I got into a stupid fight with my mom last Christmas when she wrote an email asking me to send her my Christmas wishlist.
We do the same thing every year since we were kids. My mom asks my sister and I to send her a list of things that we want and she buys them for us. A registry, essentially. Through the recent years I have tried to hint at the fact that I don’t like when presents are given that way. I would say things like [in an annoyed tone], “Why don’t you just pick out something?” and my mom would respond [in an equally annoyed tone], “I don’t know what you girls like anymore!”
So last year I responded to her “give me your wishlist” request in a clear manner that I thought was all positive. I basically told her that it’s not the same as when we were kids . . . that I don’t need all these “things,” and that I would be happier receiving a written card from her than having her buy superficial objects for me. In my mind it was something good because it meant our love didn’t have a price tag, but she took it in a different way. I received an unexpected email.
She told me I was cocky, that I thought I knew everything, she told me she hated the way I dressed, and then called me a hippie. It was probably one of the funniest emails I have ever received. Like, so offensive and off the beaten path that it was funny.
One of the most profound things I have learned the past couple years is compassion, and that just because someone does something differently from you, doesn’t mean they are wrong. They have a view, just like you have a view. They are as they are. It’s so easy to react or take something personally from someone so close to you but I saw what my mom was saying. It wasn’t about anything of the things she really said. The whole point was that I had hurt her feelings. I wrote her back with an apology and thanked her for all that she has done.
About a year ago I read a book called The Five Love Languages in which Dr. Gary Chapman talks about how people have different ways of showing/receiving love, and whenever fights ensue, it’s usually because the two people don’t see the other’s “love language.” According to him there are five different love languages:
1.Words of Affirmation (compliments, encouragement, etc.)
2. Quality Time (doing activities together)
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service (basically doing things for them, like helping out with household chores, sending them to the airport, etc.)
5. Physical Touch
My primary “love language” is quality time, meaning I feel really loved when quality time is spent with someone. Gifts happen to be last on my list. I love and appreciate them but for whatever reason, I never defined buying someone something as love (though I think differently now). If it was handmade or a surprise gift then I tended to appreciate it more, but I viewed telling someone what to buy me and then having them buy it for me as unthoughtful and pointless.
By reading my mom’s email, I was reminded of something huge – that not everyone operates the same way! Even though I am an adult (“adult” . . . haha), my mother still LOVES buying me things. It’s one of her ways of showing love (especially to her children) and that really clicked for me. So now when she asks what I want for Christmas, I’m no longer bitter when I send her the list and simply say, “Ok, I wish for this, this, and this . . . and this. Thaaaaaank YOU.”
She came down to visit a few weeks ago. We were shopping in Zara, I pulled a couple blazers off the rack, and then she said she wanted to buy them for me. If this was a year ago I would have furrowed my brows and told her that I don’t need my mom to buy me work clothes, but now I get it. I see how happy she is when she buys something for me. It’s really cute.
So through all THAT, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to announce what I want for Christmas this year. Drum roll please (and high-five to you if you read that entire story) . . .
I’ve never had my own Christmas tree and therefore have not had the opportunity to start an ornament collection. I could go to Target and buy a bunch right now but prefer to have ‘special’ ones. So if any of my friends or family want to know if there is anything I’d like, it’s just one ornament from you. Handmade or bought, I don’t care. I would just like a splendid tree with lots of loving ornaments.
I made this little guy at Color Me Mine a couple years ago. Hee hee.
That is all.
Have a great weekend everyone. I am going to start my Christmas baking!