My mom is the most difficult person to buy for. She never wants anything or needs anything, as she tells us, or gives us an iota of a clue of what she may like. My mom’s hobbies include playing bunco, drinking white Russians, and yelling at tv commercials. We have bought her countless bunco playing sets and bottles of expensive vodka. Despite all of this, her hall closet is full of new bunco sets, and kitchen cabinets are overflowing with vodka bottles. She prefers to use the old bunco set she has had since I can remember, and buy the cheap bottle of vodka that literally just says “vodka” on the label. I don’t know how she does it; just smelling that stuff gives me an acid reflux attack. The last few years my brother, John, and I usually end up getting her a gift card to one of her favorite restaurants or clothing stores. Her 60th birthday is coming up in a few weeks and we purchased a 7-day cruise in the Florida Keys. We also bought an extra ticket so she can take one of her friends along. Initially, we thought about buying tickets for all 3 of us to go but could never decide on a date that worked with our schedules. John said mom would probably rather go with one of her friend’s than us anyway. I see his point. She could hang out and do whatever she wanted, without having us tag along.
Her special day finally came. We had a party at her house with her closest friends, bunco buddies, and her sister that lived in the area. They don’t always get along, but we had to invite her. It would have been rude not too. The party was swinging by 6:00 p.m. We had music, lots of delicious food, and pics of mom blown up and placed throughout the rooms. It’s funny, I never realized mom has pretty much had the same hairstyle since I was a kid. Short hair with a hint of side bangs. Her hair has always been a deep shade of auburn. She tells me it will always be that color no matter how old she gets. Years ago, mom made me promise to make sure her hair is still auburn even at her funeral. I had laughed, but she grabbed my hand and made me swear. I couldn’t believe how serious she was about her hair. She scared me so I agreed with no questions asked.
Mom opened her gifts in front of everyone and seemed to really enjoy the cruise tickets. John and I hugged and patted each other on the back. The present curse is over! About an hour later, John, mom, and I were cleaning up the house.
“You guys really shouldn’t have gone to all of that trouble,” mom said to John and me.
“Mom, we love you. It’s your special birthday,” John smiled as he was washing dishes in the kitchen sink.
“Yeah, mom. We want you to have a great time,” I said as I placed more dishes on the counter.
“Would you guys be mad if I didn’t go,” Mom said in a soft voice.
“What?” John and I both asked simultaneously.
“It’s a wonderful gift and all, but I can’t do it.”
“Mom, why not?” I asked while trying not to sound irritated.
“You two must have forgotten I get deathly seasick. Remember the time we went to Catalina and I spent the entire boat trip in the bathroom. Not to mention half the rest of the day in the public restroom.”
John and I stared at each other.
“Mom, they have the bracelets, the pills, and patches that help with all of that,” I said as I walked over to her.
“Right. Plus, it’s one of those gigantic cruise ships. You won’t feel a thing,” John said as he turned away from the sink and wiped his hands on a kitchen towel.
“I can’t do it. I’m sorry. I think it would be better if you kids went,” Mom said curtly and then walked into the living room.
I whispered to John, “What the hell, seriously?”
“Well, the curse lives,” John smirked and went back to washing dishes. I grabbed a dish towel and started drying. We could hear mom yelling at the tv from the other room.