My birthday was on Feb. 4th and this year my daughter went out with the babysitter and picked out a gift for me. The sitter told me Queen Teen went from store to store in our downtown, examining trinkets and books, scarves and hair pins, until she found what she wanted at a crystal, New-Age type store.
"That's it," she declared, pointing at the sparkling present. The sitter helped Queen Teen count out her money and the sales clerk wrapped it up in a ribboned box. Queen Teen was very proud of her gift and held it tightly in her hands all the way back home.
When I walked into the house that afternoon after driving back from school in San Fran, the sitter told me how hard Queen Teen hunted for the perfect gift, and that she mostly did it on her own.
"She knew what she wanted to give you, and she used her own money to do it," she said.
Later that day, Queen Teen, Rick and I sat at the table, eating the Gluten-Free birthday cake they had made for me, and then opened my presents. Rick bought me an expansion pack to The Sims that I wanted (I am Sims addict!). Then I opened the box from Queen Teen and pulled out a lavender, heart-shaped crystal dangling from a glass-beaded wire. It was so beautiful! Queen Teen giggled as I stared at it and Rick said, "Wow. She sure put my present to shame."
This is the first time my daughter has hunted so diligently for a gift for me and then used her own money to pay for it. And as I looked at the beautiful rainbow catcher, I realized she'd probably used every dime in her piggy-bank to buy it for me.
Of course she's bought me gifts before. Rick usually takes her to Big Lots and gives her ten dollars to pick something out for me. When she was four she gave me a Cosmopolitan magazine because the lady on the cover was "pretty." I still have it. And I treasure every single paper flower, flashlight and stationary kit that child has given me over the years. But this gift is so... grown up.
I hugged her tightly, and then she helped me decide where to hang it. It's now hanging in my kitchen window where it will capture the late afternoon sunshine, sending a cascade of rainbows across the counter tops.