Y’know, Mick, just once I could go for like a sweater or some earrings… something that I could actually wear outside of this apartment?
Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays like New Year’s Eve or National Horseradish Month for which there’s no there there. At certain times in life there are clear rules for valentines–in school, you have to bring one for everyone or none at all. As we get older and our relationships change, however, the rules are more like guidelines, and vague ones at that.
Flowers? Or is that trite? A card? Too cheap? Chocolates? Are you trying to make me fat? And then there are the gifts that are just plain wrong…
And then there’s the calculus of balance–what happens if you get her a pair of diamond earrings and she gives you a card with an expired carpet cleaning coupon from an old ValPak mailing she had lying around? Do you get to take the earrings back? Maybe just one of them? She at least pays for dinner, then, right?
In past years, the pressure’s really been on me, since Mama’s hit seventh-game-of-the-World Series, bottom-of-the-ninth, game-winning grand slams, like buying me beautiful hats, such as my beloved gray Borsalino. I guess that I did OK with my gifts, since she didn’t return my hats and cash in the refund for a spa day in the Bahamas.
As our relationship has progressed–which is to say, now that we have a toddler who has absorbed all of our brains, time, and capacity to plan more than five minutes ahead–the calculus of balance is again shifting. Because Mama and I have tended to avoid the traditional gifts, and because we’re tending toward more simple gifts, and because Mom and Dad always got all six of us kids See’s chocolates for VDay, I thought that I’d shake it up this year by setting the way back machine and getting Mama and 3B some See’s.
I know that both of them love chocolate, and I know that Mama particularly loves See’s, and I know that 3B will love the puppy and kitten on the lid of his box, and I know that I’m filling in a bit for Mom, who would have sent 3B some–but still…chocolates? Trite?
You can imagine then, how I smiled when I discovered that Mama had already opened the See’s box by the time I got home. And when I confronted her with the evidence, you can imagine how hard I laughed when she said, “Oh, I hid those. I thought that was the box that I ordered for you.”
And so we discovered that we’d ordered each other the exact same gift. Sometimes the balance is perfect.
Except that neither of us was satisfied with just chocolates, so there are more gifts, which will be revealed tonight. So I still have a chance to screw up. So, if you see me banging on the door of a closed jewelry store tonight, you’ll know how that came out.
Note: Tonight, I’ll have 3B draw from a hat the name of one contributor to my brother’s ride. I’ll post the name of the winner here as soon as we can get the scrap of paper back from 3B.
So, you have until tonight to get your contribution in and be entered to win an iTunes gift certificate.