One Christmas my oldest son gave me a lovely pair of gloves. Both of them were the same cream color. He proudly pointed this feature out to me and then explained how he’d found this particular pair in a sale bin.
“There was only one on the little card thingy,” he said pointing to the cardboard I was holding. One glove was still firmly attached with that little plastic gadget that hooks tags to clothes. “The other glove got pulled off and I had to find it.” My son mimicked digging through a bin full of knit gloves.
“I still had some money left over,” he explained. Once again, his voice betrayed his pride.
I thanked him and reframed from asking what he’d spent the extra money on. I already knew. He’d bought food.
I wore the gloves for a long time. I even wore the gloves when both of them weren’t the same color anymore. Because you see, one had gotten washed with a red tablecloth. My son felt bad that one glove was pink, and one was beige since he’d tried so hard to find the same color.
So, he promised next Christmas he’d get me a brand-new discount pair. But he broke his promise because THE GIRLFRIEND appeared.
No stirring around in a bargain bin for THE GIRLFRIEND’S present. By golly, she deserved the best. The best was a silly stuffed monkey holding a necklace. Total value worth more than all the unmatched and matched gloves in the bin.
I know exactly why she deserved necklaces while I deserved gloves that have become separated. She deserved it because her T-shirts were a couple sizes smaller than mine. She deserved it because when she put one hand on her hip, she was not planning on giving a lecture about grades. She wasn’t nagging about hanging up the towel because “There are no maids coming.” Probably the girl never once complained about the effect that a speeding ticket would have on a 16-year-old’s mode of transportation.
No. She put one hand on her hip, cocked her head, and said not much of anything. That’s why she deserved a gold necklace hung around a stuffed monkey.
My teenager’s math skills and budgeting logic had also deteriorated since last year. The boy overspent to the point he couldn’t pay his own admissions into the gymnastic meet where THE GIRLFRIEND was competing.
I could have left him standing outside the glass doors clutching his increasingly wrinkled gift, but instead, I gave him five dollars. Good thing gymnasts don’t eat much because he couldn’t even afford to buy himself something much less finance a pizza for her.
So, I think this year’s gifts from him will be meager. That’s okay. I’m pretty sure my husband’s buying me a new vacuum. Not nearly as romantic as a monkey and a necklace, but he’ll still have enough left over to feed me dinner.