Today is my uncle's birthday, the one uncle I talk to anyway. I agonized over what to get him because two days later will be my mother's 60th birthday, making this the most expensive holiday season of my life thus far. I told Dad that after Mom's birthday I am done doing nice things for people. That's it. I'm spending all further money on me. Take that! Oh right. I have two weddings coming up. So much for that idea.
So, I picked out this really fabulous winter jacket for my uncle but the price was too steep. I figured that if I have really good gear, I should spread the wealth to my family. I bought Mom a winter parka for an obscene price last week and looked at the one for him but walked away. Today my parents and I shopped at a couple places but couldn't find anything good. The one I originally liked was sold out. I was mad at myself for not going for it. I couldn't think of what in the world to get him, especially since I know he needs a winter coat more than anything.
I brooded over this but Mom said that I should just get him gloves. That has got to be the most completely lame gift compared to a winter coat. I left the store, but came back for the gloves in defeat. I couldn't show up empty handed and I was out of ideas and time. We got a lame cake at Whole Foods since I didn't have time to bake either and I got there upset. Lame, lame.
Uncle came home from the gym and was surprised to see us waiting for him with cake. He had done nothing fun for his birthday today, and had in fact spent the day taking Grandma to Costco and Jewel. Super fun. He goes to the gym everyday so nothing exciting there either.
After he blew out the candle on the cake and told us that he wished for all our health, I handed him the tiny box. It's funny how much I wished to be giving something grander. When you think about it gloves are an extremely useful present. People always lose one glove, get holes in them, or maybe they aren't warm enough or water resistant enough. I've given plenty of gloves as gifts in the past thinking they were a decent present, but I hoped I could do better for him.
He was absolutely thrilled. I'd never have thought I could make someone that happy over a pair of gloves, but he went on and on about how much he needed them. He recalled all the helpful things I got him over the years and said that the other truck drivers at work jeer him sometimes for having brand merchandise. He tells them that someone really cares about him and that's why he has nice stuff.
I felt moved. A simple gift made his boring day into his birthday. We all talked for a while and I could tell he really enjoyed our company. It seemed like he didn't want me to leave, and we all had a nice time for once. In the end I could have given him a sock or a water bottle or a paperweight or a paper airplane and it wouldn't have mattered at all. Thank goodness some people remind us that the thought really counts.