Today is my Mom’s fiftieth birthday. I know she is having a big party somewhere, I just wish it were here. That phrase, the title of this blog, was one of Mom’s favorites. Her love language was gift giving, and she did LOVE a present. Big or small. Thoughtful or if it just “looked like her.” It didn’t matter as long as it was a surprise. While this may sound a little…greedy or something, the saving grace is that she enjoyed giving presents even more than she liked receiving them. She used to go Christmas shopping for her four girls with a TAPE measure. Can you imagine looking beside you in Banana Republic and seeing a little blond woman with a tape measure, stretching it across a pair of pants and eyeing every inch for possible defects? She didn’t care if she looked nuts, it was a gift she was buying and she wanted it to fit perfectly.

Almost every time we saw her over the first two years of Pace’s life, she had a gift for her. I can see her, standing at my door, her face in a big grin and her hands behind her back, gripping the surprise she was about to lay in my lap. She loved to see little Pace, wearing sweet outfits…that she knew I couldn’t afford. She loved to see her playing with the toy she had labored over picking out. She just loved joy, and that was what gift giving brought her. Since she has been gone, I discovered a few gifts she had bought for Pace and stored away in a closet for the time when they would fit her. It has been a way I’ve kept her alive with Pace…pulling a gift from the closet and saying, “You know who got this for you?!!!” and then hearing her squeal, “Bebe!!” Or, as I dress Mary Aplin in all the sweet little dresses that used to be Pace’s and saying, “Pace, Bebe bought this for you when you were a little baby, and look, now Mary Aplin gets to wear her love too.”

The dress that Pace is wearing in these pictures is the last gift from the closet… She wore it to church on Sunday and then I let her wear it while we both cuddled up in my bed for her nap. As I lay there and felt her soft, warm body crumpled up next to mine, as I watched her rosebud lips pursed in slumber and heavy lashes laying on her cheek, as I looked at this little pink dress draping her now 3-year-old body, it made me hurt to think that Mom would never get to see what this present looked like on her little Pace. But, it gave me joy to think of her eyes and her hands, pouring over all the dresses in the store until she decided on this one and to imagine the warmth of her hands just having left the fabric. I felt a peace come over me that she can see how Pace has grown and how sweet she looks in her present.

Happy birthday Mom…

12 Responses to “"I LOVE a Present"”

  1. Kellie Patton says:

    Abby, that was so sweet – I’m glad you can find joy in these things and remember very sweet,tender things about your mom — and share them with all of us!

  2. becky says:

    a precious dress for a precious girl given by her precious bebe!! and the most touching is the heart of the precious mama in between those two!

  3. Jenny says:

    The dress is perfect, and I know your mom is looking down on you and thinking that too. My thoughts are with you this season.

  4. andi says:

    I am speechless. I am sure it was hard to find the last gift. I am praying for you. Love you!

  5. Abby Euten says:

    Too sweet for words, Abby!

  6. Charlotte says:

    I have had you in my thoughts and prayers all day.

  7. Pat Lee says:

    And I can just see your mom raising her hands close to her chin, fingertips pressed together, clapping in excitement as she starts to open those gifts. She DID love a present! And she put such thought in every present she gave. As I walk through my days I have sweet remembrances throughout my house of gifts she has blessed me with through the years. What a blessing and a treasure!

  8. JHWatson says:

    Abby, my name is Jessica and I am a long time blog stalker from Dothan. The funny thing is our lives run so parallel it is just wild. I am the oldest of 3 girls with a 5yr old and a 1 yr old just a few days younger than Mary Aplin. I lost my mom in February and to read your blog is like you are inside my head some days. I’ve wanted to comment many times but didn’t for the fear you would think I really am a stalker. But tonight reading “I LOVE a Present” I could not hold back. Anyway I wanted you to know how much I enjoy reading your blog(it is like therapy for me) and knowing that someone has as big of hole in their heart as I do makes me feel not so alone. I will pray for your during the holidays for I know it will be a trying time. Please remember me as well.

  9. ashr7406 says:

    Abby, this is a WONDERFUL post! I must say that its one of my favorites! I love the way that you described her with the measuring tape! Such a CUTE image 🙂 I also love the dress that Pace has on! My thoughts and prayers are with you!! Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  10. Nai Nai says:

    Abby, I have once again sat and cried at your precious stories. Thank you Jesus for memories.

  11. The Mize Family says:

    Again…crying at your blog…so sweet Abby, thanks for helping us remember to be thankful for our Moms.

  12. Robin says:

    I have been with her so many times when she would whip that tape measure out. I would have to leave her in a store because it would take her so long to inspect the jeans.The delight and clapping of her hands as she opened a gift from me will always be in my mind and heart. I miss her, but I know her birthday celebration was way more fun than anything we could have created for her here on this earth.Happy Thanksgiving..I know it will be hard cause she loved doing it every year at her house.Thinking of all of you.

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