We are the proud owners of a house rabbit, thanks to the devastating combination of a pair of little white ears, a pair of sparkling blue eyes, and the phrase “pretty please with sprinkles on top” directed in Daddy’s (not Mommy’s) direction. The rabbit, Clementine, entered our family as an Easter gift last year. She now sits in my kitchen all day long and leaves occasional and delicate little poop pellet deposits on my back door mat…right beside her litter box. She cannot be trained otherwise. It is her gift to me as I hone my broom skills.
I think of the other breath-snatching, complicated gifts of my life, two little girls with two pairs of sparkling blue eyes, and the way they deliver sharp slices of joy to my day. And the way they deliver doses of frustration. Last night I lost nearly three hours of sleep to interruptions brought in 15 to 20 minute intervals from one pair of blue eyes that refused to close in slumber because she needed to sleep on her floor beside her bed. And she needed to renovate her dollhouse at 2:23 am. And she needed to be tucked back in after all of her hard renovation work. And because she just needed to bellow from her room to make sure her parents were still awake and vigilant with her.
Gift is not the first word that comes to mind with poopers and mid night wakers.
So I’m mentally revising my definition of gift this morning. Sometimes we are lucky to receive a gift we can trust to bring nothing but joy. A particular coffee mug, a favorite book, and a long-desired watch are all such gifts that come to mind. But get more complex, say, along the lines of your average house plant or so, and the stakes change. The gift comes with strings attached. And the strings attach to our hearts and can pull and tweak and tug and strangle.
The fact is, the greatest gifts in life will require our forgiveness. Forgiveness for hurting us. Forgiveness for not living up to our expectations. Forgiveness for having a free will that roams against our own. Our greatest gifts will require us to forgive ourselves for being the world’s worst mom in the middle of the night who, if she could open her eyes wide enough and long enough, would give a massive eye roll rather than one more hug to a wayward sleeper. Our greatest gifts will require us to forgive the way they can poop all over our lives.
As I got my coffee this morning, more a necessity than ever, I noticed Clementine had been a bit busy over night. Perhaps she was getting into the festive feel of the 2-4 am crowd. She is a gift. A complicated one. And I will find it in me to forgive her…after I finish my coffee, sweep up the new round of pellets, and rename her Clemenpooper.
Today’s post inspired by the weekly 5-minute quick write prompt at Five Minute Friday.
What are your greatest gifts with their unavoidable combination of joy and forgiveness?