Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nothing for Mom


A few days before Mother’s Day last year, my mom called and told me not to get her anything. She said she didn’t need anything, that she wanted my sister, my brother and me to save our money.

How could I not get my mom something for Mother’s Day?

“You don’t have to get me something to show your appreciation,” my mom told me. “You prove your appreciation every day.”

How kind of her.

But how kind would I be if I didn’t get my own mother something for Mother’s Day? I told my wife about my mom’s ridiculous request.

“You have to get her something,” my wife said. “You don’t want her to be sad, not on Mother’s Day.”

“But I can’t get her something,” I responded. “I don’t want her to be mad, not on Mother’s Day.”

I did the logical thing -- I flipped a coin. Heads -- I’d send a gift. Tails -- I wouldn’t send a gift. Tails it was. I sent a gift anyway.

When my sister called to stress the importance of not buying Mom something, it was too late. My order had been shipped.

“She’s gonna freak,” my sister told me. “You have to cancel the order.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll call the company right now.”

Instead I talked to other family members about what I’d done.

“I bought my mom this for Mother’s Day,” I said, showing a picture of the gift. Everyone loved it and said my mom would love it, too.

“But my mom told me not to buy her anything this year,” I continued.

“You bought her something anyway,” a relative told me. “That’s awful, Michael.”

I tried to cancel the order. The lady on the phone was one of the most helpful customer service individuals I ever dealt with.

There was nothing this individual could do -- typical customer service.

My brother called, asked if I was sending Mom a gift, said he wasn’t. I told him I wasn’t either. My sister called to see if I cancelled my order. I said I cancelled it. My mom called to make sure I didn’t buy her a gift. I said, “Of course I didn’t, I wouldn’t go against your wishes, not on Mother’s Day.”

I was doomed.

Then I found the solution to my problem. I’d just say I knew someone at this store who owed me a favor who got me the gift and the shipping for free.

My sister thought it was a good save.

“But,” I said to her, “will you feel bad that I got Mom something and you didn’t?”

My sister assured me that she wouldn’t feel bad. That was a load off my mind.

“But Mom will feel bad that you’re the only one of her kids to get her a gift,” she said. “You know Mom, she’ll feel bad for those of us who didn’t get her something.”

I told my sister I’d fix the problem. I’d drive from Southern California to Northern California, where my mom lives, and grab the package off her doorstep before she got home on Saturday.

And that’s what I did. Five hours later, when I got to my mom’s house, I thought about how ridiculous this all was -- my mom didn’t want us kids to spend money, but here I spent gas money on a 10-hour round trip to pick up a gift I paid for and couldn’t return. As I walked up the driveway, I considered leaving the gift, turning around and going home. Better yet, I’d surprise my mom with the gift and a visit.

At the door, I saw my gift. And I saw two others -- one from my brother and one from my sister. Those rascals.

My mom loved all the presents, couldn’t stop talking about how appreciated she felt. She was not mad at all. She was happy. I’d go as far as to say that last Mother’s Day was one of my mom’s best. We kids did the right thing.

My mom just called. She told me not to get her anything for Mother’s Day this year, that she doesn’t need anything. She wants us kids to save our money.

And so, to the Internet stores I go.

-May 2011

1 comment:

FRANK M HANSEN said...

Great story. Love it when you found the gifts from your brothers and sisters at the door.