My mom was always the BEST gift giver in the family. Joey gives fun and funny gifts. I try to give stylish or hip gifts. Dad always gives you his version of what you said you wanted. But mom, she always knew the right thing to give. I don’t know how she did it. It was a cool outfit the year you really wanted to fit in. It was the perfect microwave for the college apartment. It was the best assortment of goodies in the care package from home.
I remember that it was one of the real signs that something was wrong with her several years ago. She started giving us really strange gifts. I was in my late 20s and I got a toy bear I could take in the pool. I was way too old for a toy bear, and didn’t live near a swimming pool. Subsequent holidays we’d get strange things she had found in the basement or a closet and decided to give to us a gift. At the time it was so incredibly frustrating. And I’d get so angry because I’d spent all this money on my Christmas gifts, and mom was ruining the holiday, not taking it seriously anymore. I didn’t know that it was the illness coming on. In the early days of the illness, it’s so subtle, that you are constently reacting out of anger and frustration because someone isn’t being normal or acting right. She wasn’t normal. She wasn’t right.
One of the traditions that we have created and kept through the ups and downs of the illness is that Joey and I take mom out and let her pick out Christmas and birthday gifts for the other one. It’s really whatever mom is in the mood for. Usually it’s also something that is in eyesight from where she is in the store when you prompt her. So it take some strategic placement and then a gentle reminder we are searching for a gift, and after that, it’s whatever mom sees and picks. For my birthday this year I got a t-shirt that says “This is what AWESOME looks like.” I wear it all the time. 🙂
This week I took mom out for our annual trip to buy gifts FROM: Mom and TO: Joey and Katie. Before we went, I interviewed her about what she wanted to buy for them. You’ll never guess what she came up with…