• Laura Holian

Does Twenty Dollars Mean I Don't Care?

Does twenty dollars mean I don’t care about you? We once found money floating in the ocean, the kids and I were elated. It didn’t matter how much it was, it was exciting. Sure a part of us felt sorry for the poor sap who lost these soggy bills out of the unsecured pocket of his swim trunks, but we got over it. I mean really, were we ever going to find out who the genuine owner was? No. And in a fortuitous situation like that it was only appropriate we celebrate kismet with delicious donuts. After all, were were sun kissed and tuckered out from all our fun in the waves.


Summer is over and though the orange leaves are just beginning to fall, it’s technically Christmastime in Florida. The panicked shopping frenzy began weeks ago. A part of me started with the masses, then life got busy and here I am fretting every time I look at the countdown on the calendar while clutching tightly at the unfinished shopping list in my other hand. As if holiday purchases weren’t enough to fill one’s time, I have a planner filled with other to-do’s. Recently I stumbled onto this fabulous web page with amazing instructions on how to maintain a beautiful home. Well, how to clean it, actually. Chores aren’t my strength, so I welcomed this particular person’s insight with open arms.


Week One: lots of enthusiasm. Week Two: I discovered another layer in the website and with it, more things to clean. Week Three: Oh no…yet, another more detailed list. Yes, I know I’m supposed to clean the oven and the microwave and the top of the cabinets, but really, how do you possibly fit it all in one lifetime? Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, the point is the more I delved into this magnificent person’s website, the more I realized how far behind my household cleaning was. Week Four: cleaning went on pause. My kid was sick, the other one had a huge school project to finish, then the first one got behind in school work, so I did some of her chores to help her keep up with life, then my own life began to straggle away from me.


Of course, it was then time to take the only sane approach to the situation, which is to go out with a friend and pretend everything is peachy. By this I don’t mean to be hypocritical in my relationships. I only mean that my interaction with my buddy is a welcome escape of my reality. For an hour or two, I’m not my family’s personal uber driver, or the chef or the library book dropper off-er. I’m just me, having tea seep some calmness into my chaos.


Later in the week, I have a phone call with my sisters. One of them mentions that giving gift cards for Christmas is too impersonal. Another mentions that when you look for an actual gift, it means you thought more about the person than if you gave money. In a way, I agree. But then again, I don’t. This weekend we went to a Christmas party. It was a white elephant one where the gifts varied from good, raunchy or in the case of the one we received, was literally, poo. A shit emoji you can decorate with markers.


Afterwards, we talked to someone and realized if we had picked their gift, which we almost did, we would have left the party with a nice gift card. In this regard, the money would have been lovely. As it is, the dookie gift keeps dancing from one side of our table to the other, until finally this morning, not wanting to see a pile of dung while I ate my breakfast, I set it on the floor, out of view.


Our extended family is scattered all over the U.S., which sometimes makes mailing gifts a challenge. Last night I had a great idea about a gift ensemble I wanted to send. My husband and I went to the store to find them, but they only had one of the items I wanted to put together in a nice arrangement. He asked me more details of what all I wanted to put together. When I finished relaying it to him, he pointed out that the container of the one item we had in hand was too big to fit in the box. Ugh. This was like the fifth idea I had for this person, all of which had some sort of complication.


We get home and while sitting at our dining table once again, I happen to glance at our mantle where we are displaying the Christmas cards we have received. It makes me think of Great Grandma Audrey. She’s my husband’s grandmother and she never forgot our birthdays, holidays or anniversary. She also sent beautiful cards, most of them sparkled. She passed away a little over a year ago and though we didn’t have a lot of contact with her, it meant a lot to me that she always remembered us. I loved how she always wrote us a letter along with the card. No one does that anymore.


A few years after our marriage I began to look forward to receiving her cards in the mail. On our birthdays, she would include money as a gift. I never took it for granted, nor did I ever think of it as a cop-out present. It was special. She didn’t have to do that. We were adults after all. But just like my own grandfather had done when I was little and he was alive, they both sent us a little something to spoil us and show us they cared.


This blog is dedicated to those who will be receiving gift cards or money this Christmas. Know that I have thought of you, more than you can possibly imagine. Maybe I’m concerned a particular gift won’t fit, something might spoil if it’s not sent to you promptly enough or perhaps an item might not do well if frozen or overheated based on your location.


Most certainly, it’s a way for me to show you that I love you in my crazy overwhelmed life and I maybe needed things to be a little easier for my own sanity and because I’d like to stick around long enough to send you more gift cards in the future.


So go enjoy a dessert, put it towards something lavish or save it, preferably in a zippered pocket, for a rainy day. In whatever shape it takes, enjoy this little token and be assured, you are special and I am grateful you are in my life.


#family #writerslife #writingcommunity #holiday #christmas


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