Bill and I talk of not spoiling
the children, of returning to purer
days, when gifts were gifts,
when treats were occasions
for celebration. The child-rearing pedants say
that our attention is the greatest gift –
though this is hard to remember
when we approach the holidays,
and the lobbying begins. I seek to define a true gift
by recalling those most treasured in my own
childhood and in my well-stocked adult life,
where overabundance produces its
own bounty-less reward. But then what of the delight
I find in one of Bill’s beatific smiles, the way
my heart opens like a thirsty man’s hands
when he is offered water?
What to give?
Presents are required.
In a drugstore on a quick run
for medications, I point
my son to a cheap, plastic Light Saber.
His awed eyes plead, and I muster
allowances not yet given, then
with a flick of my wrist… extend the blade.
Small, shaking hands receive the toy,
and pass it through trembling, joyous air
with a hum of imagined electricity.
“This is awesome,” he whispers,
the emphasis his. I fork over the twelve bucks
and live on sweetest oxygen for days.
©Jessica Minier Mabe