Can't remember if I've talked about this before but shit, buying a birthday present for my mom can suck.
I'm mad at myself because I've left this too late: I was browsing the university gift shop the other day to find something to get my dad for Christmas, and I saw a coffee mug there that I think she'd have liked but didn't have my shit together enough to buy/post it then (this was Wednesday when I turned up to uni an hour early because I am officially an idiot) and even if I had it might already have gotten there late. Of course now here present's going to get there late because we're not going to pay as much again as it costs in shipping. But only a few days and I think she'll be fine about that; I just feel shit about it. It's not like I've forgotten her birthday, it's just...well, like the tweet says, "gestures vaguely at everything"...
This is a bad time of year anyway, for my mom and me (and maybe my dad too but there's no way of ever finding that out). Her birthday is ten days before the anniversary of Chris dying so it's a nice way I can do something for her without calling attention to why I might be extra inclined to be nice right now. We don't talk a lot about Chris or the day any more, but there's this underlying tension and melancholy until we get Thanksgiving out of the way (or the date itself, whichever is later...this is a perfect year because they're not on the same day, which my mom particularly hates, but they're also not like a week apart which...well she also particularly hates; pretty understandably in both cases I guess).
So I really feel like I owe her good presents these days, anyway; I don't want to just phone something in -- so to speak, though that's of course what it feels like I'm doing because I'm so goddam far away!
Anyway, if you search somewhere like Amazon for, like "mom gifts" or something, you get a few "funny" things: coasters that say "Don't fuck up Mom's table" would be hilarious for a mom like, say, mother_bones
(who has the same birthday as my mom! but so little else in common with her that I'd be hard-pressed to believe in astrology!) but not for my
mom...or coffee mugs that say things like "You're such a good mom for putting up with a bratty, spoiled, messy, difficult, etc.etc. child like my sibling
!" And a few other "I'm your favorite kid" style of things which are so inappropriate for my family I feel like I've been punched in the chest just thinking about them.
Andrew was filtering through the dross and said he'd screened out tons of "the best moms get promoted to grandma" kind of stuff, which, again, thanks universe, holy fuck
. It's a minefield. And especially this time of year.
And especially with living in a country that doesn't even have Thanksgiving to keep Christmas from appearing right after Halloween; I'd read this twitter thread
just before, which is so sweet but it's about missing your parents in a particular way which seems exacerbated by Obligatory Present Buying Season. And then at the end of the thread someone comments who went to the school that the beloved and missed dad was headteacher at and it's like a damn Hallmark Channel movie...
I didn't cry when I read it, but I cried when I was trying to buy a present for my mom because of it. My go-to present used to be to get her a gift card for one of my parents' favorite restaurants because I wanted to take her out to eat for her birthday and couldn't be there to do it -- my parents love going out for meals and it was a feature of my childhood that they made us, every Sunday, even though my brother and I hated it and now of course now going out for a meal is my go-to treat too -- but it's too sad to get something so fleeting when I'm so fleeting myself. I get her little things she can keep around her nice house and think of me (maybe) when she dusts them every week. I am very glad my parents are with me so I can imagine these things and buy these presents, but being so far away feels like a tiny echo, a shadow, of what it sounds like to have lost a parent.
This year she's getting a candle in her favorite scent that says "Home is where mom is," which is the only thing I found on seemingly the whole internet which is terribly twee but also happens to be what I really believe.