All the December babies

All the December babies

It never fails.

On the first day of December, my husband starts reminding “someone’s got a birthday coming up.”

I cringe.

The someone is me.

I cringe, not because I dread getting older.

That part doesn’t really bother me; I am now at the stage of life where I am looking forward to becoming that crazy old Southern woman that shocks people.

No, the part that bothers me is that my birthday is the week before Christmas.

You folks with birthdays in other months just do not understand this pain.  

The only good thing about having a birthday the week before Christmas was that it was usually the day school got out for the break.

But celebration wise, to quote Seuss, it stink, stank, stunk.

“We’re having the Christmas party at church on the 17th,” Granny would say. “Consider that your party.”

“But, that’s not my birthday and it is the Christmas party,” was my response.

“Well, your mother’s working and I ain’t got time to throw you a party. You think you too good to celebrate on the day we celebrate Baby Jesus?”

I shook my head. The old gal knew just how to shame me.

“Well, good. And any gifts you get at church is for your birthday.”

You know what I got?
I got socks and books.

No underwear, thankfully, as that is not proper to be given at church, even if wrapped in red, shiny paper.

“So, this is my birthday presents?” I asked as we drove home afterwards.

“You may have another special one under the tree at the house,” Granny said.

A special one under the tree. Hmmm…I wonder what that could be?
Had the old gal felt pity on me for getting socks and a new Garfield comic book as my birthday?

“You gotta wait until your birthday though,” she said. “But it will be worth it.”

I was so excited. I knew I had two sleeps until I could wake up and get something awesome, something incredible, something Granny herself had described as special.

The day of my actual birthday, I woke up early even though I didn’t have to go to school. I ran down the hall, hoping Granny would let me have the gift before she went to work.

“You’re up early!” she exclaimed when she saw me. “Couldn’t wait to be one year older, could you?”

I shook my head. Would she give it to me now? Did I need to go wake Mama? I hated waking her but if this was special, she should see it, too.

“Eat some breakfast and then I will let you get your gift.”

She shoved a plate of biscuits and sausage in front of me because she did not believe cereal was a proper meal.

I was almost too excited to eat. I saw a big box under the tree, and knew it had my name on it.

Pop had already checked it out and was disappointed it wasn’t his.

“You got the biggest one under the tree,” he told me. “She better not have me a tie or something. I only wear that stuff on Sundays; it ain’t getting worn out.”

Granny was about to leave and hadn’t given me my gift yet. Had she forgotten?

“Granny?” I began.

“Yeah?”

“Are you forgetting something?”

“Oh! You are waiting on your birthday gift. No, I didn’t forget,” she began. She sat her purse down. “Go get that gift over there.”

She was pointing to the big box.

 “The big one?” I asked, just to be sure.

She nodded.

Oh, sweet son of a biscuit eater. Whatever this was, was going to be good.

I ran to it, eager to tear the paper off. I knew Granny had probably re-used the bows from the last seven Christmases, so I wasn’t worried about being careful with them.

I opened the large, white box, full of anticipation.

And found a long, brushed flannel granny gown with a pink ribbon at the neckline.

“It was so big, I didn’t think I’d ever find a box to put it in. It’s going to get cold the next few weeks; you’ll need it before Christmas.”

And with that, the old gal, headed out the door to work.

A flannel gown. My big, special birthday gift was a flannel gown.

A few years before it had been footy pajamas, so perhaps this was a step up.

“I’m the only child that gets a granny gown for their birthday,” I muttered.

“No, you aren’t,” my grandfather said.
“Name me one more.”
Pop chewed his biscuit as he thought.

“I don’t know their names. But it’s all them other December babies. That’s who.”

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Something shiny for his girl (2/11/2015)

I am not by any means a jewelry girl.

I prefer my funky costume jewelry and stones over anything fancy.

Lamar has tried buying me jewelry in the past and only once did he manage to find me something I actually liked.

“The girl at the counter picked it out,” he said.

His tastes and mine are very, very different when it comes to jewelry, and again, I am just not one who cares for jewelry.

“Daddy, what are you getting Mama for Valentine’s Day?” Cole asked a few weeks ago.

“They’re having that again?” Lamar joked, casting a look at me.

I rolled my eyes.

He is the world’s worst when it comes to Valentine’s Day – any holiday that involves buying a gift really – but Feb.14 should be renamed “Lamar’s Annual Near Death Experience Day.”

“Valentine’s Day is every year,” Cole replied solemnly.

Don’t joke about love with my child. He takes it very seriously.

“It’s OK, Cole,” I said. “If your father got me anything, I may fall out from the shock.”

“I got you a good card for your birthday,” was Lamar’s defense.

“Cole picked it out for you.”

He said nothing.

How could you refute the fact your 10-year-old was better at picking out cards than you were?

“What are you getting me?” he wanted to know.

I sighed. Our gift giving is often unbalanced because I will usually put some thought in it and get him something he wants or would like but won’t buy for himself.

Bicycle junk, neat pocket knives, other man-toy paraphernalia.

It is not a gift purchased out of a dreaded panic as he wanders down some aisle to get milk and realizes he was supposed to get me a gift for some occasion.

You know how gas stations sell those gaudy roses and weird little teddy bears holding one Hershey’s Kiss?

They started selling those for men like my husband.

Maybe it should be some consolation there are others just as horrid, but it’s not. It is disturbing. There are other women out there getting tacky, chintzy, nightmarish gifts.

“What are you getting me?” I asked back.

Lord, don’t let him do a load of laundry and tell me that’s my gift again.

I tell him if I have to fold and put it away, it’s not a gift.

“So, you don’t want clothes or linens for any gift then?” is his reply.

I give up. I am destined to either have no gifts or bad gifts. I am not sure what is worse.

The fact Lamar is a terrible gift giver concerns Cole. He wants everyone to have joy, happiness and love.

He also appreciates a well thought out gift.

We went to Walmart to get a few groceries later that day and Cole pulled his dad off to the other side of the store.

I figured Cole was taking him to see the newest Lego-Pokemon-Halo, whatever the latest new toy was, and knew he still had a little Christmas money left over he had been wanting to spend.

As I was checking the expiration date on some Chobani, Cole ran up, beaming widely.

“Happy Valentine’s Day early!” he exclaimed, thrusting a box in my hand.

“What is it?” I asked, opening the box.

Inside was a thin gold chain. I couldn’t tell if it held a locket or was just a chain, but it was lovely.

“It’s beautiful! Can I put a pendant on it?”

Cole looked crestfallen. “You don’t like it, do you?”

“Yes, I do!” I said.

I am not as expression-able about things as he is, and I wasn’t expecting a gift in the middle of the dairy department. But my child is a hopeless romantic and believes in giving gifts, even if Greek yogurt is involved.

“I love it, Cole,” I said, trying to reassure him.

He didn’t believe me for some reason.

I didn’t want to put it on in the store – I was scared I wouldn’t catch the latch properly and would lose it, so I waited to put it on at home.

It was beautiful. Just a simple gold chain that wasn’t too long, but hit at my collar bone, giving just a hint of shimmer. It was not a chain I would put a pendant on, but one that was just a simple, lovely, delicate chain. I loved it.

“Cole, this is beautiful,” I told him.

“Do you really like it?” he asked. “I have the receipt. I didn’t have enough money and had to borrow some from Daddy. I can take it back if you want me to.”

“Absolutely not, I love this.”

“You love it just because it’s from me, right?”

“No, I love this. It’s a lovely, simple gold chain. I needed a gold chain; all my other jewelry is silver.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

Absolutely, I was. It was perfect.

“I can do some more chores here and get more money to get you something nicer,” he said.

“Cole, baby, this is beautiful and perfect. I don’t want you spending your money on me if you feel like it’s not enough – when it is more than enough! I love it. What made you think you had to get me something?”

He sighed. “Because, I know Daddy does a bad job with getting gifts, and I know it disappoints you. You don’t get upset, because you aren’t expecting anything from Daddy. I wanted to get you something nice…something shiny and pretty. You deserve something shiny. ”

I smiled.

Oh, bless his heart.

He was trying to make up for his daddy’s terrible gifts or lack of gifts in general.

I don’t know if that’s even possible, but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him that.

http://www.dawsonnews.com/section/30/article/16078/