The Meaning of Gifts

An MFRW Author Post – and check out the other blogs on the hop!

 

My birthday is coming up! Next Tuesday, I turned 26, a milestone that puts me well out of my early twenties and hopefully comes with big changes and moves. Looking inward to see the great gifts I’ve been given over the years helps me to reconcile some of the worry and nerves I feel over these new next steps and reminds me what really matters.

I’ve been given some amazing gifts over the years – signed copies of my favorite books, witty book-themed t-shirts, gorgeous spring dresses. I have a lot of interests and love a lot of things and I am lucky to spend time with those who know me well enough to always make me so happy.

But the best gifts I’ve ever been given aren’t really gifts at all. They’re moments.

When I was sixteen, my grandparents took me with them on a family trip to Italy for my birthday, where my art historian heart soared at meeting the classics face-to-face in the cities of their birth and my cousins and I ate gelato three times a day.

When I turned twenty-one, my best friend scooped me up for a weekend in the Poconos, where we learned that Pennsylvania has strict drinking laws and isn’t the best choice for a twenty-first celebration, but the local theater, adorable B&B, and gorgeous sites more than made up for it. 

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When I turned twenty-two, my roommate and our boyfriends took me to the Boston Aquarium and then a local tequila bar and taqueria, before we returned home to host the kitschiest birthday luau party.

For twenty-three, I spent a weekend in Martha’s Vineyard with my long-distance at the time boyfriend, exploring the island and each other.

Twenty-four was a picnic in the park and the local zoo.

Twenty-five was a Renaissance Fair and a romance panel on feminism in New York City. 

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Yes, I love the new running shoes, the gorgeous bracelets, the books I’ve been coveting. They are all testaments to the joy my family brings me every day. But what I love most is the memories of the wild moments, of adventures we shared, of selfies with giraffes and mid-afternoon margaritas and evenings spent driving back to New Jersey for a bottle of wine.

I love that the people in my life help me make a slideshow worth watching over and over, that the festivities are always a celebration of joy and life, that every birthday is different and delightful in its own unique way. 

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I don’t know what twenty-six will hold, though I know this year will be one of change and adventure. What I can say for sure though is that I’ll be exploring this new next step with the people who love me the most and who know that the material gifts, amazing and thoughtful and beloved as they truly are, will come in second to those moments of joy and love they share with me every year and all year.  

And that is the greatest gift of all. ♦

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