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…