Gifts are funny things in our house. Anything the kids make is a treasure, and every gift, no matter how small, is appreciated. And yet buying stuff just because it happens to be a day it's generally accepted to give someone something isn't that high on my list.
And, anyway, I'd much rather give presents than receive them - I've always thought I get twice as much that way.
Mother's day is a perfect example. And last Mother's Day stands out in my mind as a key turning point. I am almost 100% sure that I will get nothing this year, because I was so bloody ungrateful in 2015. But in my defence, there is a bit more to this story, and it goes something like this.
Husband wishes to do the right thing but is just not a creative shopper. He takes kids to town, to the big generic "We've got everything you need except food and we've got a store in every town" shop, who are ideally set up to cater for men who just don't know or even fucking care what they purchase for their kids to give their mother on Mother's Day as long as she gets something and it doesn't backlash negatively on him. They have racks and racks of "Mothery" stuff right at the front door. If you want to walk in this shop, you have to walk in past this pastel- coloured-stereotypical-50's era-sugary-sweet-vomit- landfill. It's the kind of stuff they could donate to nursing homes and everyone there would be happy.
So Husband reaches out to these racks, grabs a couple of things (one for each kid to wrap and triumphantly hand over on the big day) and leaves the store thinking, "Mother's Day - Crushed It. "
Fast forward to the day, and the mother in question (that would be me) is dutifully presented with two parcels. And dutifully makes all the right noises. And then opens the wrapping paper and . . .
I promise I didn't mean to guffaw quite so loudly.
I really meant to appreciate - genuinely appreciate - whatever the hell it was I was being presented with. But I just couldn't.
I couldn't help thinking that there'd been some mistake and I'd accidentally been given the stuff they'd got for my Mother In Law. (Who is an absolutely wonderful woman and I'm thankful everyday that she is my Mother-In-Law because she is a delight. . . She's also pushing 80, though, so the 50s housewife stereotype is actually based on her life.)
Because, you see, what I found myself holding was a pair of those slippers like Mrs Brown wears, and a pale puce coloured dressing gown. Size about 40.
And I tried really really hard for at least 10 seconds to keep that delighted, satisfied look on my face. But I just couldn't. I would have been super happy with a badly made card each off the kids put together at school replete with glitter and hearts. But I just couldn't love this. Not on any level.
(Turns out we both kind of failed mother's day, hey?)
Needless to say, the rest of that Sunday was a bit frosty and quiet.
I think the moral to the story here is simple. If you want to nail Mother's Day right between the eyes, buy your wife, mother, mother-in-law some original art, from a wonderfully talented local artist. Not only is it likely to be beautiful, but your purchase will be appreciated at both ends of the sale and it's a gift that is suitable for anyone, of any age.
(Click here to see some original art ideas . . . )
In case you were wondering, It all turned out ok in the end. Miss 10 rather liked the look of the slippers and claimed them. And the puppy really loved that puce dressing gown and it adorns her bed today. Husband still doesn't quite understand what was really wrong with those things but that's ok. We've agreed that we won't waste money on Mothers Day any more.
I went to town the next day and bought my own present. It fits much more snugly with where I am in my life right now.