Feb. 3rd, 2015

lollypox: (Satyr)
Sigh.

Let me tell you a story. My parents met in college, had a lovely courtship, and married in 1969. I've seen the photos and even some of the film footage; they were an affectionate couple.

My father is a generous person. He will help anyone who needs him any time he was available. If he has a thing, and you need that thing, he will give you the thing. His generosity is so well-known that people will gift him with things, knowing that he will find someone who needs it. Appliances, for example. Cars. Tools. Building materials. This kind of thing.

But this bountiful generosity has it's flip side. He won't spend money. Not on you, not on his kids, not on his wife. He won't participate in obligatory gift celebrations. Once, we were on our way out the door to a family member's birthday party and I asked him where his present was. His answer? "My presence is my present."

He never gave my mother any jewelry of any kind, not even an engagement ring or wedding ring. He never gave her anything for Valentine's day, Christmas, Mother's day, or her birthday. Ok, one year at Mother's day, he gave her a handcrafted card with a picture of a dishwasher pasted in it.
Because earlier that spring he had installed a dishwasher in the kitchen.

Go ahead and let that sink in.

One year at Christmas, when we were exchanging gifts, my younger sibling asked my father where his gift for my mother was. My father didn't answer, but the following year, there was a single item wrapped in the comics pages of the newspaper, with my mother's name on it. Every year after that, there was a gift for my mother from my father under the tree. (until they divorced.)

Now, I'm not a commercial person. I've warned my lovers in the past that gifting can be complicated because I have a lot of floral allergies (and a weird relationship with flowers anyway.) I also have certain periods during the year where I don't consume processed sugar, and Valentine's day falls in one of those periods. I love jewelry, but I'm not overfond of diamonds. (Colored stones, on the other hand... WHOO!)

I love to give presents. My mom does, too. She kept a hoard of potential gifts so that she would never be caught out without a nice present for a party or occasion. I love to receive presents. I really do. But my relationship to gifting is... complicated.

Gosh. Thanks, Father.

When my mother remarried, she discovered that her current husband had some horrific experiences with gifting in his history. His ex wife demanded the most expensive gifts, given on a specific timetable, and certain very specific things for the major holidays. He would put himself further and further into debt buying her gold and diamonds and flowers and things, and her response was to tell him that it was still not good enough for *her*.

So Mom explained her history. He was horrified by my father's treatment of my mother, and vowed to play the gift game with my Mom.
And I pulled him aside and explained that my mother has ridiculously cheap taste. In fact, costume jewelry makes her squee and she's just as happy with a cubic zirconia snagged in a wal-mart sale as she would be with a Hearts On Fire something or other. Heck, all of the "real" jewelry she owned came from me when I was working the fine jewelry counter at a discount department store. I wanted my mother to have shiny things. :D

I have my own story about Valentine's Day, probably chronicled here, where my husband and I worked out a deal: He writes me a love letter, every year. I write him one. This is Valentine's Day for us. And it works.

So. Now you have some important background information. Stay tuned.
lollypox: (Satyr)
I wrote some background information in the previous post. Go read it.

It's cool. I can wait.

Done? Good.
Valentine's Day Massacre )

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