We are back from a long weekend in Chicago — a week-end of fun, food and keeping Mr. Bibbles from eating the cat’s food. And, most importantly, from celebrating the upcoming birthday of our only daughter!
There was a reason I wanted to celebrate DD’s birthday this weekend, a little early. Because DD’s actual birth date is sandwiched in between those of Coco and Lulu, most of the time it kind of gets lost in the shuffle, with all three birthdays celebrated together (with the least emphasis on Mom). So, I asked that we celebrate “Mom’s” this weekend, by itself. This may be more for me than her — she never seems to mind being “out-Birthday-shuffled” by the girls. Maybe I wanted to celebrate more than her, because I remember her BIRTH day better than she does!
Coco DID question me briefly about why we were celebrating her Mom’s birthday, when HER birthday comes first, and we haven’t celebrated IT yet. But, you know, Coco’s a smart cookie, so I think the “smart cookie” side of her understood exactly why I wanted to do it this way, but the “not quite 10” side just needed to make sure I hadn’t forgotten that SHE was really next in line for birthday-dom.
So, Nana’s plan was that Papa and Nana would take the three girls shopping on Saturday afternoon to let them pick out their very own gifts for Mom. At the last minute, Mimi decided she would rather stay home with the “birthday-ee” and Daddy than go shopping. And, actually, that made it unnecessary for Papa to go with us — he was going mainly as the “chaperon” for Mimi. So, Coco and Lulu and I went to Target to buy “high end,” “memorable” gifts for Mom — or, at least, gifts and cards that were fun for US to pick out! We needed to get something out of this too, right?
Papa had said to me when we were discussing a “shopping strategy,” that the gift-buying should start at the top and work down, i.e., that Coco would probably have the most definite opinion of what she wanted to buy, so we should let her pick first. Then, we could help Lulu decide on something — then we could just hand Mimi something WE thought Mom would like, and tell her, “Look what you’re going to give Mom for a present!” A good plan even if he wasn’t there to help me implement it.
As we walked into the store I started throwing out suggestions to the girls, and, true to Papa’s prediction, Coco immediately knew what she wanted to buy — PJ’s. So, we went over and found some really cute mix-n-match PJ’s, and she did a good job of picking out a cute set.
Then, Lulu, who was not nearly as sure what she wanted to buy, wandered around (with me following behind throwing out suggestions) until she came to gloves and scarves — another good choice — you can never have too many PJ’s or gloves and scarves! So, Lulu picked out a soft black scarf and gloves — perfect — will go with any color coat. Then we looked around for the gift that Mimi could give. Fluffy, soft “house socks” — perfect too. On to wrappings!
“Wrappings” is practically an outdated term now, since, I would guess, the majority of gifts are now given in gift bags. Are they not the best invention ever?! When I think of all the gifts Mama received and unwrapped verrrry carefully so that she could save the paper to use again (it was always a little funny to get a gift from her the next Christmas, wrapped in paper you had given her LAST year — and sometimes with the bow recycled too!), it makes me think how Mama would have LOVED gift bags — pretty and REUSABLE too. And, no tape to tape and no bows to tie!!
I think one of the reasons I think gift bags are so great is that there is still a little creativity involved because you get to pick out the tissue that you put IN the bag, and the color or pattern combination can make the look unique. So, Coco enjoyed picking out bags for her gift and Mimi’s and coordinating tissues. But something else caught Lulu’s eye — a decorated box. I have just noticed this trend, and I have to admit, I like having this choice too. Anyway, Lulu fell in love with a very pretty box that had a butterfly on top. So she picked out tissue to go in it and we were set in the “wrappings” department. On to cards!
I knew the girls would probably want to give Mom funny cards, so I looked for that section and we found cards they realllly liked, including one that I wasn’t really sure was appropriate, but Lulu liked it soooo much, I just couldn’t say no. So, our misson was accomplished. We headed home for the next step — assembly.
When we got home we took our purchases down to the play room to put it all together. We didn’t include Mimi in the “assembly” process, even though one of the gifts was supposed to be from her, because frankly she’s more of a dis-assembler than she is an assembler. So, we put everything together, and we were immediately ready for the next step — the presentation of packages to the honoree. (Patience isn’t something that is a dominate gene in ANY generation of our family.)
We called DD, and George, and Mimi and Papa down to the play room. We gave Mimi the gift she was to give her Mom, which she immediately “unwrapped” (i.e., took out the tissue), so, by necessity, Mom had to ohhh and ahhh over that gift first (that would be the soft, fuzzy house socks). The front of the card that Mimi gave her talked about so many candles making such a big fire, and when you opened it, it showed a picture of a fire engine, and made the SOUND of a fire engine. Mimi really LIKED the card (specifically the fire engine sound), and was a little reluctant to give it up to the honoree. Maybe we did a little tooo good a job picking out that card for her to give.
Next was Coco’s gift. She was excited to see if her Mom liked her pick. DD acted genuinely excited about the PJ’s, and that really pleased Coco, who is old enough to actually care whether a gift she gives is appreciated. The card Coco had picked joked about all the things she did that made work for or aggravated Mom. As Mom was reading it, she paused and looked especially long at Coco when it came to “when I talk on the phone too long.” I think there must be some history there. But, at the end of the card, it reminds that daughter DOES at least sometimes help with the dishes. Apparently, a good pick that hit enough of the right notes to make it appropriate from Coco to her Mom. And, they both enjoyed it.
Then, there was Lulu’s gift and card. Let me first say, that this little kid looks as “girly” as can be and like she would be fragile and very prim and proper. That just shows how deceiving looks can be. Give her a little caffeine and/or a half-way good reason, and she can be a maniac! She runs and jumps everywhere, including around, under and over furniture! And she is learning to whistle and is very good at making impolite sounds under her arm. So, just generally, she can act very UN-ladylike. She also likes to mention that her nickname is Fartacus. I leave it to your own imagination why that would be, but I HOPE it’s because of the sound she can make under her arm!
So now, Mom opened Lulu’s gift. She made all the right comments of appreciation regarding the scarf and gloves, and then she opened the card. It was a whole card about farts! As Mom read it we all laughed. It went on and on about all the kinds of farts, and was illustrated with skunks. Mom was laughing so hard at times, she had trouble reading it. Much to my relief, DD and the guys all seemed to think it was a good choice. Color me realllly relieved — I wasn’t sure about a birthday card about farts — certainly not anything I had ever seen before.
So, when we remember this little birthday celebration, I think long after the PJ’s and gloves and scarf and house socks are worn out and long forgotten, we will all remember the cards and how they made us laugh.
Laughter shared — a more lasting memory than any gift received.
Thank you God for family and laughter and the mixture of the two that can make great memories.