanks.

    • Lauren October 16, 2015 at 9:59 am #

      Thanks, Mary-Lynn, I thought it might ring a bell with many women 🙂

  5. Marlene October 15, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    Lauren, this is so special for me because it tells me that you, Carey and your Mom are okay.
    By the way, I would rather give than receive as well.
    I will always wish that I could sit down with you over a drink and just talk about our lives going forward, never mind about the past. I think we would find that we have a lot in common.
    Much love, Marlene

    • Lauren October 16, 2015 at 9:58 am #

      Thanks, Marlene! If I’m in St. Catharines in the next while, I’ll definitely let you know!

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