We gave and received presents in lots of places over the past two weeks. We started out in Austin before we left, because we wanted to travel light, and continued with Christmas gifts until mere minutes before we left my parents’ home for the airport and our return flight to Texas. Many of the gifts that we received have something to do with Sunflower, although some of the connections are less obvious than others. Beginning with the most obvious, here are the gifts that come to mind. (I hope I remember all of them; we are thankful for everything, but my memory might not be complete.)
Jenny’s father and his wife Renee sent us some money. We haven’t decided what to do with it yet, but I’m sure that some of it will help us to prepare for Sunflower.
Jenny gave me a parenting book, Be Prepared (Amazon link), written especially for guys like me. I did catch her reading it too, so we should both be able to use it. I have already found numerous useful tips. Just before Christmas, I took my car to get an oil change and state inspection. While it was in the shop, I went to some nearby stores to browse and shop. At one of them, I saw this very book and that evening reported on it to Jenny, hoping to give her the hint that I might like a copy for Christmas. Little did I know that she had already purchased and wrapped it!
For my part, I gave Jenny a gift certificate for a prenatal massage. When I purchased it, the receptionist told me that their massage therapist is a prenatal massage specialist who also leads classes about baby massage. Jenny will ask for more details about that when she goes in for the massage. We’re looking at our calendars now and trying to find a good time to schedule it. Unlike most gift certificates, this one has a definite expiration date, and it’s possible that date could be sooner than we know!
My sister Laura, with help from my sister Leisa, her husband Sam, and my mother, gave us a beautiful baby quilt. Laura was very anxious that we would actually use the quilt and not just store it away in a closet–we promised that we would use it. My family sometimes wraps and presents not-quite-finished gift projects, and this was one of them; when we first received it, the edge seams still needed to be done. My mother stayed up entirely too late on the night before we left so that she could finish it (along with a quilted Christmas tree skirt that she made for us) before we left.
My brother and his wife gave my parents a high chair for their house. In fact, the gift is to all those who bring small children to my parents’ home. So far, my brother has had the only grandchildren, but we’re next, and my sister is due just six weeks after us. We’ll almost certainly visit sometime when Sunflower is of high chair age, and will be happy to enjoy this present.
Now it’s time to explain some of the gifts with a more tenuous connection to the baby. Jenny gave me two new pairs of pajama pants, to replace my one threadbare set. Be Prepared warns me that babies are messy, so it will be good to have a clean pair of pajamas after Sunflower spits up on one set. Jenny received a new robe from her mom, which will help her to feel warm and cozy at the hospital and in the possibly dreary postpartum days.
Jenny, her mother, and her brother Mark gave me two new kitchen knives and a fancy pair of kitchen shears that comes apart for easy cleaning. In the late stages of the pregnancy, I’m already in charge of the kitchen more than ever before, and I anticipate that things will remain this way after the baby arrives. I love sharp and sturdy knives, and these will make my cooking duties easier and quicker. I amused Jenny’s mom: after offering to help make dinner one night and being assigned a chopping task, I retrieved my new knife to try it out.
On a slightly sad note, because of the new knives, we’re getting rid of a host of now redundant knives. Among these are several that I received as a Christmas gift many years ago, during my best Christmas ever. My sisters teamed up to buy me a complete kitchen set–pots and pans, kitchen utensils, knives, and so forth. Then, due to the fact that in my family we open our presents one at a time, in order of age, so it’s easy to see who has the most presents, they unboxed the set and wrapped each item individually. It was the only year that I unseated my youngest brother from his customary “most presents” title. I still have a few items from the set, but by now have replaced most of them with newer models. I will always have fond memories of that Christmas.