No matter how hard I look for “the perfect gift,” every year my mother opens her present, make a sour face, and says, “Oh, is dis from the Dollar Store?”
“No, Mom, they don’t sell 24K gold necklaces at the Dollar Store, but you keep looking.”
She then looks at me suspiciously. “Did somevon just gif dese to you and you’re givink dem to me?”
“No, Anyu, I just bought them online last week. Wanna see the receipt?”
“Oh, my God, you didn’t buy dem on Dah Ebay did you? Are these used? I don’t vant to catch AIDs…”
“No, actually, I bought them off some diseased hobo on the street corner for $5. He gave them to me for a great price – all I needed to do was give him my social security number and your maiden name. Pretty good deal, huh?”
This is when I usually get dirty looks. My mother doesn’t appreciate the full range of my sarcasm.
Last year, out of sheer frustration and lack of time, I simply printed a photo of myself and framed it. To be honest, it gave me a weird sense of relief to give her the picture because it featured a photo of me in Japan. I’ve been wanting to tell her that I went to Japan to visit a friend, but I think the sheer shock of telling her that I have boarded a plane might send her into cardiac arrest. I’m sure one day I’ll just have to buy her a nice bottle of wine and pull out the slide show:
“Mom…here’s a picture of me on a horse.”
“And here’s a picture of me in the ocean. In Japan.”
“…And here’s a picture of me in Colorado, meeting my father and his brand new wife for the first time.”
“OH, STEPHIE, NOOOO!”
“Yeah, I know, right? He’s already been married like four other times…”
(At this point I would probably realize that my mother has exploded into a fiery pile of ash.)
So, to keep it simple and alleviate some of the guilt I have been feeling for lying to my mom about traveling, I gave her the Japan photo (Okay, I didn’t mention that the photo was from Japan, but hey, at least I’m trying.)
Go figure, for the first time in my life, she freaking LOVED it.
“Wow, look at dis beautiful picture! I haf to show dah people at church…you’re actually dressed up so you don’t look like a man!”
I guess I’ll take that as a compliment.
And you wanna know the most satisfying part of that gift? I bought that frame at the Dollar Store.