As I wander about in Limbo, time holds very little meaning for me.
One morning I woke up and realized it was my youngest daughter Sleeper Girl’s birthday the following day. I spent the rest of the day trotting from shop to shop conducting my own personal scavenger hunt in an attempt to find a gift for her that she hadn’t already received for Christmas. It was an exercise in futility. Every idea I tossed out was shot down by my husband in verbal game of skeet shooting.
‘What about some new clothes from Rampage,’ I suggested to Awesome Dude. ‘You know, that skater shop she really likes.’ ‘Didn’t Lil Diva (her older sister) say she was taking Sleeper Girl there for a massive shopping spree as a combination Christmas/Birthday gift’, Awesome Dude asked. ‘Oh…yeah, that’s right,’ I replied. Off we trooped to Queensgate Shopping Centre. I remembered Sleeper Girl had been excited about ‘Dragon Age: Origins’,an Xbox 360game that she had seen in a TV advert. As I neared the shop, Awesome Dude reminded me that her brother, Lil Awesome had already gotten it as his birthday present to her. All righty then. ‘Well,’ I ventured, what about ‘Mirror’s Edge’?She’s quite keen on that game too.’ ‘Her uncle’s getting her that one.’ ‘Well, isn’t that nice of him,’ I said perhaps a bit more testily than I had intended. Undeterred, I carried on looking. The latest Black-Eyed Peas CD?Got it from Grandad. A new coat? Her other uncle had already taken care of it. I finally admitted defeat and headed home. What do you get someone who doesn’t have everything and isn’t particularly bothered about it? I had to settle for the old stand by: money.
I’ve never been comfortable giving money as a gift. It seems to say, ‘I really couldn’t be bothered to find something, so here. Have some money. One size fits all.’ I put a lot of thought into gift giving. I consider the intended recipient’s likes, dislikes, personality, quirks, hobbies etc. I really make the effort to find a gift that says, ‘I saw this and thought of you.’ (Funnily enough I don’t have a problem with receiving money as a gift. I never think, ‘Wow, money. Wherever did you find the time?’ Go figure.) And yet here I was resort to giving my baby girl money as a present.
I asked Sleeper Girl once how she felt about just getting money instead of a properly, wrapped presents for Christmas and birthdays. ‘I’m not fussed,’ she said with one eye on her PSP and the other on her MP3 player. ‘But,’ I persisted, ‘don’t you miss having a gift you can tear open and be surprised by its contents?’ ‘You can tear open an envelope and be surprised by how much money there is inside,’ she replied and went back to her game. I never thought of it that way.
Lil Awesome’s birthday is five days after Sleeper Girl’s. Yes…he received money as well. And he was happy with it. He came home later that day with LittleBigPlanetfor his PSP. I was going to get him that.