The most meaningful gift

Jack Renning, Opinion Writer

The scene is set on a dimly lit lane, lined with houses, multitudes
of children milling around in colorful and crazy costumes ready to consume absurd amounts of sugar. The scene shifts to a room with a group of people gathering around a kitchen table laden with presents and topped with a majestic cake. Then, back again to the kids with their parents in tow, determined to hit as many houses as possible, so they can maximize their sugary loots. It returns to the people starting to place candles on the cake counting them out one by one. Once more, it goes to the kids coming up to their final house and charging up to the door ringing the doorbell with their candy receptacles at the ready. Lastly, it goes back to the people as they start a merry chant in honor of the person’s special day. Happy Halloween! Happy Birthday!

This blur of partaking in Halloween and birthday festivities is the reality for my family as we happen to spend October 31 celebrating both Halloween and my mom’s birthday. Anyone who has a birthday on a holiday knows that holiday and birthday tend to get pretty intermixed, leading to the question of: is it that person’s birthday or is it the holiday? Usually, it ends up being a careful balance of how to spend the 24 hours you’re given. As little kids, my siblings and I would always want to go out on Halloween and trick-or- treat, but unfortunately, that often meant my mom had to go around walking in the cold with us. Was this her favorite thing in the world to do on her birthday? No, but the important thing to my brother, sister and I was that our mom took the time to come out trick-or-treating with us, even though it was her birthday. That gift of time is something I’ll always remember. Some people don’t put enough value on the little bits of time they can give to others, simply chalking it up to meaningless interactions or just helping out for a second. Those short moments given to others are so much more valuable than that. Often, they mean much more to those receiving them than the other person may realize. They’re even more valuable when someone shares time that is hard for them to spare with others. Sometimesthe gifts of time that matter the most, though, are the ones that are the hardest to give. I’m not saying everyone should give every scrap of time they have to others, but sparing a little bit here or there can make a world of difference. So, the next time you are feeling tired, or lazy or just seem to have no time on your hands, let’s all just remember that even the smallest bit of time given can become the most meaningful gift of all.

P.S. Happy early birthday, Mom!