A few months ago I went shopping for my friends birthday gift. I was with another friend, and as we roamed the aisles of Target, I couldn’t find the right gift. My friend held up countless items: a journal, pens, mugs, etc. All were fine gifts, but they weren’t right. Finally she said, you are particular with gifts aren’t you? She wasn’t annoyed, but we aren’t close enough friends that she would know my particulars. And when it comes to giving gifts, I want it to be exactly what that person likes. If they love dark chocolate with almonds, then buying them dark chocolate with cashews isn’t right. Some would say, “close enough,” but that’s now how my mind works.
Fast forward three months later to December 8th. Enoch is turning two, but obviously isn’t with us to celebrate. I told Tim I wanted to go and get him a birthday gift to take to the grave. This seemed like a simple task, but apply what happened above inside Toys R Us. I want the perfect gift, but I didn’t know what the perfect gift was. Yes, I know it was going on his grave. Yes, I know most two year olds aren’t that picky. But I am his mom and I don’t know what he likes. And that fact became so painfully obvious within minutes of walking into the store. We roamed the aisles overwhelmed by the choices and tears kept welling up as I realized I didn’t know. Would he have liked paw patrol or some particular characters? Would he like trucks or balls? Would he like tractors because Tim does, or Jeeps because I do? I couldn’t do it. It suddenly became so overwhelming and sad that I told Tim we need to just pick something and go.
I know what toys my friends kids like. I could pick out so many for each of them, but I can’t for my own son. And it never dawned on me until I went shopping for his birthday. These are the things that come up so unexpectedly that makes greif such a hard journey.