My son took his first solo drive last week.
He has been driving our van since receiving his permit several months ago, so this was an expected event. A 16-year-old earns a driver's license. The next step is driving alone.
Yet as he was walking out the door, my heart caught in my throat.
I tried to hide my emotions. He didn't seem to notice as he came back in the kitchen and went upstairs to retrieve something he almost forgot.
When he was out of earshot, I turned to my husband and said, "He's getting so big."
While sitting at the table, my husband had been working on something. His hands held an item I couldn't quite see.
"I made you something," he said with a grin.
I walked over to receive his offering and noticed that it was a red ring from the top of a milk jug. He had formed it into a heart.
What a nice gesture. It served as a balm to soothe my anxiety.
A tear escaped, but I quickly wiped it away when I heard footsteps coming back to the kitchen.
"Be careful. Call us when you get there," I urged as our son walked out the door.
For the next half hour I carried the phone around as I completed some household tasks.
When he didn't call, I was worried.
Then my husband's cell phone started beeping. Our son had sent a text saying he was sorry. He forgot to call but he had arrived safely. Such sweet news.
As I put the phone back into its charger base, I realized something else was in my hand: The red ring, shaped into a heart.
Such a sweet, meaningful gift.
"See, honey, you don't have to spend a lot of money to make me happy," I told my husband. "The thoughtful things you do make all the difference."
With today being Black Friday, thoughts of gifts are on the minds of most people. Bargain hunters are out and about, searching for a good deal on the perfect present.
It feels great to find exactly what we seek, doesn't it? Giving gifts to those we love is such a traditional part of the holiday season that we seem to expect it. Or, perhaps we think others seem to expect it from us.
But is that really what we each are seeking? If we're truthful, I think we'd rather have another person be in tune with our thoughts and feelings and provide a tender response.
The best gifts come from the heart. Sometimes they even come in the shape of a heart.
Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.