My mother is a wonderful person. She's kind and giving, caring and loving and has always sacrificed for her family. She is by far the strongest woman I've ever known. There's one area, though, where she's insecure: gift giving.
Mom lacks self-confidence when it comes to picking out gifts for people; her sons-in-law seem to cause her particular stress, but it's fair to say that her anxiety doesn't discriminate when it comes to finding the perfect gift for someone. For this reason, she seems to think that if Person A has already found a gift for Person B, then she can offer to purchase said gift from Person A so that she knows she'll be giving Person B something that they really want/will appreciate. Mom's done this to me...at least twice.
J and I are not particularly easy people to buy for. If we want something, we think about it for a while and usually tend to just buy it if we've decided that we still want it. Our birthdays, anniversary and Christmas all fall within a 2 1/2 month period so it's kind of hard to surprise either of us with anything (although he always manages to trump me). Sometimes, though, I get lucky and either find, or think of, a great gift.
Two years ago, I found a lovely painting of the 13-star "Betsy Ross" flag at one of my favorite stores and I purchased it for J for Christmas. Upon exiting the store, I told Mom about my find and how excited I was to give it to J. She looked at me so innocently, brow furrowed with a hint of embarrassment, and asked if she could buy it from me and could I find something else for him? Ugh. I agreed. Since then, she's appropriated other gifts, but I can't remember them all.
Last week, I picked up Stephen Colbert's latest book to give to J this Christmas. Guess who asked to buy it from me? This during a year when I am completely stumped for ideas for him.
I know Mom's insecurity comes from wanting to please people and make sure that "her" gifts have made the recipient happy, but it's getting just the slightest bit old. The older she gets, too, the more she perfects the puppy-dog eyes. Really, who can say no to that?
I suppose I'll have to let her keep usurping my gifts, though. Otherwise, she'll keep giving J stuff like this, which she bought at the grocery store, (along with 4 packages of Lindt chocolates, for which he was very appreciative) for his birthday last month.
His ongoing gift to her is that he doesn't tell her he's an atheist.
* #2 keeps shoving plastic spoons into the VCR. We never use it, but now we couldn't if we wanted to. After extracting a spoon the other night the machine is well and truly fracked.
* I'll be really pissed if Marie Osmond makes it much further in Dancing With the Stars. And thank God that Jane went tonight. It was time. Sabrina was so robbed. How cute is it that she's dating her dance partner, though?
* The Undertaking, on PBS' Frontline, was amazing. Sad, but also touching, inspirational and quite beautiful.