More than gifts they will not like. More than toys and games which will be tossed to the side after a week or two. More than anything else to give someone is the gift of your time.

Time spent doing even the simplest of things. For a girl who has just turned nine that was going shopping with her mother.

She wanted a leotard and eventually we found one with a skirt and footless tights. But there was the unexpected purchase of black boots and some needed 'basic' clothing.

She asked if we had time to drive downtown to eat tacos together. We did and she enjoyed that as well. But her belly was rather full from the two black bean, cilantro lime rice, cheddar cheese, and sour cream tacos that she was not able to finish the slice of ricotta cake I made for her birthday. No worries, I assured her. I would freeze the rest so we can eat it when she returns with her siblings.

So were the three and a half hours I got to spend with my younger daughter today on her ninth birthday.