This year, in addition to the gifts my family will find under the tree, I am giving them gifts that won’t come wrapped in pretty paper or be delivered by the postal service. These gifts won’t be discarded after an afternoon of play and are never the wrong size or color. They are the gifts that never go out of style and last all year ’round. These are the ultimate, “Because I love you” gifts.
On Monday, I gave them one gold crown…and one filing. (Not what you were expecting?)
Today, I will give them one pap smear. (Don’t be jealous.)
Next week, I will give them one pair of new glasses. (Progressive lenses, since you asked.)
In a couple of weeks, I will give them one mammogram. (Really, don’t be jealous.)
And, throughout the holidays, I will give them the gift of “no.” I will say “no” to that extra party or other commitment. “No” to the extra drink or sugary treat. I will say “no” to repeated late nights or any other stress that puts the “engine of this train” at risk of breaking down.
And, this holiday season, I will give them the gift of “yes.” “Yes” to extra playtime, and loud music, and puzzles and games. “Yes” to family movies, and quiet reading time, and time alone with my husband. “Yes” to unplugging from this computer, turning off the phone, sleeping in, and healthy food. “Yes” to all things that support this “engine.”
(And, because I sometimes forget what I say, I will print this out and post it as a reminder.)
Yesterday, I looked at my schedule and grimaced at the thought of going in for a pap smear. (Wouldn’t you?) And then my mom’s voice echoed from the past once again. Many years ago, she stepped into my marriage with her opinion. It was the only time she ever did. My husband, who was already thin, had dropped weight and she was concerned. Food has never been of great importance to him, and he was simply forgetting to eat. She was direct and told him to take care of himself because “when he married me, he made a commitment to do so. When he had children with me, he made an obligation to do so.”
Today, her words remind me that when I take care of myself, through healthy choices and doctor’s check-ups, I am really giving my family the best gift I possibly can. I am showing them love by taking care of myself. And, I am teaching my girls to do the same. Do I like the idea of taking time out of my day for dental work, a pap smear or a mammogram? No, who does? But, I hate the idea of missing out on any milestone in my children’s lives because I was too _____________ (stubborn, embarrassed, lazy, uncomfortable, over-committed, etc.) to take the time for the appointment. If there is something to be caught, better to catch it early.
I am off to shave my legs and shower for my appointment. (Sometimes, it feels more like I’m preparing for a date, not a doctor.) Ladies, if you haven’t set an annual appointment with your doctor, please set one. And, men, you’re not off the hook either. Don’t forget to get your (cough, cough) prostate checked. If not for yourself, do it for the ones you love.
What gifts will give that can’t be wrapped?