From the Heart
A quick glance at the calendar has sent me into a panic. I've got less than 45 shopping days left until one of the most difficult holidays of the year. I have a large family that showers everyone in love & gifts, which is nice but is also expensive & tedious. Especially for me because I'm a real tightwad & I hate to shop. Hate. It.
For most of my life, my mother has been the most difficult person on my gift list. You know how moms are, they never need anything, they don't want you to spend your money on them, they know you're too busy to run around finding the perfect gift, etc. etc.
Problem is, my mom is awesome & does so much for all of us. It's often a thankless job, taking care of everyone in your world. Though I try to show her my gratitude & love every day, I still feel the need to find just the right things for holidays.
Sidebar: Mom feels the need to impart the same standard for holidays which involve Dad. However, Dad likes to remind us all that she doesn't speak for him & he does in fact expects gifts. Not that I mind because I want Dad to know he is loved & appreciated as well. But -- what could my parents possibly want or need that they can't get for themselves that I could supply? Ummm, nothing!!! It's a real challenge.
So there used to be many gift-giving occasions that I looked forward to with great anticipation & a handful that brought some trepidation as well. Now all that has gone out the window.
For years, I have prided myself on being able to give Mr. Steph the perfect gift for every occasion. A mix of the fun-but-useful, the purely-for-entertainment, the luxury-he'd-never-get-for-himself, the whimsical gadgets & on & on. If there was something he wanted but did not have, I've always made sure he received it for the next birthday or holiday celebration.
Then something awful happened. It seems that no matter how much he loves something, he becomes completely disinterested in it once it has been presented to him by me in the form of a gift. My bestowing a gift of any sort has become the kiss of death for every passion in his life. I'm annoyed & also completely at a loss to explain this.
He pines for that special DVD, fancy wallet, better scanner or remote-controlled something or other. He excitedly plays with his new toy on Christmas morn, his eyes shining with enchanted joy. He'll wear the new watch to his birthday dinner. Then they are put away, never to be seen again.
He claims to love his gifts & insists that he uses them & enjoys them. Yet somehow, he manages to utilize them all for tons of pleasure without me ever witnessing a single second of joy. Curious, indeed.
The straw that broke the camel's back came the other day as we watched a Pirates game. It happened like this: He mentioned how he really wants to "get a model of PNC Park".
Ummm, I gave you one for your birthday 5 years ago.
There followed an extended period of "Yes I did" & "No you didn't", that escalated to raised voices. He was quite emphatic until I threatened to produce a receipt. (I'm kind of anal-retentive so he was afraid to call my bluff here.) Suddenly, he recalls a few boxes of "special keepsakes" he's storing at his mom's house.
I don't understand this phenomenon at all. No matter what it is or how much he thinks he wants it, he loses all interest in it once he gets it. I suppose I should be honored that I haven't been kicked to the curb yet, as we've surpassed the 5 year anniversary. I think poor Rocco lives in constant fear that one day his own attraction to his master shall inexplicably wane.
It makes me wonder what may be next for us all. My daydreams are often fantastically dramatic, I'll admit, but here are some of the possible scenarios I've envisioned:
"Happy birthday, honey. Here's your favorite dinner."
"Thank you, dear, but I no longer eat food. I've found alternative means of nutrition."
"Merry Christmas, sweetie. I hope you enjoy breathing this fresh air I had tanked just for you."
"Oh, that's quite thoughtful of you, darling. But I breathe my own special blend now. See the little tank on my back?"
Maybe I don't have to understand this. Maybe I'm supposed to learn from it. Perhaps his next gift should be a sports package of all college football games for the entire season or a coffe table book about not putting your clothes in the hamper. Yes, I may just be able to use this to my advantage.