Dec 26, 2021 • 19M

I didn’t need a new pair of slippers…

Joel Barnes SHAREing
Open in playerListen on);
For now, this will be a recorded version of Share. The Newsletter. that will be made available for paid subscribers.
Episode details
1 comment

And to be 100% honest, at first, I kinda felt like I got a tie or a pair of socks or something like that. Not that I was being a brat…. There’s a kind of a history here. Lol. It wouldn’t be the first time I got something that I didn’t understand why I got it.

Once my daughter mom got me an iced coffee and I took a sip… pulled it away from my mouth and said, “there’s no sweetener in this”. She said “you don’t need sweetener in there anyways. It’s too sweet how you drink it.”

But… that’s how I like my coffee. MY … coffee. You know? Not your coffee. Lol. MY coffee.

So, I got slippers. Didn’t I GET a pair of slippers from you… last year?!

Over the years I’ve definitely had some “oh, you got me that” moments. Lol. But I’m gonna keep it one thousand… she’s also completely nailed it. Matter of fact, to this day, my favorite Christmas present of all time came from my daughters mom. Five years ago, there was a death in the family and she had a small inheritance and she basically asked “what would would be the best gift you could get?” And my laptop had crashed that week. She got me a brand new MacBook Pro. Honestly, I’ve probably written the equivalent of 2/3 books on that laptop. I still use it everyday.

Last year. A new set of pots. Doesn’t sound like the most fun to YOU… but I LOVE to cook and when she asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I had a pot handle break a few days earlier and it was a “duh. New pots” moment. I have used those things as often as I could possibly physically use them in this past year. I love em.

One year I got a pink shirt with a bunch of lions on it. But like… not a cute one. Lol. She liked it though. So that was my gift. Never wore it once.

This year she asked me what I wanted for Christmas 2 days before Christmas and honestly my mind was blank. I don’t think about things I need. This isn’t a season of “wants” for me. Like… I’m in kind of a survival mode. So everything I think about is very very minimalistic to survival. I freaking love Instacart gift cards… and for the bad pain days… GrubHub saves the day because I don’t have to cook. Bills aren’t cute and fun or Christmassy but that’s the next place my mind goes and I know that’s not what she’s asking so I just kinda shut down or draw a blank. I just stocked the fridge this week… I can make that last for 2 weeks. For SURE. I have a warm bed to sleep in… I mean… I’m getting a ball in my throat just thinking about how freakin blessed I am for THAT. I’m good. I’m blessed.

All my primal needs are met. Hannah is safe. My mind can’t really go in the direction of luxuries right now. Melissa starts rattling off things…

Pots or pans or pot holders?

Nope. You got that for me last year. Remember?

Socks or underwear?

<I didn’t tell her this but I had a friend send me a gift card to target and I treated myself to 2 new packs of underwear a few months ago. Lol.>

Nope. Good there.


I don’t use AirPods too often but that’s because I got mine 6/7 years ago and they are pretty spent. They die in about 15 minutes.

Done and done. AirPods it is.

Immediately I feel guilt because I don’t have the ability to spend that kind of money on her or even Hannah this year.

Of course, I tell her… seriously Melissa I don’t need anything. I’m good. I promise.

And she got me AirPods anyway.

I mean… y’all know me and my daughters mom have a unique relationship. This is one of those kinda things. And I’m not trying to act like it’s like this all the time. Matter of fact, it’s been a really really really hard time since her father passed. Communication is shit. There’s so much grief that’s not getting treated or talked about or processed. Honestly it’s hard because normally I can kinda fix things… but I can’t fix this for her and it breaks my heart … and I walk with Hannah through grief … and freakin grieve myself. I mean… you ever hear the saying “put your mask on first before you secure your child’s mask” like they tell you on the airplane? This isn’t a preemptive safety measure… We all went down with the grief plane and we’re ALL beat up and need medical attention. Limpin through it.

So… it’s been really hard. Honestly, we’ve been really distant. And I’ve been pretty pissed at her lately for some stuff. And I know she’s avoided me on some stuff.

But I appreciate the effort to search through the things I could need… I appreciate her asking questions and stumbling across something that I didn’t expect… I appreciate her getting them for me. That’s dope. You know?

Then I get another bag, open it, and it’s some slippers.

Aight. Well… I didn’t need a new pair of slippers… lol.

This is just one of those proximity things and because she’s not around me that often, she doesn’t know that last year, I got a pair of slippers from my old job. The year before, I actually needed slippers… and she got me a pair of slippers. Some really nice Ugg ones actually. So…. I didn’t need a new pair of slippers.

I didn’t even know who got em for me and I asked Melissa, did you get these for me? She said “or Hannah did? Maybe?”

You know. Kinda doing the “Santa got em for you” type thing. I said ah. Ok. Well thanks Melissa and Hannah.

Hannah says, “I actually picked out the slippers for you because the ones you have slide all over the floor at home”.

I believe at this point, a tickle fight ensued with the kids or maybe it was when Hannah smacked me a couple times up side the head and then everyone beat up uncle Joel for the next 20 minutes while I acted like a monster… either way, the moment shifted.

But then, I got home… Hannah and I were getting ready to watch Dexter (we’re on season 2 episode 11) and I tried on the slippers… and I heard Hannah’s voice from earlier saying “I picked them out because the ones you have slide all over the place.”

And I look over at my Toms slippers (which I literally wear everyday) and as soon as I look at them, I hear Hannah’s voice “dad, be careful in those slippers please… they are SO slippery”. I flashback to at least a dozen times, recently, that she’s told me to be careful… wearing those super slippery Toms slippers. I mean… I’m on crutches. If I slip because of these slippery ass Toms slippers… it could be bad. And she consistently warns me… EVERY TIME I put them on… to be careful.




Then I feel the bottom of the new slippers that I didn’t need and… it’s like a non-slip soft rubber bottom. Everything kinda comes together for me at once and I’m legitimately on the verge of tears when I say (yes I interrupted Dexter for this)…

Hey. Kid. Thank you so much for the slippers. I just realized what you meant about my other slippers. You probably felt the grip on the bottom of these ones. Is that why you wanted to get me them?

You could see it on her face… that I GOT IT. She just sat there and smile-smirked.

I said. You’ve been worried about me slipping and falling in these other slippers… so you noticed something that I needed that would actually make me safer. And that means so much to me babe. SO so so much. Thank you. You noticed…

Honestly… people ask me all the time what I need. My life’s been so sideways… half the time that questions paralyzes me.

But when someone notices… and they just pick it up and fix it. There’s just something about that that reminds you that you aren’t alone. You know?

I don’t even think it has to be anything of financial value either. My friend… she’s having a hard time during Christmas. I don’t have anything to buy her… wouldn’t even know where to start… I don’t wanna make her crawl in a hole if I ask her what I can get her for Christmas but I know she needs a hug. And you know what? There’s a lot of me right now to hug, so I know she likes the fluffiness!! Lol. So that’s it. That’s all I got and that’s all I can give so that’s what I offer.

It’s the thought that counts… how many times have we heard that? But ITS FREAKIN TRUE!! You know?!

If you don’t know what someone needs, ask.

If you notice something that they might need, act on it

You know what I think meant the most to me about Hannah getting me the non-slippery slippers? It wasn’t even her money. She just got me something to keep me safe. She noticed and solved. She took something off my plate that I didn’t even know I had on it. I mean, think about it… slippers are a luxury, I have Toms slippers, what am I gonna do? Think that I need new slippers because my sixty dollar slippers are too slippery?!


I’d just wear them and try not to bust my ass, but my kid noticed… and solved.

That’s what love looks like. There is something that’s so genuinely special about being seen.

I’m grateful for the slippers that I didn’t know I needed. I’m grateful and blessed to feel loved. I’m grateful that my kid is learning to notice and love this way.

Honestly, there is no greater legacy to leave behind that one of love and empathy.