The Art of Gifting

I no longer believe that someone has to intimately know you in order to be able to feel what is important to you.  They just have to pay attention every now and again.  My philosophy has always been that PRESENCE weighs more than PRESENTS to me anyday.  It will be the memory of you by my side making me laugh or helping me along that will warm me in the days that I find it hard to grasp on to reality more than the material things you may have thought to give.  And while the gifts help a LOT – I don’t want to discount that at all – memories always have meant more to me.  All my life, I have consciously made memories.  I’ll be in a moment and think to myself… “This is one of those memories I’ll always call on to warm me when life seems cold…”  I am actively archiving my life.  This blog is a part of that.

We recently had our “last grown up night out” (also known as the baby shower) and in true Me fashion – i didn’t want the typical.  The wicker chair, the measuring of bellies, icebreaker games or the hat with the ribbons tied on.  I wanted a true to form celebration.  An all out party.  My being in this position at all in this life is a complete miracle that transcends frills and games.  I needed everyone to come out and party and have a good time.  And that’s what we did.  Folks traveled from near and far and came to pay respects to this little one on her way.  And we (they) drank and ate and some danced and chatted and made a joyful noise in her name.  I couldn’t have asked for it to be better or any other way.  At the end of the night, we went home with what we lovingly refer to as “Mount BabyMore” which is currently erected in our living room – a dazzling assemblage of …. pretty much EVERYTHING we asked for off of our registry – a lifetime worth of pink & green & brown & yellow clothing for the princess and gobs of delicious Haitian food!  If we’d ever thought for a moment that we weren’t part of a loving community, our faith was again renewed that we have a true VILLAGE around us and surrounding us that will be there for her.

Today, I got a gift that rocked me to the core.  A chapter Soror of mine sent me a note on Facebook telling me she found the perfect book for me. It was one of those cheap Gifts for Co-Workers that I’d have designed, but books have been my best friends. Which at the time I poo-pooed… thinking it was probably another copy of “Good Night Moon” or something along those lines.  But I couldn’t fault her generosity.  She thought that much of me at all so I was grateful.  We made arrangements for her to drop the book off to me at my job.  The mail guy delivered it and I mused on the phone while I unwrapped the gift.  I hung up the phone and looked at the cover:

Ladder To The Moon

Beautiful artwork.  This definitely wasn’t Good Night Moon….

I opened the jacket and read the first few words of the book:

One cool new evening,
Suhalia asked her mama,
“What was Grandma Annie like?”
“She was like the moon,” her mother replied.
“Full, soft, and curious.
Your grandma would wrap her arms
around the whole world if she could.”
Mama gave Suhalia a hug.
“You have Grandma Annie’s hands.”
she said.

Within seconds, the uncontrollable tears and sobs rolled through me.  I raced to shut the door to my office before my team saw me in such a condition.  How did they know?  How would anyone else know how to describe my little mommy so perfectly with so few words? I stared at the cover again and regarded a full figured, light skinned, long haired, open-hearted woman that reminded me so of my mom… and I cried more as I thought of reading this book to my little one… trying hard to make her know her Grandmother from afar.  I flipped through the rest of the book thinking of all the parallels.  They likened her to the moon… which now when I stare at the moon, I think of the night she died when I did the same.  And something told me she was up there.  She used to always advise me against sleeping under the moon because I’d go crazy (lunacy) – but I told her she was my moon, lighting my path in the darkest night.  And she never warned me against the moon again.  And in the book, she visits her granddaughter and takes her up to the moon.   Just like my mom visited me in my dream and swept me around Haiti one night and showed me her homeland from her perspective.

This WAS the perfect book… and it amazed me that Soror Ann didn’t have to be my best friend in the world.   She just had to pay attention a little and follow her heart.  I want to buy many of these books so that I’ll always have one to read my babies so they’ll always have a connection to their Granny Ti’Den.

Thank you, Soror Ann… Thank you.


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