Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sadly, Almost Completely True.

The other day Mr. HalfSoledBoots wanted to exchange the sweater I bought him for Christmas* and asked me to find the receipt while he was at work. I was feeling a little emotional that day. ("What? Surely not.")

I thought I knew where it was, so I breezed into the bedroom, swept the 18" of junk off the top of my cedar chest, and propped it open. I rummaged around inside, surprised to not see the plastic bag I had expected, containing the receipts from all the Christmas presents I bought. I frowned and dug deeper, piling beside me such things as:
  • the ten thank-you cards I wrote after Emily's baby shower in 2004. They are in sealed envelopes, with the recipients' names written clearly on the front so I could later add the addresses and mail them.
  • a plastic grocery bag full of paper hats, streamers, and napkins from three differently-themed children's birthday parties.
  • a picture frame with the glass broken in two places. Still perfectly good, waiting for me to get around to buying replacement glass for the frame WHICH I BOUGHT FOR 75% OFF AT PIER ONE IN 1999.
  • 10 years' worth of negatives in slippery plastic sleeves, which slithered all over the floor.
No sign of the receipt. And what did I do, at this juncture? This is what I did. I threw myself on my bed and burst into stormy tears, sobbing bitter invective against myself as follows: "Oh, why am I such a fucking loser? Oh, why do I suck so bad? Oh, I'm a terrible wife, can't even think what to buy my husband for Christmas and when I do it's the wrong thing, then I throw away the receipt so he can't even return it. Woe is me, the world is at an end."

Actually, it's all true except that last line.

So, my children heard me crying (though I was trying to be quiet about it) and came in with concerned looks on their sweet faces, to see what was wrong. They crawled up beside me and put their smooth little arms around my neck and kissed me. Their voices were very anxious when they asked me what was wrong. I cried, "Daddy wants to take back the sweater I bought him for Christmas and I can't find the receipt. Oh I'm sorry I'm such a terrible mother, I can't do anything right."

Luckily they have experience with this type of situation and they were very kind. At first they were inclined to be indignant that Daddy didn't like the sweater, then they asked me what the receipt looked like, so they could search for it.

At that point, Em leaned over to her sister and whispered something in her ear. She sat back on her heels and said "Should we bring it? That would cheer her up." Charlotte nodded and Emily ran out of the room. Charlotte patted my hair and kissed my cheek, murmuring "you're a good mummy", just as Emily came back at a run from the living room........

.....carrying yarn.


* Yes, I bought a sweater. Believe me, it's better this way.


Kate said...

Brilliant daughters you are raising there. Stunningly brilliant.

lizbon said...

Oh what a sweet, sad story. As usual, I feel the need to number my thoughts:

1) I would do that very kind of thing - burst into tears and feel like an utter failure over some small thing.

2) I don't have daughters to be wonderful to me like that during those times (oh, no pity party, please, I am childless by choice), though my cat will climb into my very face and try and fix me sometimes when I am upset.

3) I just love it that they brought yarn. Clearly you are in fact a wonderful mummy, just like they said, that they'd a) be so sweetly concerned, and b) know you so well.

4) Yes, I know that last point had sub-numbers in it. Forgive me. I am really only so anal in this forum, and I have no idea why.

5) I bought sweaters too, this year. For me, no less.

Gena said...

What beautifully sweet daughters you have!

Kris said...

The girls know you well!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Well, my oh my, you are your uncle's neice aren't you. This story could be written about Joe, except for the kids, the yarn, the falling onto the bed and bursting into tears - well maybe the story is uniquely yours. Joe always says he knows where every receipt is (but doesn't) puts things away so he'll remember (then doesn't) goes through stacks of paper only to find other stacks of paper. I'm so sorry dear girl, I had hope it had skipped a generation.

Jo said...

Your daughters are so sweet! I buy Andrew sweaters, too. He's a 6'2" extra-large. I just have that much time left! A few weeks ago I was rummaging through the boxes in my basement, trying to find my nut-grinder (I was making cookies) - and what do I find instead? A box that was apparently not unpacked from the last time we moved... in 2004.

Stace' said...

I love how honest you are!!!

Shan said...

Dave, I'm laughing my head off. I guess I came by it honestly...I am famous for putting things in safe places. Safe as vaults. Closed, locked vaults with no key.

Tabatha said...

I love you so hard.

D said...

Aww, that such a great ending to the story :D

Stace' said...

I kept thinking of this post today. If we lived closer, I would invite you over for a cup of tea by the fire.

Shan said...

Stace, that would be lovely. I could sit there and work on your wristwarmers.