It's a voucher or nothing, says Emer O'Brien
I'm a cynic at the best of times. I'm also quite stubborn. Neither quality lends itself well to being the biggest champion of Hallmark-decreed 'special occasions'. Yes, that's you Valentine's Day. And now, this weekend, it's Mother's Day. As a child, I (like most kids) asked why there was no 'Children's Day', only to be told that "EVERY day is children's day", which was the lamest cop-out ever for no pressies. My mother is impossible to buy for. Every gift is greeted with a vague twitch of a smile and sometimes downright derision. ("A bag? Sure I have about ten of these already.")
This year, though, she has saved me a torturous trawl around town and much late-night exasperation on eBay. She has decided to tell me what she wants. Great. Or so I thought.
"You know it's Mother's Day on Sunday."
"I do." Which I do, but only because of all the ads on TV for chocolates.
"Well, I've been thinking about it ... "
"I've decided I don't want anything."
Panic rises in my throat. Ah yes, the auld 'I don't want anything but if you don't get me anything there'll be trouble.'
"What do you mean?"
"Exactly that. Don't get me anything."
"Right, so I just show up with nothing on Sunday?"
"You can get me a card."
"And that's it?"
"Well, I don't mean that I don't want anything."
"But you just said ... "
"No, I don't want books or flowers or chocolates or any of that."
"You could get me a voucher."
"So nothing says 'I love you mammy' like a voucher."
"It's what I want."
"Where do I get it for?"
"Anywhere. Maybe Dunnes?"
I agree, knowing that she'll just buy the week's shopping with it if I do.