It’s almost Christmas! You’re too young to really understand Christmas yet, but it’s the reason that we have a tree in our house right now. It’s also the reason you’ll be getting presents next week, despite the fact that you’re happy to play with an empty water bottle.
Anyway, this whole Christmas thing got me thinking about the gifts that I really want to give you, not just for the holidays, but for life.
1. The gift of travel
I’m terrified by the prospect of putting you on a plane, but baby, I can’t wait for you to see the world.
I want you to stomp all over the Scottish islands that your father and I love so much that we named you after one of them. Go hillwalking in the pishing rain. See scenery that literally takes your breath away. Pet a Shetland pony, the tiniest and best of all the horses.
I want you to go to New York and see where I grew up. Eat real pizza. Drink cawfee at the mawl. Fall in love with that warm, damp subway smell.
I want you to go to Puerto Rico to see why everyone thinks your father is crazy for moving to Scotland. Drink from a coconut. Go to a beach without a waterproof jacket on. Sweat from every part of your body.
I want you to take you with me to all the places I’ve always wanted to visit – Japan, New Zealand, Iceland.
I want you to be curious about other places and other cultures.
I want you to have the itchiest of feet.
2. The gift of reading
I have to admit that I haven’t so much been reading lately as I have been watching Netflix on the iPad on silent with subtitles in the dark at ungodly hours. I’m hoping this is just a temporary lull in a life that has otherwise been filled with books.
I want to teach you to love reading more than anything.
I want you to go to the library, take out as many books as you can carry, devour them all, then do the same thing the following week.
I want you to fall asleep with a book in your hand at night.
I want you to know that the book is almost always better than the movie.
It’s going to be hard, since you’re growing up in the age of the internet, and the pull of the web is strong. There’s a lot of great stuff on the internet, but it’s also full of people calling each other Nazis and banging on about the second amendment IN ALL CAPS. So I want you to just step away from it when you can. Pick up an actual book made of paper. Lose yourself in it.
3. The gift of food
You’re new to food, but it’s fun, right? All these new things to go #INDAMOUF.
I want to show you how to love food as much as your father and I do, ie A LOT.
I want you to start asking what’s for lunch while you’re eating breakfast.
I want you to be adventurous when it comes to textures and flavors. Persist when it comes to things like kimchi, blue cheese and wasabi – I promise you that it’s worth it.
I want you to know that nothing’s better than a delicious meal shared with friends and family, followed by cake. There must always be cake.
These are the gifts that really matter, not cheap, brightly-colored toys that you can chew on. But don’t worry – we got you some of those too.