One of the posts the other day reminded me of a story from about 7 years ago that I just have to send in for your disapproval.
At the time, I was about 15 years old, and my Aunt was celebrating her 30th birthday. My Mum is my Aunt’s older sister and was 43 at the time. Yes, there is a 13-year age gap between the two. My Aunt had planned to hire out a ‘clubhouse’ or ‘function centre’ for the party, had a professional caterer, open bar, professional cake, the whole she-bang. I know it sounds a bit odd, but a few years before my Aunt had come out of a bad relationship, had found a new love, and was starting to live her life again. This party was really really important to her.
Right as we were due to leave, Mum looks at me, and says, “What did you get your Aunt?” Well, I had no job, no income, Mum didn’t give us pocket money, so I had no way of getting a present (I found out two years later when I tried to graduate that she had not paid ANY of my 6 years of High School fees because “I should get a job and do it myself”, and I couldn’t graduate, but that’s a different story). Apparently, Mum thought she could leave it to the last minute, not buy a gift, and just put her name on my gift, because I always put in the time and effort to buy a cute and appropriate gift (now that I have a job, anyway). I managed to rustle up some candles I’d bought for my Grandma some time before (but had never given to her), and a few bath bombs, and wrapped it all up nicely, but point blank refused to put Mum on the card (and yes, I understand that may have been a faux pas in and of itself).
Well. Mum storms into her room, searching for something to give my Aunt, and comes back with a shaving kit. You know the ones, before waxing became all the rage, and they had a can of shaving cream, a razor, moisturizer, etc, in a pink box with a big pink bow. Well, this box, originally had cost about $10 at most and had been a gift to my Mum from a neighbor – THREE years before! Yes, complete with inch-thick layer of dust, Mum starts wrapping it up. Well, I love my Aunt to bits, and there was NO way I was going to stand for it. I took it off Mum, said something about her getting ready/dressed/whatever, and how I’m a much better wrapper than she is. She storms off, I undo the paper, wipe down the box, open it up to make sure everything is still in place, re-do the bow and wrap it carefully. Mum puts her name, my brother, her boyfriend at the time, and his 4 sons all on the one $10 gift that didn’t actually cost her anything. *Sigh*
Fast forward to the end of that party. I helped my Aunt with the cleaning (which pretty much meant eating all the leftover food, what can I say, I was a typical 15-year-old) and then helped her stack the presents into her car. I gave her my present, and the ‘present’ from my Mum that I had been carting around all night, and my Aunt opened my present right then and there – and positively gushed over a few cheap candles and bath bombs – she made me feel like… well, like I’d given her the most perfect and expensive gift in the world. I was on cloud 9. And then she opens the gift from Mum and looks at me and says, “Is this… the box… that’s been sitting on the cistern of your Mum’s toilet for three years? Oh. My. God.” Yes, dear Mum forgot that just one week before, my Aunt had used the shower in her bathroom after the hot water in her apartment had stopped working, and had to have seen the distinctive pink shaving box sitting in pride of place on top of the toilet.
Well, my Aunt swore me to secrecy, and deposited the ‘gift’ into the nearest rubbish bag. And no, my Mum hasn’t gained any more common decency since.
Miss Jeanne, thanks to your blog, I now know better than to do this. Throw me into ehell if you must for my ignorance and my actions, but please, tell me how I could have handled this better. It’s haunted me for years. 0427-10
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