I suck at Mother's Day.
Well, that's not entirely true. I successfully fumbled my way through the process that turned my wife into a mother, and, hey, I played no small role in helping my mom cement her motherhood, but that's really where my expertise ends. I'm not so good at the present-buying part of it, which appears to be a primary component of the holiday.
Not only am I on the hook to find presents for my mom, and my wife, but somehow that obligation has expanded to buying presents for any mother within present-handing range. Did you raise a kid? Do you lack a Y chromosome? Then come on by and get your gift!
The wife and I went to the mall last week to do our Mother's Day shopping. Since I hadn't yet purchased anything for Hank, I decided that this would be a good time to subtlely pick her brain. I would make up for 364 days of inattention with some clever questions and astute observations.
Me: Hey, what are you looking at there?
Hank: These earrings here. For Liz.
Me: Oh, those are nice.... (mustering all my subtlety) Would you like earrings like that?
We played this game a few times.
Me: What's that?
Hank: It's a little pill case. I can't decide if your sister would like it.
Me: I don't know. Would YOU like such a thing?
Doh! This was hard.
(On a semi-related note, we didn't end up buying the pill case for my sister, because we had no idea if she takes any pills. We thought it might be nice to buy her one pre-filled though. Each day she'd get to take a mystery pill. One day it's Zoloft, the next it's Viagra. Day 3 is ecstasy. Fun! This would be a good gift idea for a more adventurous mom.)
A few days later I pinged my buddy, Pablo. I lamented my inability to purchase good Mother's Day gifts. He did some quick typey-typey and found Hank's Amazon wishlist. There was only one item in it, a Simon and Garfunkel album. Since Hank had never mentioned this wishlist to me, or her appreciation of Simon and Garfunkel, this was a pretty good gift idea. It was nice to get her something that she clearly wanted, but had not explicitly asked me for. Score!
It wasn't very romantic though, so I needed something else. I cruised back to the mall by myself and forced myself into Brighton, a store that I detest, but Hank seems to like. Most of their jewelry is ornate, or flowery, or faux antiquey. This is not stuff that I would buy for myself.
If I were a cross dresser, I'd buy very simple jewelry. No hearts or flowers or frilly designs, just clean and simple lines. I guess I'd be a very mannish kind of cross dresser rather than the flamboyant queeny type. I think this means that I'm probably not a woman trapped in a man's body. Really, I'm more of a wuss trapped in a man's body. Well, not exactly a "man's body", but a close approximation. Ok, "close" is a relative term.
But, I digress.
So, I perused all their crazy jewelry with the sales people following behind me asking incomprehensible questions like, "Does she like dangly?" and "What do you really know about this woman?". Eventually they suggested a set that I didn't hate, and that had at least a 10% chance of Hank not hating. I liked them odds!
In the end the jewelry was a success, but the Simon and Garfunkel was a big loser. She stared it at blankly and said, "Oh. Simon....and.....Garfunkel. Ok."
"I found it on your wishlist!" I blurted out defensively.
"I don't recall ever putting that on my wishlist or even making a wishlist, but, thanks."
"It's Pablo's fault!"
In my defense, I'd like to say that at least I wasn't a month late this year, even if my success average was worse. Happy Mother's Day, y'all!