Last Sunday, David’s church threw a really lovely shower for us. Hosted by these wonderfully kind women:
It was such a delightful afternoon. But I kept experiencing this twinge of not-quite-right-emotion that I just couldn’t place. Kinda of like guilt, but not so guilty.
I’ve always had a sort of weird relationship with gift giving in general, but there’s this thing about wedding gifts that feels so, “hey! buy me stuff!”
But I was sitting there, opening presents, and thoroughly enjoying myself, I must say. And I just couldn’t ignore this feeling squirming quietly in the back of my mind, trying to get my attention, to reconcile a disconnect that I couldn’t quite articulate.
Then I was holding a gift from my sweet mother, a gift we had been equally excited about when we found it at Pottery Barn, a gift she knew I would love. And I didn’t feel that squirmy feeling. That was the crux of it.
Gifts are rarely exchanged between strangers.
They are given to co-workers in gratitude or presented thoughtfully to friends who are enduring too much.
They’re pulled from deep within a suitcase full of dirty clothes and passed out at the end of a trip, joyful in reunion.
They’re unwrapped around a Christmas tree, pajama clad legs folding indian style, excitement transforming sleepy, long-loved eyes.
They are the result of relationships, a natural celebration of the work, the grace, the give and take necessary to draw close and share life. They are reciprocal, by their very nature.
And so it is an unusual experience to open a pile full of gifts brought lovingly by people you have never met. A realization drawn more starkly by David’s absence.
Because the pretty white packages – the tea kettle, the shiny silver knives, the striped duvet and turquoise bowls – they will find their way into my home, my kitchen cabinets, but they were never really meant for me. They were bought for David and mostly for his parents, for the years they’ve spent loving their church.
As I opened those gifts, I received the blessing poured out of someone else’s relationships. Gifts that I didn’t earn, can’t pay back.
I can offer only my thanks, which feels gracefully small.
I never knew how humbling it is to be loved; it’s so much beyond what I deserve.
And now for pictures!
Both mine and David’s moms were able to be there, along with both David’s grandmothers and his dad’s sister, Kathi. Though I’m sure they would have loved to see David, I really enjoyed getting to spend the weekend with all of them.
I’m trying not to gush too much, but I just love family.
As you can tell by these pictures, I had no fun.
None at all.
I definitely don’t like cookware.
It’s a rough life, but somebody’s gotta do it.
*As a side note to all my CoC friends, my shower was held at the home of the lovely Raye Lynn McCloud. That’s right, as in the mother of TJ McCloud, as in “Out of My League” TJ McCloud. In honor of my middle school, church retreat attending self, I was appropriately excited about this fact.