The Gift of Gift-Giving

Despite what Lesley might tell you, I am not that great at giving gifts. What is the point of giving a gift if it isn’t meaningful, well-thought-out, and specifically geared to that person? I try, but many times, I fall short of that tall order. Story, on the other hand, is a master. Not having monetary means, she can identify the perfect old toy of hers to bring huge smiles to any friend. She has a knack for thinking of others and making them feel special. I’ve seen her do it with the girls (her stepsisters, as she calls them) many times. This past week, though, she gave Riley the greatest gift she’s ever received and inadvertently gave me the greatest gift I’ve ever had.

As Lesley mentioned, we spent a good part of last Saturday at Lesley’s house helping her put up her outdoor pool. Helping could be disputed, but still we were there for the day and had a great time. Toward the end of the night, Story announced that she had a present for Riley. With great joy, she announced that Riley could have her own computer. I laughed, certain it was a joke. When Lesley’s expression confirmed that indeed she was giving her prized computer to Riley, I became uncomfortable. What were they thinking? Old Shopkins and stuffed animals were one thing but a computer?

Luckily, Riley wasn’t around to hear me say no, and Story had already run off to join the girls in the semi-filled pool. When I looked back at Lesley, I noticed she had her sneaky face on. She explained that her work provides their employees with the used computers free of charge and she was able to get one way better than the one Story had. Did she tell Story it was free though? Absolutely not. It was leverage. Well-played, Lesley.

And so, Story gave Riley the greatest gift she’s ever gotten, other than her sister, of course. Oh yeah, and birth. To say Riley was excited is an understatement. She loves her new computer, and since she has been working really hard on her handwriting this summer, she earned Minecraft, a popular computer game. She has been playing it and Roblox and watching YouTube every night.

So what was my great gift?

Wednesday this week I didn’t fall asleep until 2:00 am. Turns out when you get old you sometimes can’t fall asleep. I let my boss know that I needed to come in late in hopes of getting a little more sleep and being somewhat functional that day. I knew that the girls would be up by 7:30, still that would give me at least an extra hour or so of sleep. When 7:15 rolled around, the girls began to stir. Then the miraculous happened. Like every morning, Maddie asked if I wanted to go downstairs. I told her I was tired and needed to sleep. Then Riley popped up and asked Maddie if she wanted to go downstairs with her. Away they went, downstairs to play on their computers. Never before had they left me alone in the morning to sleep.

Thank you, Story.