"This is for you, but it's NOT a Christmas present." Said Valerie when I was visiting with her yesterday, hanging out and talking while she packed away her Christmas stuff. She added that she had picked it up a while ago but waited until now because she doesn't do friend Christmas presents and doesn't want to get into that Christmas exchange thing..."it's just a Saturday present".
And I thought to myself, I am so glad to hear that...because I had given her a gift that by some freakish twist of fate coincided with Christmas, but was, in fact, simply one of those "just because" gifts I couldn't resist. A book I knew was meant for her the second I laid eyes on it in my favourite used bookstore. I had waffled on giving it to her because I don't do friend Christmas presents either and absolulely didn't want to start any tradition of doing so in the future. I thought about giving her this gift before Christmas, but it was so close that it still would have seemed like a Christmas present (and I worried that giving it to her beforehand would make her feel like she had to get me one in return)...I thought about giving it to her after Christmas, except of course patience is definitely not my virtue and I just couldn't wait...so I gave it to her anonymously.
Ok, I tried to give it to her anonymously...
...but got busted by her daughter's interest in the gift. I had asked K to let me know if her mom liked the gift I left in her office with no name on it. Never occurred to me that K would show such an interest in it that she would give away my secret...in fact, I had honestly thought she would likely forget all about it in the excitement of opening her own gifts. As it turns out, I would have been busted anyway, though, because I wrote about it on my blog, being sure Valerie doesn't read it unless I send her a link to a particular entry...seems I was wrong about that! (Which was, I confess, I lovely surprise.)
I had been wondering if I should make it clear that my present to her was not meant to start an ongoing holiday exchange (as in, don't expect anything this time next year, my friend!), it was just a once only coincidence of timing - so glad to know that clearly, and thankfully, we are on the same wavelength as far as not getting into obligatory Christmas gifts.
However wonderful this gift is though...Valerie gave me an even more precious gift yesterday, one that was so utterly unexpected I was rendered nearly speechless. And this gift was an invitation for my family to join her family in Newfoundland for a couple weeks this summer, at her home, the place where she goes every year to be recharged and to reconnect with her family...a personal space completely separate from her minister role and church family. That my dear friend wants to share this very personal and private part of her life with me touches me very, very deeply, and fills my heart with joy. (Is also filling my eyes with tears of joy right now as I am thinking about, but remember, I cry every time I watch Dirty Dancing, so it doesn't take much! lol)
Her "Saturday gift" ♥ will always remind me of her wonderful invitation to share in her roots.