Our Presents Are Our Presence · 9 June 2013

Regardless of the occasion, our greatest presents are usually just our presence.

I am reminded of this sentiment because I keep seeing a picture of two of our boys with bows on their foreheads. Not the kind that parents use on their baldheaded baby girls to keep people from saying what a beautiful baby boy they have, but the kind that go on actual birthday presents. This picture of the boys reminds me that the best present for all parents on any occasion is the presence of their kids.

I know this is true because my Mom always says so. She says that we do not need to spend any money on getting her a present, but that she would rather have us just be around her. While that sentiment sounds nice, sometime that presence costs more than a simple present since we do not all live down the block from each other. (Not that I would mind living like that closely, but that is another story.)

Since we do not live close enough to be around on every special occasion, our presence is sometimes more costly than some trinket we might have been able to get away with giving Mom when we were kids.

As a case in point, we are going on a cruise with my parents to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Their golden anniversary. It is a good thing we do not need to give them any gold to celebrate because we spent it all. Just booking the cruise. Mind you, I am not complaining. I am happy to be with my parents, my siblings, and their kids. I am really looking forward to it. It will be a fun time filled with each other’s presence. And I know that time together will be more precious than any gift we could give our parents. Plus, it will be a gift to each other.

In reality, I am actually glad that Mom had us spend our vacation dollars on a trip that we might not have taken otherwise. It will be a much better anniversary present than having a weekend get together and party at their house. Especially for Mom, since she will not be cooking any of the meals.

Mind you, we actually like each other and we do get together from time to time. But unfortunately, sometimes we need to force ourselves to be with each other because life gets in the way with all its busy-ness. Like the rest of the world, we do not take the time to be with one another unless we live close to each other or plan things way ahead of time. Or unless we are forced (rather strongly encouraged) to do so. Again, I am not complaining. I really do love to be with my family. I really do love to just give my presence as a present.

On another note, it is too bad that my wife does not merely require my presence as a present to her. She does not necessarily need extravagant gifts, but she does need tangible ones. She needs to be able to unwrap something. Whether it has a bow on it or not. Even if it is something she told me to get her. (Which is usually the case.)

It is strange though. While I need to give my wife tangible gifts, she is happy with our boys just being there. She is happy with their presence as their presents. Or if they cannot be there in person, she is happy with a call or text.

One day, I hope that we can wield as much power over our children as Mom wields over us. When she says, “Jump!” we still all ask, “How high, ma’am?” And we pretty much show up when she requires our presence. Regardless of the cost. The only change I would like to make for when our kids get older is that they pay for the whole cost of us all getting together. (I am so glad I did not write this before Mom booked the cruise.)

Now that I think about it, I need to remember to get a bunch of present bows for the celebration cruise. Then, we can all put them on our foreheads to show Mom and Dad that our anniversary presents to them are indeed our presence.

Happy fiftieth anniversary Mom and Dad!

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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