I was lucky enough to have a small piece of writing published on the #HazardousToYourSanity blog which was a tiny piece of fiction about gift giving and you can find it here, if you’re interested. It’s about a gift that, while given in love, is quite different from the sort of thing that the reciever enjoys. I didn’t want anyone to think that the story was modelled on my darling husband who gives great gifts. It’s loosely modelled on my parents when I was young.
My late mother would bend heaven and earth to get the perfect present. She would watch carefully for clues, scour the charity shops and haunt the bargain stores and markets. She didn’t have much money but she would stretch it to get the best possible gift, suited the individual even if she couldn’t understand it herself. She was dedicated. She never forgot birthdays, anniversaries or important dates and even now I am trained on a subliminal level to make sure that a card and gift arrives to anyone who moves house, changes jobs, has a child or anything Hallmark. I can feel her shade at my shoulder, tutting if I forget.
My late father failed at gifts. He was generous to a fault but he had a sort of ‘gift-blindness’ that amused me but drove my late mother scatty. They got married on the 9th March and my late mother’s birthday was the 6th September. Every year, without fail, my father would get gifts for my mother on the 6th March and the 9th September. The arguments that followed were epic and prolongued. Added to which, my mother loathed anything pink and frilly. The last gift my father gave her before an incredibly hard fought divorce was a bright pink and frilly dressing gown. It didn’t help.
The ‘gift-blindness’ wasn’t anything malicious. After the divorce, I was grateful if my father remembered my birthday in the correct month. And the gifts were incredibly well meant – my father had a heart the size of Cheshire – but were random. My uncle was even worse. I once got a knock-off Crazy Frog key ring with sound effects. If you can remember Crazy Frog, you can imagine how incredibly tacky a knock-off of that was. My uncle thought it was a brilliant joke, spent a fortune on me in other ways, unexpectedly and unasked covered a load of wedding expenses and was a warm hearted, generous guy with a skewed idea of gifts.
My take is that no matter what the gift is, you smile when you accept it, find something nice to say about it and take the love that comes with it. We all know that some gifts come with malice. But in my experience, most gifts, no matter how crazy, come wrapped in layers and layers of love and that is worth cherishing.