Monday, December 20, 2010

Presents With Presence Alone

I've had an easy life. I'd say that I've always been a bit spoiled. Before you start imagining me clad head to toe in designer driving around in my BMW, let me rephrase. I've been EMOTIONALLY spoiled. I've been blessed with a wonderful and wildly supportive family. A family who cherished me, trusted me implicitly, respected my individuality, and supported me in everything I've ever done, good and bad. I know, no matter what, I have a strong unit in place ad that there's nothing I could do or say that would make them love me less.

When I did badly on a test or asked them one of my crazy hypothetical questions: "what would you do if I got pregnant?" "what would you do if I dropped out of high school?" they didn't freak out or threaten me. "If you fail a test, you fail a test. It wouldn't affect me. I've already been to high school. It's YOUR life." or "Would I be mad if you got pregnant? Would YOU be mad? It would be YOUR baby." Their matter of fact answers and unfazed attitude actually made me a much more responsible person driven to do my best/right thing not because I was worried that my parents would be "mad" at me, but because I wanted the best for myself.

When I discuss my upbringing with others, I find myself praising the stellar job that they did. They instilled the things in life that are important in life and taught me strong values. I grew up in a privileged household, where it would've been entirely possible for me to be overindulged but I simply wasn't. I was provided with food, shelter, education and the things in life I needed but luxury items were usually obtained through myself. They taught me that things weren't just given to you, that you had to work for them. They gave me work ethic, at 12 I was babysitting, at 16 I worked in a restaurant, and all through college I worked. When all of my friends got cars on their 16th birthday, my parents told me I'd always have a car to drive, but that it wouldn't be mine. "What do you have to look forward to if you have everything at 16?" my mother asked. I still don't have a car.

At the time, I thought they were selfish and annoying. I resented the fact that they had the ability to provide me with a car or $200 jeans but that they just wouldn't. I didn't mind having a job I just didn't understand why they wouldn't give me some things when I knew they could.

I realize now that they gave me something much better than a shiny new car with a bow on the top. They gave me an understanding for how the world works, an appreciation for all of the opportunities bestowed on me, and a HUNGER to want to succeed and provide for myself on my own terms. I've never thanked them for this. So, I think when I go home in four days, I am going to sit them down and do just that.

Not surprisingly, the holidays at my house were not all that traditional. As a little child, of course Christmas meant copious fabulous gifts under the tree but as I got older, the present waned. I was reminded that the point of the holiday was NOT, in fact, a new ipod or pair of Louboutin's but that it is a RELIGIOUS holiday, and the meaning of the day was to be spent with loved ones relishing in affection and tradition. We don't go all out in the present sense at our house. We do small, meaningful gifts, but on Christmas Day our house is a revolving door for family and friends, filled with warmth, joy and mirth. Not to mention my father's chef quality meals.

The crazy thing is, that I figured this out on my own around the age of 10. For me, Christmas was being in London with my mothers family and I truly loved that more than the gifts. I remember, around this age, my parents asked what I wanted and I answered, "I just want to be with my family." To this day, I still feel the same way. And, while I get GREAT joy buying someone the perfect gift, I OFTEN go to the Salvation Army tree at the mall and pick up the angels (which are the Christmas wishes for the underprivileged kids) and i buy a toy for someone who has nothing and instead dedicate the gift to someone on my Christmas list who has everything.

That being said, of course I like presents. And this post was supposed to be a tongue in cheek Christmas wish list, not an ode to the people who raised me. So, for any of you who believe Christmas presents are the be all of the is my list. I'll happily accept anything on it:
1. netbook
2. rag&bone jeans
3. andrew marc leather jacket
4. Nars "Laguna" bronzer, "orgasm" blush (either separately or in the combo kit)
5. Benefit concealer and "benetint" liquid blush
6. a gift certificate to Victoria Secret
7. knee high, high heeled black leather boots
8. Christmas mini eggs, French Fancies, marmite
9. any kind of cute clothes, dresses, skirts, shirts or extremely comfortable pajama pants.
10. you :)

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