Yes, I Can Be Petty

December 29, 2007

I’m fully aware that the story I’m about to tell is kind of silly.  It will sound stupid and childish, but I just can’t let it go.  It all started shortly after Thanksgiving when M and I were brainstorming gift ideas for the family.  We wanted to make my parents a new family calendar since they still had the one my brother made them for 2006, even though all the dates were wrong.  I didn’t have very many pictures of the rest of the family, though, and I couldn’t bear to have it be all about my boys.  So I ran it by all my siblings first.

First, I sent an e-mail asking whether any of them were already planning to make one.  For about a week, I didn’t hear a thing.  I was about to give up and make one with the less-than-ideal pictures I had when I finally heard from my younger brother.  You might remember my rant about him and his wife after Thankgiving (remember the alcohol-and-PJ incident?).  His e-mail said that all of a sudden they too were planning to make a calendar for my parents but he supposed it would be okay if I made one too.  The tone was essentially a challenge.  I refused to take it and replied saying I wouldn’t step on his toes with the calendar idea.

I still wanted to make one, though.  I decided to go ahead and ask my siblings for some pictures so that I could make my parents some sort of memory book or something with all the family pictures.  I never got a response from anyone–no pictures, no apologies for not sending any, nothing.  I resigned myself to making them something kind of cheesy but was disappointed in the gift.  I still really wanted to make a calendar for them.  I went back and forth about my final decision just about daily, even making one online several different times and not getting the guts to order the final product.

When we left for the trip last week, the cheesy gift I’d ordered for my parents hadn’t arrived yet, so we went with basically nothing for them.  I felt horrible that we were such bad children to have nothing for my parents when they had so much for us.  Then we came back through their town on the way home, spending another night with them.  I noticed almost right away that in place of that 2006 calendar was a new one–all about my niece without even a mention of her cousins or aunts, uncles, etc.  I was shocked at their selfishness to assume my parents would put up a calendar featuring just one of their four grandchildren.

I think my mom was a bit offended, too.  She caught the glance I gave M when I saw it (I couldn’t help the reaction) and immediately reassured us that they had several places they needed calendars if anymore showed up.  Right then I knew I would be making them a calendar after all.  M totally agreed.

So we told my parents that they lost one of the gifts we had ordered and that it had to be re-ordered and would be delivered to them; that’s the calendar.  The other cheesy gift we ordered will get to them tomorrow when my sister drives from here (where they spent the holidays) back to my parents’ house.  In the end, they will end up with extra gifts from us–all featuring the whole family as much as possible.  I still hate that I had to use my own sub-par pictures of the other family members because of the lack of participation from the rest of my family, but at least I have pictures of them at all.

Oh, yeah, the best part: My brother had made a point to check everyone’s birthday and anniversary to include them on the calendar.  All except PJ’s that is.  It was a glaring error to all of us, and M and I are doing everything we can not to read anything into it.  (We’re paranoid, what can I say.  Do they think he doesn’t count because he’s sort of illegitimate since he was conceived two months before we were married?  Is that a jab at us?)  I’m seriously offended, regardless of whether it was a careless error or done on purpose.  You’d be proud, though–I didn’t take it out on them by leaving them out of our calendar in any way.  Somebody’s got to be the bigger person.

It would be nice if it didn’t always have to be us.