Chain reactions and unique family culture




  • Today something I think is interesting occurred, blending a few relatively unique factors. First, the five-point back story.

    1. I pick up gifts for people when they’re on sale, then I store them until it’s time to give them. I do this a lot.

    2. On Prime Day 2016, I picked up a Kindle Fire 7″ for my oldest daughter. Either for her birthday (that came and went) or Christmas 2016. It’s been on the shelf in my office for months as today is 8 November 2016.

    3. About three years ago at the company “Christmas Auction” (long story, but it’s awesome), I picked up an inexpensive acoustic, steel-stringed guitar. I was going to give it to my oldest daughter for her birthday following that Christmas, but we wound up buying her some other main gift and I didn’t want to overdo it. Maybe I actually didn’t want to give it to her yet that year, since she wasn’t quite as old as I wanted her to be when I gave it to her.

    Then, sometime in the next year or two, she saw a guitar at Sam Ash and saved up for it. That bumped the guitar I had in stock down to her younger sister. And so it sat.

    4. I’ll often give my wife or children a gift in advance of the actual event the gift is for. Look, I’ve got the gifts piling up and I’m sometimes excited to give them to their recipients. And maybe there’s even an element of “Let’s get this accepted before the return window closes with the retailer” although I’m not certain that’s actually been a concern yet.

    5. I also will give one gift and apply it to multiple future events for that person. My wife and kids are used to this. I wouldn’t say the five-year-old is, to be fair.

    Anyway, I do this and then I’ll say something along the lines of, “Happy birthdaychristmasanniversarymothersdaybirthday” for a big ticket item. (I actually state the events that I consider this covers.)

    This is how I roll and my ladies seem to be okay with it.

    Pop back to present time, this morning. Before I left for work, my wife told me that her (super old, disgustingly slow) iPad mini was getting flakey on her. Does it have storage space? Yes, she says she cleared it off hard. She needs a new tablet. Does she really need a tablet? I thought her iPhone 6S Plus made her not even use her iPad. She told me what she uses the iPad for, but I promptly forgot.

    She says to wait on the tablet replacement until a super deal comes my way. It’s worth maybe fifty bucks to her. I told her that means Android, not iPad. Does she just want to browse the web on it? Yep. Ah, yes, games for the youngest daughter was her other main use case, which I suggested she forget about on Android. Okay, Android’s got most of the big games that iOS has. It’ll be okay.

    So I walked into the office, pulled down the Kindle Fire 7″, walked back to the kitchen and plopped it on the bar in front of my wife.

    She asks me in transparent code if this is the one slated to be our oldest daughter’s primary Christmas gift this year. Yes, but don’t worry about it, I say. She worries. The daughter is sitting right there for all this. She knows what that tablet is for at this point.

    My wife doesn’t want her daughter’s tablet, but my daughter does. Does she want her Christmas present early this year, I ask. Yes, predictably, she does. Okay, I give it to her.

    Now her sister wants a gift. This was also predictable. Let’s just handle it. No point in telling her to suck it up, since we have the early gift culture in our house. But what gifts, her mother asks, will she open on Christmas day? “Gifts from my other friends,” she replies. Okay, she gets it.

    So I go out to the garage, pull the guitar box off its shelf, bring it back in and set it on the floor. She comes over, I show her how to open the box, and once she gets is open she gives me the best thank you ever. Just a breathless, totally honest, simple, “Dad. Thank you.”

    Okay, Christmas is covered. I like how this went down.