Monday, May 2, 2011

Presence vs. Presents

Isn't it weird how sometimes you see something, and it's exactly what you needed?

That happened to me today.

This quote literally made me stop and think when I saw it:

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

How true.

And how appropriate for my life at this moment.

We are at the tail end of "birthday madness" at our house. Jake's birthday is Friday, and wraps up three weeks of birthdays. Lizzy and Lexi had great days, and I intend to make Jake's birthday equally special.

But to be honest, I'm birthday-ed out. And so is my checkbook. Throw in an emergency van repair, a couple of home improvement projects, and  a trip to Hawaii, and we are broke.

Still, for Jake's sake, I am doing my very best to get excited about his birthday, and to spend just as much money on him as I did on the girls.  Birthdays are a big deal. It's the one day a year they get to be the center of attention, and I feel they need to be spoiled a little bit.

But my new favorite quote has me rethinking that.

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

It is exactly why, nearly two years ago, I cut back from full-time to part-time at work. Even in my new job, I'm still working just 20 hours a week. The time I have had with my kids since cutting back has been amazing. The trips to the park, the afternoon snuggles, even the driving to and from practice have given me the "mom" moments I will treasure forever.

And even though my paycheck and the "presents" are smaller, I like to think my "presence" has made a difference in my kids lives.

Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.

And today, the message came through, loud and clear:

"Children need your presence more than they need your presents."

With that in mind, the little girls and I have a date with the sandbox tomorrow afternoon. I can't wait.

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