We celebrated my son’s birthday last week. I made him a blueberry pie (his request) using some cans of blueberry pie filling a friend picked up when Fresh N Easy closed down near us (She called me to ask if the prices were good prices, and then on her way home she dropped off some of what she got to me!)
I gave him the gifts you see above: a Cub Scout Bear hat, scarf, and slide that a friend sent to me after her boys were done with it, 4 used books that I bought at the library book sale in January for .25 each (he had read 3 of them before and I knew that he liked them), 4 London bookmarks that I made ( a free printable for these will be available soon on my site), a new-looking shirt from a garage sale (.50),
nine chocolate frogs that I made using this frog mold, and chocolate that I bought 19 months ago at Sam’s Club, an MP3 song that I got for free from Amazon with a free mp3 credit, and the gift that you see in the envelope.
The envelope holds the most important gift. I could have given him nothing else, and the gift in the envelope would have been enough.
What children really want is our time. The envelope contained the promise of time with mom:
Four cooking lessons and four dates with mom. My son wants to learn to cook, and he also wants to spend time with me.
Last Christmas I learned an important lesson. The best gift I gave was a subway-art style bookmark that had 10 things I love about each child on it. My 6-year-old could not read it, but he had me read it to him. He cried when I read it. He gave me a big hug. He asked me to reread it to him every day that week.
My husband gave the children 2 coupons, each good for a date with dad. The children have loved these dates with dad.
The dates don’t have to be expensive, and you don’t even have to leave the house.
Some of the things he has done with the children:
Stay up late (after the other children are in bed) and play a game with dad. We have several board games already, so this doesn’t cost anything out of pocket.
Work on a project together.
Go to the library together.
I don’t know what dates my son will pick to do for our dates, but I know that this is what he really wanted.
More than that, it’s what he needs. It’s what they all need.
I’ve made the gift I gave him available as a free printable on the website here, so you can make your own for any upcoming birthdays you have.