The test!

It took him an hour to process all my knives to a perfect edge. I could tell he was enjoying every stroke of every knife that passed through his precision sharpener. Notice the glass of wine in the corner! Best of all, I know my son’s gift of time was lovingly given.

Even though I now spend as little time as possible in the kitchen, this weekend was my birthday and I asked Jesse to sharpen all the knives. I’m probably a bonafide crazy person to those who rip open their birthday gifts as fast as they can, but eliminating a daily aggravation IS a great gift. Besides, my son is a master at sharpening knives and has an entire kit of fancy equipment to prove it. This request does seem odd coming from someone who’s all but given up on cooking but, really, what good is a knife that can’t pierce through tomato skin!

My husband and my son then cooked my heart’s desire for dinner, grilled Filet Mignon. There’s nothing better than watching someone ELSE making dinner! To top off my birthday treat, the neighbor and dear friend brought over a berry cobbler she’d made for me. (Jennifer is the opposite of me!)

I guess it’s obvious by now that NOT making dinner is the biggest treat anyone could ever give me, but it was also the freedom to pick any menu I wanted. I was suddenly in this very homey restaurant. Of course, this wouldn’t be a treat for someone who loves to cook themselves, but everyone has their own dreaded chore.

Gift-of-time-better-than-presentsEvery Mother’s Day, for instance, I sit on the porch with a cuppa and watch the two of them wash my car. I dislike this chore intensely so it’s perfect for me! This must sound nuts to people who take great pride when their car glows but, again, that is the opposite of me! I knew someone once who went on vacation and came back to a sparkling refrigerator. Her daughter had tossed out everything that was stinky or growing and organized the crap out of it. Her mom was over the top about this gift of time.

As an adult of a certain age, here’s my two cents: It’s easy to buy a present, especially with Amazon. You don’t even have to drive to the store for heavens sake. But it’s not as easy to set aside the time to give a service: of either a dreaded chore, something they haven’t gotten around to doing, or something that will bring them great joy.

I do enjoy opening presents and love the surprise of it all, but getting the gift of time brings a different kind of pleasure. Besides, there comes a point in families who have spent a lifetime giving gifts to each other that you just can’t think of anything anymore. Your kids or your parents have everything they need by now so a service is perfect.

We’re all inundated with gift buying messages and it’s been hard not to automatically jump to that mindset, but stepping up to do a task for someone you care about is really appreciated. The official gift giving season is coming up fast and ever since my children were not children anymore, I’ve had a harder time with gifts. Maybe now my mind will wander in other directions.

Weeded out this week: The notion that you have to spend money to get the perfect gift. As presents go, I’ve always loved the small thoughtful ones anyway. (and I don’t mean diamonds!)