Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Art of Giving

Today is my mother's birthday. She and Dad were visiting yesterday; so I let her open her present last night.
I gave her what my sons and husband call a "self gift." Apparently, I am prone to buying gifts for others that I secretly (or not-so-secretly) would like to use myself. I have argued with them over the years, defending myself against this accusation. I certainly do not buy gifts for others with the intent of using the gifts myself. I would never do that...
I bought my mother some special markers...supposedly the best markers in the world!
Since both my mother and I enjoy drawing, I found it hard to believe we had gone so long without this Cadillac of coloring supplies. I could hardly wait for her to unzip the little art case and see the pens.
"You got those pens!" she exclaimed. "You shouldn't have done that!"
The markers may also be the most expensive markers in the world.
I leaned forward conspiratorially. "They were on sale," I confessed. "I bought some for myself, too." I pulled out the fistful of markers I had concealed under the table.
My mother was shocked. "How many of those did you buy?" she whispered.
"Nine for you. Six for me. You can't buy them right off the shelf. You have to ask a manager to unlock the case so you can pick out the colors." I proceeded to give my mom a step-by-step account of how I decided which colors to get and how I kept changing my mind so the manager had to keep switching pens in and out of the case.
My mother was baffled by this.
"We have to buy more...while they're on sale," I told her. Even though the website I had consulted emphasized the importance of slowly building the collection, I was already feeling desperate to own more of them...in all colors...taking out a small loan if necessary.
I urged Mom to open the sketchbook I bought her, uncap a pen, and draw something! No need for inspiration.
Now that I (I mean we) had the markers in my (I mean our) possession, I (I mean we) couldn't wait to try them. Mom began drawing an apple while I used the flesh-toned markers to draw a caricature of a little bald baby. Mom shaded in the apple; I blushed the cheeks. We oohed and ahhed over the performance of the pens.
Mom's apple looked good enough to eat.
She used the pale yellow pen to provide a base color, added some red and pink highlights, a brown stem...a green leaf.
I looked at my shorter row of markers. Perhaps I should have paid a little more attention to the colors when I transferred Mom's nine markers from the shopping bag to her gift bag.
I had two shades of orange, a pink, a flesh tone, and a bright gold. I could draw a pale-skinned, red-haired person; a goldfish; a sunset; and a pumpkin...without the stem. Hmmm...
"The best part is," I said, thinking fast and fanning out my six pens for mom to get a good look. "We can share. Go ahead," I offered (generously). "Pick any of my colors, and I will trade for any of yours."
I could see my sons rolling their eyes knowingly, "Yep...self gift."
I'd been caught in the act, guilty as charged. I was a self gifter. I bought myself expensive markers for my mother's birthday.
Fortunately, my mother understood. Although she kept the original nine markers I'd given her; she said she was going to buy more and that we'd definitely share. She was awfully forgiving. I wondered if she'd ever self-gifted over the years...
Happy birthday, Mom...and, um, I could really use that sky blue...


  1. A self-gifter, eh? Love the expression. I might have been in your shoes once or twice myself! really enjoyed your slice--and hoping you finish our your marker collection soon!

  2. I think we may all have been guilty of 'self-gifting'....but this was such a fun post to read...you got the timing just right...I felt like I was there. Thanks for a smile...and you at least give great self gifts! Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

  3. I know I've been there, too. But isn't it okay if it's something you know you'd both like?? ;-) Really your piece is a great sales pitch for the pens on top of being nice slice of life. I'm wondering about the brand. . . . maybe a self-gift in my future.

    1. The markers are Copic, and they are so much fun to use! (I promise I'm not a sales rep.)

  4. Self-gifting, is another of the genetic traits that was passed down from other famous, nameless, (except to us) self-gifting moms (aunts). We are blessed!
    Loved the markers! I've been eying them for awhile and think they may find a path to my house. Just a reminder, my bday is coming up...soon! We can share!