The gift-giving holidays in December — Christmas and Hanukkah — are an interesting challenge for me even before I became a single parent.
I’m one of those people who truly enjoy selecting presents for family and friends.
From holiday to holiday, I quietly note their wishes and needs as they emerge through conversation or mere suggestion.
Then, I balance these accumulated ideas with my humble budget as I explore websites, social media and brick-and-mortar establishments in search of the item that most closely resembles what they hoped for.
My simple gift request
When people ask me what I want, my answer is quite simple: “Peace, love and happiness.”
This response may seem corny or pretentious, but I really do want these things. I want to find a partner who adores me for who I am. I want to have a sense of fulfillment in my work. I want to bring beauty and depth to my son’s life and those in the world.
I want peace, love and happiness.
My dream gift tends to exact an awkward pause and a confused expression. I admit it is a tad bit overwhelming and amorphous.
After a good laugh, I eventually do provide more realistic suggestions. Gift card. Wine. Jewelry. Some silly item off the top of my head. Hanging out. … You know what? I’m OK, but my son sure would love a gift.
Single parent suggestions
Over the past few months, I have been examining and discussing the experiences and challenges of single parents and single parenting. So in the spirit of this season and the purpose of my blog, I posed this question to some of the single parent groups I joined on Facebook: “What is your ideal gift?”
These were some of the responses:
“Spa treatment with offer to babysit overnight.”
“Organized specialized daycare through school.”
“When I still had kids in youth and high school sports, it was just an offer to be with one kid, so I could see one whole game of another.”
“Best gift is when my mom comes in my room and grabs the baby monitor while I’m asleep at like 3 or 4 a.m. so I get to sleep in. My son and I live with my mom and stepdad so it’s not as weird.”
“Someone to do a deep clean on my house or a free haircut.”
“I used to live for the nights my daughter had a sleepover with a friend. Especially if it meant I could go get a haircut or see a movie aimed at grown-ups!”
“A full 24 hours without my son and maybe a massage.”
“Probably something for my kids like a free hotel room with pool or gift cards or Chuck E. Cheese’s passes, zoo pass, park pass.”
“My kids clean the whole house without me saying anything.”
“A full day of babysitting.”
“For my mom to watch my daughter for an entire night. I don’t mind having her 24/7 but I would love to have a margarita or binge watch TV and sleep till 3 p.m.”
“New back tires.”
“Gift card for an hour and half of a full body massage.”
“I really want a bigger diaper bag. I have my kids 24/7 and my regular size one isn’t cutting it.”
“I just want monogram scrubs.”
“Gift? Can someone please pay a bill? LOL, I am horrible at telling people what I want for a gift.”
“Paid day off.”
“Anything really. Dishes, pot, pans, a gift card for eating out or gift cards for clothes. Clothes. My daughter-in-law always gets me the best gifts ever. Single moms don’t buy themselves anything, so anything is a blessing.”
“Happy kids and peace.”
“A hotel room all to myself with a big Jacuzzi tub. I want to sleep all the way through the night, wake up when I want, eat what I want when I want, watch what I want when I want. And pee alone. And by alone I mean without the kids.”
“Since I have all my kids every day, my ideal gift is something for the house we can use together. Like a game or something
“I got my kids back for Christmas. Couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The last one brought me to tears.
Reading through these ideas again I realized how much each person wanted to be seen as a human being who needed a boost to get them through the difficult times, a little help so they could recharge. In their own way, each parent was looking for peace, love and happiness.
On Thursdays, I will be sharing a blog about a day in the actual life of a single parent. Every fourth Thursday, instead of a personal post, I will put together one where I assemble news on and about single parents nationally and globally.
I would love to hear from you! Feel free to send any comments and questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on Twitter @parentsonurown and can be found by searching #singleparentandstrong.