I insist that my children open gifts at their birthday parties. I know this is no longer the norm, but I really feel like it’s my duty to help them grow into adults who can graciously accept gifts. It’s a teaching opportunity, and I always remind them of appropriate responses before the party starts. I insist that the only two acceptable comments are “thank you” or “I love it”. That being said, I tell them that if they already own the gift, hate the gift, or have other issues with it, we can discuss it at length, in private, after all the guests leave. I’m an excellent mother.
The kids, even from a young age, have always done really well with this, and there have been no real embarrassing moments that I can recall. Unfortunately, while I can instill manners in my children, I cannot use them myself. I don’t know what has happened to me, but if you give me a gift, chances are, I’ll blurt out something inappropriate.
Today is Valentine’s Day, and I was thrilled to find a gift with my name on it waiting on the table this morning. It was wrapped and a card was attached. It was obvious that Mr. Incredible had put some thought, time, and effort into this present. (I got him an assortment of Reese’s products and a card that I thought had a bookmark, but doesn’t.) After the children opened their gifts and profusely thanked us, with genuine smiles on their faces, I decided it was time to open mine.
Gather round children for this demonstration of what love is! As I tore off the paper and opened the box, a navy coat was revealed. I don’t know exactly what face I made, but it must not have been good because Mr. Incredible knew instantly that something was wrong.
“Do you like it,” he prodded.
What I should have said was “Yes, it’s lovely. Thank you! I love you so much.” I didn’t say that. I can’t follow my own rules. Instead, I blurted out, “Yeah! I LOVE it!!! I love it so much that I already have it in green. How do you not know what my coat looks like?!”
He looked hurt. He insisted he had never seen me in a coat that looked anything like the coat he bought for me, and I continued my fit.
“I guess you weren’t looking at the coats when you cleaned out the coat closet?! If you paid any attention to anything you would have seen it then, hanging right there!”
At this point, I got up and walked toward the coat closet. He followed me, and as I threw open the closet door and pulled out the green coat, I realized, he was right. I don’t have the coat he gave me in any color, and the coat in the closet resembled the one he gave me only because it was the same size and had buttons.
I felt terrible. Sure, I shouldn’t have been rude, but worse yet was that I was so embarrassingly wrong. I hope the children learned from my little mistake. Even if manners don’t matter, being right does.
Happy Valentine’s Day!