Buying gifts for my mom, Franny was super challenging! My sisters and I shared a little
friendly competition on holidays to see who'd gift her with something she'd actually keep.
Don't get me wrong, Mom adored receiving presents and would "ooh" and "ahh" as she opened whatever you'd given her—but everyone in our family knew to enclose a gift receipt in the box.
The fact was, if Franny wanted something, she'd just go out and buy it. It was kind of a running joke among my sisters and me that our gifts to her would get a roundtrip ticket back to the store. When we'd tease Mom about it and tell her how hard she was to buy for, she'd deny it.
"I'm not difficult!" she'd say. "I love all the gifts people give me, I just don't need any more stuff."
One day I decided to challenge her on this. "You say you love all the gifts?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied. "And more importantly, I love the thought behind them."
"Ah, so it's the thought that counts?" I teased. "What we all love is watching your reaction whenever you open a gift. I swear you could win an Academy Award for the way you gush over something you have no intention of keeping. It's quite entertaining! If memory serves, that's how you ended up with the pigs. Remember the pigs?"
"Ugh!" she groaned. "Yes, I remember the pigs."
So, here's the back story on the pigs:
A few days before one of Mom's birthdays, she and I had been at Hobby Lobby. She'd stopped to admire a display of ceramic pigs in a variety of poses. "Look at these, Monica!" she'd exclaimed. "Aren't they adorable?"
"Yeah, they're really cute," I'd replied, feigning disinterest. Secretly I was jumping up and down with excitement, thinking: SCORE! Mom is so getting ceramic pigs for her birthday! I'm bound to be the winner in this year's "Most Likely To Give Franny A Gift She Won't Return Competition"—Yes!
The next day, I returned to Hobby Lobby and loaded up on ceramic pigs for Franny. My sister, Brenda, who was struggling to find a gift for Franny, tried to get me to tell her what I was giving Mom. "No way I'm telling you, Sis," I told her. "Let's just say, it's the best gift EVER and it's something she really, really wants!"
"No fair!" Brenda exclaimed. "I have no idea what to get her. Give me a hint and maybe I can get her something that goes with your present."
"Sorry, you're on your own!" I told her. "There's nothing I can think of that Mom would like that goes with what I'm giving her."
"Well, I can't wait to see what this "best gift ever" could possibly be!" Brenda said. "You're acting very mysterious about it!"
"I'm super excited, too," I replied. "I can't wait to see the look on Franny's face when she opens it!"
"Oh, she'll go on and on about how much she likes it, then she'll return it," my sister predicted. "That's what always happens!"
"We'll see about that!" I answered.
Mom's birthday arrived and we gathered at her house to celebrate. I insisted that she opened my gift last, and had built up the anticipation about it during dinner.
All eyes were on Franny as I handed her the box of pigs. My mother, ever the comedienne, hammed it up a little, doing a little jig and shaking the box, attempting to guess what was inside. Finally, she tore off the gift wrap and pulled out the first pig.
"Monica!" she squealed. (pun intended) "You got me a pig! Thank you! I love it!"
We watched as she unwrapped the rest of the pigs delighting in each one and holding them up for everyone to admire. "I saw these at Hobby Lobby when we were there the other day," Franny explained to everyone. "Aren't they adorable?"
"You got her pigs?" Brenda asked me in astonishment. "She wanted pigs? I never thought ceramic pigs could make someone so happy!"
"If I'd known, I would have given her ceramic pigs a long time ago," joked my dad.
"Too bad, I got the jump on all of you!" I said smugly. I looked over at Mom who was merrily lining the pigs along the mantle. "Are you going to keep them there?"
"Yes, I think so," Franny replied. "At least for now, anyway!"
The rest of my family burst into laughter. "Uh-oh!" Brenda exclaimed. "That doesn't sound very promising."
"It sure doesn't!" I agreed, turning back to Franny. "What do you mean, at least for now? I thought you loved those pigs! You made such a big deal out of them when you saw them at Hobby Lobby!"
"I do love them," Mom assured me. "I meant, I may move them to the other room. For now, they look fine on the mantle."
The following week, I get a call from Franny. "Hey, do you happen to have the receipt for the pigs?" she asked.
I'd had a hunch those pigs were not long for Franny's world, but couldn't resist the urge to give her a hard time about it. "Why?" I asked. "Is there something wrong with them?"
"No, there's nothing wrong with them," she told me. "I'm just thinking that maybe they don't go well with my decor. There might be too many of them . . ."
"Ah, I see," I answered. "So, you want to return them all?"
"Does that hurt your feelings? Because I don't want to hurt your feelings. I'll keep them if you want me to!" Franny said.
"Mom, I don't want to guilt-trip you into keeping the silly pigs. Really, it won't hurt my feelings if you take them back," I answered. "I'm curious though, you seemed so thrilled when you saw them at the store and when you opened the gift, you were over the moon. When did you fall out of love with the pigs?"
"Hmm," she said thoughtfully. "I can't say for sure. I do appreciate that you got them for me though."
I swung by her house later with the receipt and she told me she'd had a change of heart and had decided to keep the pigs after all.
For the next couple of years, my mother lived in "pig-bondage" moving the pigs she didn't really want from room to room. One day, Franny called and asked me if I wanted them back. I guess it had been long enough to prove to me that she loved my gift.
"No, thank you," I replied. "Just donate them to Goodwill or something. I'm sure there's someone out there who would love to have a collection of adorable ceramic pigs."
"I'll be more careful about gushing over things in the future," Mom replied. "I wouldn't want any of you girls to buy me any more pigs."
"What about ceramic roosters?" I asked with a chuckle.
"No! Please, no roosters, cows, ducks or any other ceramic creatures!" Franny insisted. "I'm trying to unclutter my house."
"Fair enough," I said with a chuckle. "But do me a favor, please. Will you always pretend that you love whatever we give you? It really makes us happy to watch you open your presents—even if it's all a big act!"
"Deal," Franny said, reaching for my hand to shake on it. "After all, I'm still working on winning that Academy Award!"
And Speaking of Collections . . .
I'm a bit of a rabbit lover - here's some evidence from around my house -
Closet ClotheSure Challenge 2020 - The Past Week in Review:
After enjoying another "Work From Home Week", I've decided to hang onto these Monday-Thursday outfits! So,nothing eliminated from my closets this week which is kind of a drag, but still a fun challenge!