Whether you're headed to your own wedding or to a neighborhood BBQ, coffee with a friend. or dinner with your family, the most important thing to bring is a present heart. (Savor by Shauna Niequist)
When Penny turned two, we requested no presents from her party goers, unless they would like to donate to a local children's home. The invitation noting that their presence was the best present; a statement a friend had included on an invite a few years before that really spoke to me.
We were thankful for the superfluous amount of love and presents she received for her first party the year before but it was the people who made it and we wanted to focus on this as her second year cultivated.
It was the friends, new and old coming to celebrate our first year of parenthood and her birthday. It was the memory of the wind threatening to blow the entire party away, complete with the cupcakes and pop up shade. It was family driving nearly two hours just to be there, one of them being my grandma who rarely can make the drive these days. It was her laughter and excitement as Penny opened her gifts and played with the boxes. It was her full presence and laughter and joy bursting forth that made the day extra special.
It was my in laws flying in from out of state just to celebrate. It was their help with all the transporting of decorations and food from our small apartment to the park in hopes that the cupcakes would not fall and that the sandwiches would stay together and that the food would arrive in the same condition we had packaged them.
It was the time Senia spent making and decorating the pink heart cookie favors. In true Senia fashion, she had stayed up past midnight to finish them, as she had been working. Her art abilities have beautifully overflowed in to her baking and she arrived at the party with the prettiest heart cookies, full of detail, which we packaged right there, my mother in law helping to fill the bags.
Being present is showing up. It is support and listening and the physical body just being. It is clearing our mind to truly hear hearts and taking them for what they are. It is showing up with no other agenda than to be there.
With so many variables pulling in different directions, being fully present is truly a gift, far beyond anything we can give. When our last breath inhales, it is not the things that people will miss but the person who passed. Some trinkets and such may last as reminders but it is the memories of time and presence spent together that span the divide and fill our hearts until we meet again.
Here's to being fully present.
This is part of a 365 day blogging series through Savor by Shauna Niequist. If you would like to blog along, whether daily or weekly, I would love to have you for the journey; be sure to link back to the post. And if you are not a blogger, you can join along, too. Just leave your response and answers in the comments.