Home > Family, Love, Parenting > The gift of four beautiful words

The gift of four beautiful words

I had no presents under the tree, but store-bought presents aren’t so important to me now that I’m old enough to buy the things that capture my fancy.

Last night, I gave myself the gift of endlessly rewatching one of my mom’s favorite movies, Night at the Roxbury.* While waiting for my son to awaken, I gave myself another gift: a chance to reflect on this time last year. Yesterday I was wistful that “my family” is far away, but revisiting last year’s Christmas post reminded me “family” is a much more expansive thing than I sometimes remember.

Watching my son methodically open his gifts, expressing greatest delight over a magnifying glass**, well, that was another lovely present. But it was four unexpected words that were my real Christmas gift.

opening presents

After all the wrapped presents were opened, I got a small box of chilled candies from the fridge. I presented it to Li’l D, who opened it and said, “Aw.”

I couldn’t tell if it was a disappointed “aw” or a happy one. When he gestured me down for a kiss, I decided it was the latter.

After he’d smooched me, he gave me the gift of four beautiful words:

“You fill my heart.”

And there I had it: a zero-cost, freely given, priceless Christmas present I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

* I don’t get it, either, but that’s okay!

** “Oh! It’s my magnifying glass! I love it! Did you guys talk to Santa for me?”

Categories: Family, Love, Parenting Tags: , ,
  1. December 25, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Such beautiful thoughts. I am touched by your son’s choice of words or even choice to express verbally his feelings. I wish you and your family the most wonderful holiday and 2014.

    • December 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      That he chose to say that filled my own heart! He could have just kept that feeling to himself, but I’m glad it’s one he shared instead. And I’m glad I took that last-minute run to the drugstore for a handful of candies. Such a small instigator for such a gift. ♥

  2. December 25, 2013 at 9:31 am

    And you guys fill my heart, too. Merry Christmas.

  3. December 25, 2013 at 11:20 am

    There’s a touch of old soul in that young’un. Methinks the child has garnered some of his mother’s great talent. 🙂
    But whatever you do, don’t tell him you’ve “talked” to Santa. I have frightful visions of him getting hold of your cellphone, and racking up humungous charges trying to find the right area code and phone number for the North Pole! 😯 😀

    • December 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      Sometimes he’ll go, in two or three seconds, from turning every toy into some kind of weapon to asking some heartfelt, thoughtful questions that astonish me. It’s awesome to have kids around for that kind of happy toe-keeping-on. 🙂

      And, oh! The mirth at imagining such a phone call! I kept my phone under lock and key today, bearing this scenario in mind. Hee.

  4. December 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    ooo…just think of the things can you can see together under that magnifying glass!

    • December 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      I’m pretty excited! We got a telescope, too, so the possibilities are virtually endless, though today we just looked at mud splatters, tiles and (via telescope) bits of onion. 😀

  5. December 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Aw! What a great gift–the best for you from him,but the magnifying glass seems pretty great too. A budding poet and scientist–what a great combination!

    • December 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Poet scientist seems to be his path! That’s why we wanted to find a few treasures that would help him explore his interests instead of just taking our words for it. It’s exciting to type these words now and wonder what recollections we’ll have created by this time next year. Aaaah . . .

  6. December 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Your son expresses himself beautifully, I can’t imagine where he gets this from 😉

    • December 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      This made me laugh, and I had to share it with Anthony! When Li’l D was tiny, his day care provider kept telling us we had a talker. I couldn’t figure out where she got the idea from, but she said that the fact he was constantly babbling–with or without words–said everything. She’s half-smile and add, “Thinking of his parents, it’s not surprising!”

  7. December 25, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Heartwarming. Thanks for the inspiration and Merry Christmas!

  8. December 26, 2013 at 5:39 am

    Awwwww <—That's a happy one.

    • December 28, 2013 at 7:27 am

      I really thought he might bust out some variant of, “I AM ENTITLED TO ENTIRE STOCKING OF CANDY, MOMMY!” So glad I was wrong. ♥

  9. December 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    “You fill my heart.” Does it get any better? You could parent for about 10 years on the strength of that alone.
    Your post from last year was so touching. It made me think of that scene in Finding Forrester when the agoraphobic Sean Connery comes into a classroom to defend his young friend and reads an excerpt called Losing Family.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mom, but so glad you embraced the family you found.

    • December 28, 2013 at 7:29 am

      I remember watching that in the theater, and crying then as I just started to do revisiting the clip now! I love that. I love, too, how much I learn by listening to the words of people too new to the world to not pause and ask questions like, “You don’t have families?” Just hearing the questions asked with genuine concern presents a wonderful opportunity to revisit old understandings . . . and misunderstandings. I am grateful for it, for your reading, and for your sharing these lovely thoughts. Thank you.

  10. December 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Those four words are all you really need – what a lovely post!

    • December 28, 2013 at 7:32 am

      A few days later, I’m still melting every time I think of this! I bought myself a few minion dolls, but this . . . this really is the gift of my year! 😀

  11. December 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Absolutely no greater gift. Beautiful.

  12. December 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    That made me remember when my little dude told me he was gonna marry me. I will have that etched in my heart forever. He is four and so precious to me too.

    • December 28, 2013 at 7:35 am

      Aw! “Precious” is the perfect word.

      Li’l D recently told me he was going to be the best boyfriend ever . . . to his day care provider, who continues to hold a special place in his heart. I told him he’d have to find someone a little closer to his age, and wait a bunch of years, but the sentiment melted my heart.

  13. December 28, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Lovely post that made me remember all the cute things my son said in those early years. His words to me as a man now are encouraging. They have the power when small and adult size to enlarge our hearts with their words. What a gift a son is.

    • December 28, 2013 at 7:36 am

      So beautifully put! Based on warnings from other parents while I was pregnant, I was a little nervous about what to expect if we had a boy. (We waited until birth to find out the sex.) It’s been a delight to see a little human being can be both rambunctious and totally, wonderfully loving.

  14. December 28, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Awww, I love it. Melts me in my boots. ❤ Amara has just started saying "I love you", but I think she just thinks that's what you say when someone else says "I love you".

    • December 28, 2013 at 7:37 am

      Aw! Regardless of how she does or does not understand it now, it’s so sweet to imagine her saying those words! (I wondered about that when we were talking yesterday.) There’s so much good stuff in store for you in the months ahead. ♥

  15. December 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Awww. What a sweet boy. It’s the little things. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    • January 1, 2014 at 10:47 am

      When he says naughtier things, I come back to words like these. Every day, he finds some cause to say something like this. I make note of them, because I know there will be days where remembering them will remind me of everything he is. Even when he’s grumpy. 🙂

  16. Koa
    December 29, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Oh, these boys!!!!! They fill my heart!

    • January 1, 2014 at 10:48 am

      YES! I didn’t recognize I had preconceived ideas about what having a boy would be like, but I discovered them as they were (largely) squashed. What a treasure this journey has been. ♥

  17. December 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    That’s so beautiful. You’ll treasure those words much more than any store-bought gift or Hallmark sentiment.

    • January 1, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Exactly so! My husband thinks I’m being disingenuous when I say there’s nothing store-bought I want, but very little that can be purchased is worth the weight of such words as these.

  18. December 31, 2013 at 12:05 am

    One more reminder that people are so much important than things….the world s becoming increasingly materialistic and somewhere people are forgetting that on a cold night you can’t snuggle close to steel and brass. Human love is important, infact a need like ar or water maybe!

  1. May 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm

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