Thursday, June 28, 2012

'Present' Expectations

'The Current Time'
'To Present'
'A Present'
'A Birthday Present'

There are several days during the year that require presents. Christmas, Birthday's and Mother's/Father's Day. These are sacred days to my husbands family. To be planned and celebrated and 'presented' every year. In my family it's very haphazard. Some years there are presents, some years there aren't, some years there's a phone call, sometimes it's just a card. We're pretty ok with it. I think part of our apathy has come from being in such separate states at times that getting together isn't realistic and we're miserable at putting things in the mail. We have very good intentions, but somehow that package is still sitting in my trunk four months later because I never made it to the UPS store and we all do it. With my family, it's the thought that counts. With my husbands family, there must be presents, at every occasion and, unless absolutely impossible to arrange, it requires a gathering. This didn't start off being that big a deal, but, it's a little harder now. I joke with my husband that we don't visit anymore, we invade. Us, our stuff, our two (70lbs each) dogs and all their stuff and now Baby A and all the baby stuff. We descend on a family member's house looking like we're staying for a month, not two and a half days. Plus my in laws and their dog, my husband brother and pregnant wife, and my husband's sister and her tattoo covered, nipple pierced, 45 year old art student boyfriend and all their beer (that will be a future post) and there is not a horizontal surface to sit on.

Back to the 'present' issue. (haha)

Mother's/Father's Day.
This year was our first round of Mother's Day/Father's Day presents for my husband and I and we both did a pretty good job. My husband got me pearl earrings to match my antique pearl necklace that was my great aunt's, something I've wanted for years. I got him a Kindle Fire because a few months ago he started taking the train to work and has been choosing the books to read based on size and if they'd fit in his briefcase. More than probably should be spent on a Father's Day gift but it was the first one, and it was something I knew he'd appreciate and it was better than a tie. It doesn't stop there though. My husband's family buys mother's/father's day gifts for their parents every year also. 30-something years later. And it's not just the 'kids' expectation it's the parent's also. I think my Father in Law might just shed a tear or two should he not get a father's day present. My mother in law routinely get's gift certificates for a nearby spa or some nifty gadget she's been wanting. One year we 'kids' spent around $250 on a kitchen appliance. I don't remember what it was but I remember commenting it might be a little 'out there' spending this much for Mother's Day and my husband looked at me like I was the black plague of death.

And now we're coming up on present phase two. Birthday's.

Birthday's are a big deal to my husband. I can't say I've ever really given them much thought before I had met him. It was essentially just another day. Yes there would typically be a present or two, or, more recently, my mom and I would spend the day shopping together and she'd get me an outfit or something fun I needed. With my husband and his family birthday's are an event, and I mean that literally. My husband is a twin, he and his brother were born on their older sister's birthday. So all three of them have the same birthday which happens to be two days after the 4th of July. As you can imagine, it's a holiday like none other. There are almost always three cakes, plus cookies, extravagant meals and a pile of presents to rival Christmas. It was a zoo to start off with, now it's a three ring circus as everyone is married/in a relationship so the present giving is multiplied. The parents give presents, the siblings give each other presents, and then the wives/boyfriends give presents. I feel like I"m a pretty good gift giver and usually work pretty hard to come up with something special or unanticipated. Some years though I go off the 'lists' that start going around two to three weeks out. Everyone is required to send a list and it has to have at least three reasonably priced items on it and maybe a few higher cost items that people might go in together on.

Again, parental birthday gifts are also required. Let me layout the schedule for you.
April - Mother in Law Birthday
May - Mother's Day
June - Father's Day
July - 'Kids' Birthday's
August - used to be a break, now Baby A's Birthday
September - Father in Law's Birthday (soon to be niece's birthday too)
October - My Birthday
November - catch your breath
December - Christmas

Seriously?!?!?! We're buying presents EIGHT months out of the year. Really?? The only thing I can really be thankful for is that all the 'kids' are in July otherwise we might be at 10 months. I feel like such a scrooge. I also feel like at some point this has to stop, right?

Now, for the Birthday Extravaganza I have come up with, what I think is an equally impressive gift. Tickets to a Braves game and a hotel reservation for the night in downtown Atlanta. Not just any hotel, the Hyatt Regency, which is one of the only ones in town with a pool and a poolside restaurant (i.e. bar). To top it off, my mother has volunteered to stay at our house for the night with all the babies so we can enjoy a night away together. Our first since Baby A was born.

I'm pretty proud of my gift giving so far this year. My problem now is Present Giving Day Phase 3: Christmas. It's only 6 months away and I have to come up with a third present idea for my mother in law, father in law and, of course, my husband. Maybe a tie?

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