It’s time for that most perfect gift |

It’s time for that most perfect gift

Well kids, I’m exhausted, again. Every year I start out with high hopes of finding for you the perfect Christmas gifts. I want so badly to get you that one extraordinary thing that will show you without a doubt exactly how much I love you. I keep my eyes open all year looking for it. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around I’m frantically finger-licking my way through catalogues and surfing waves of websites. When that predictably fails, against my better judgment I head to the stores, braving the cold and the crowds. Between sound-checking iPods and fumbling with Xboxes, I leave not a knick nor knack unturned. As the shopping clock winds down, I end up settling on something that never feels quite right. It’s like the whole exercise is a huge disappointment, and I begin to think that no gift exists that will let you know just how I feel.The anxiety was building again late last evening, me not having a clue what to do. Then the most wonderful idea occurred as I was losing myself in a swirl of nutmeg and nog. I thought back through the years, and I heard your small voices. I heard what you’ve asked for since the days you were born. And just like that I knew that this is the year my search will be true.Do you want to make guess what it is? Go ahead, shake it around. You won’t hear a sound. You can’t see it, touch it, or smell it. Try to find more and you will never succeed. It moves quickly when you’re happy but seems to stop when you watch it. You can’t replace it, there are no instructions on how to use it, and it comes with no guarantees. Nobody ever has enough of it, yet we waste tons of it.Give up? It’s time! No no, I’m not pressuring you for an answer. That’s what my gift is. I’m giving you time; my time!We’ll do whatever it is you want to do. We’ll sit or walk to talk or watch. I’ll teach you things you already know, and you can teach me things I forgot long ago. It’ll be great!What’s come over me, you ask?Well, there have been many things in my life that I intended to make time for. I finally see why they couldn’t be managed, because I finally realize that I can’t make time. Nobody can. What we have is all we have. We’re not getting anymore.I’m not making this mistake with you. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Let me put it to you this way: go out to the garage and have a look around. Pretty bad, huh? That’s kind of how grownups’ lives get. The years pass, and without even realizing it, one morning we wake up to find out that we’ve crammed in so much junk that there’s no place for us to park anymore. What I am trying to say is that it’s time for a garage sale. I’m getting rid of the clutter. I’m not going to be left out in the cold. The time is right to make this gift because at this very moment I have more time than I ever will again in all my life.Despite what you hear, you can’t save time. Try as you might, you can never stop spending it. From the minute you’re born it begins dripping away. No matter how smart you are, no matter how hard you work, you’ll never earn any more of it. So, spend it wisely. It’s not polite to ask, but I know you’re interested in how much this gift cost. I don’t mind telling you, but it’s hard to say for sure. Basically, time is your life and your life is you. Most people have to work for a living, and trade some of their time for whatever somebody else will pay for it. But, even if somebody is willing to give you, say, hundreds of dollars per hour, don’t be fooled into believing that’s all you are worth. If you do, it can become all too easy to unload 60-hour chunks of your life for a weekly paycheck. It’ll be gone before you know it.Here’s how I figure time’s value: When I think about how much I miss your grandpa, I would give up my life’s savings for just one more hour to spend with him. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn’t. And that proves how valuable it really is. This leads me to my final point about time: The more of it you spend with people you love, the more priceless it becomes. Think how wonderful it will be with all of us; your family and good friends sitting down for Christmas Eve dinner together. That’s when you’d like to make time stand still. But, you can’t do that either, so enjoy the moments. My time is the most precious thing I can give you. I can’t tell you for sure how much you’re getting. There’s no way to know how much any of us has left on account. All I know is that whatever I have is yours. Too soon, when you are all grown up, I won’t know what to do with my time anymore. Maybe then I’ll try writing the great American novel, stringing together enough meaningful words to fill a very large void. And even if I don’t succeed, my memories will be pleasant and dreams sweet. My cup will be filled so full that there won’t be room for regrets, only a little cream.My sole wish is that you know you are worthy of the most valuable thing I can give you. Realizing how loved you are, I hope that you will always find a way to love yourself. As it was mine, this too is your inheritance. Spend it wisely; treat those who love you well. This is the way it should be. So, merry Christmas to you, kids.Merry Christmas to me.Roger Marolt can be reached time and time again at

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