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Gift Exchange

I like to be a Yes Girl. I like to say yes as much as possible, whenever I can. It’s a strong component of my parenting approach: just say yes as much as possible. That way, no feels a little more potent.

In theory, anyway.

I began to feel like I may have overdone it with Tyler’s birthday. We didn’t do a big birthday party, since I tend to lean more toward a dozen small celebrations. But on Day #3 of small celebrating, he began to feel like a little prince.

A little entitled prince.

He opened his presents from Robb’s parents on Saturday, his presents from my parents on Sunday, and then we planned to open his presents from Tucker and me on Monday – the actual day. Siete de Mayo.

But then this grumpy, grouchy attitude moved in with my five-year-old, and I really didn’t want to give him anything at all. Mostly because I love to give to someone who really loves to receive. He seemed to have met his quota for receiving, and anything else was over the top. And I didn’t choose these presents with the intent to give him gifts he doesn’t care about.

He was grumpy and grouchy. We clarified the definition and ramifications of the words “spoiled brat.”

And I threatened to call the whole thing off, put all the gifts on the shelf for a few days until he felt thankful to receive.

(The worst is when a consequence for him is one for me too. I really wanted to give him every single thing Tuck and I had picked out.)

There was much discussion and deliberation. There was silence and waiting. There was pleading and softening.

I relinquished, with the understanding that any gift he mistreated or seemed ungrateful for would go away. Perhaps on a shelf, perhaps back to the store, perhaps to another child.

Deal? Deal.

(By the way, he loved the collection of Batman books I had deceitfully stowed away. And he loves their little carrying case. He feels like he has his own Batman briefcase. And he doesn’t think I suck.)

It was a lovely gift opening. I missed his dad fiercely.

And then, of all things, he brought out the gifts he had been saving: a gift for me and a gift for Tucker.

He decided a few weeks ago, “I need to go shopping for my birthday. I just love you so much, and I will love you even more when I’m five. So I want to buy you presents.” He and Grandma devised a covert operation to see that this new tradition became a reality.

For Tucker, he chose a Spiderman car. And Tuck was so grateful that he gave Tyler the first turn.

For me, he chose a pink flower for my hair, a neon braided bracelet, and an orange-tangerine candle.

“Mommy, I picked this flower because it will be beautiful in your curly hair, and I picked this candle because it smells like your skin.”

He really said that. He chose a candle that smells like my skin.

My poetic son has turned five. All the presents have been exchanged.
It’s better to give than receive, and it’s best to give with a kind heart and a great reason.

I love you, Tyler.

You are a walking, talking, laughing, smiling, celebration of a conversation.

I’m so glad you are mine, the smile on our family.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy.

Five is all yours.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. I love this. So much.

  2. That last picture is priceless~ so is the one where he has gifts for you and Tuck. Quite a five year old you have there! 🙂

  3. Precious!! Happy birthday Tyler!

  4. Haha, he pulled a Bilbo Baggins.

  5. This has touched my heart. Happy birthday, Tyler. Enjoy 5–it’s the only year you can be 5!
    You are helping your boys grow the heart of God within them. Blessings, dear Tricia.

  6. PS I can’t believe he’s five! Where does the time go?

  7. Oh, that’s so beautiful! You truly have wonderful boys. I’m so glad his birthday was special. 🙂

  8. Such a thoughtful young fellow!! Happy Birthday, Tyler. It’s wonderful to see you caring for others so well at such a tender age.

  9. Happy Birthday, Mr. Tyler! (and, good job on the gift thing!) …oh, and he has started growing into his boy face, no more baby about him……it’s one of those phases… May it be a wonderful year 🙂

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