My mom has 2 sisters. One lives about 5 minutes from me. The other? About 15 hours. We rarely get to see her and her family. It’s sad because when I was born, all my aunts still lived in Atlanta. And since I was the first grandchild/niece I was quite the center of attention. So, all my aunts have big memories of me, but I have none of them.
Anyway, ten years ago, when Les and I were recently married and still in school and working at the outlet mall (yee-haw!), I had this brainstorm about a Christmas present for my aunt. See, she always sends me a Christmas present. Sometimes it might just be a Lifesaver book and other times it might be a Pampered Chef bowl. Now that I was married I felt like it was time for ME to give HER a gift.
Now, back to my brainstorm. I decided to pick up the first ornament in a series from Hallmark. It’s called COOL DECADE and features an adorable arctic animal posing with an icy-number of the year. It was especially perfect because the year 2000 was such a big deal and so Y2K that everyone had stuff with the 2000 number on it!
Cute, right? And so, I’m set. I have a go-to gift for my long-distance aunt that can be enjoyed by her entire family. So now, every year I pick up the ornament and ship it off. Sometimes I throw some stickers in the box for my cousins, or some candy, or if they are very lucky a Christmas card from us.
But then there was that one year when we moved right during the holidays and I lost the ornament. And I still don’t know to this day if I ever mailed it to her. Then there was that other year (years?) that I sent it out about 2 days before Christmas…and how long DOES she keep her tree up?
Now. It’s 2009. And I’ve been giving her AN ARCTIC ANIMAL WITH AN ICE NUMBER ornament for TEN years. Knowing when the kids see that box in the mail with my return address on it they roll their eyes and say, “Oh, I wonder what that is?” Do they hide the ornaments on the back of the tree?
This year I trek up to Hallmark (which incidently there are NO Hallmarks near my house. Are they having economic issues?) and look for my ornament. Oh, and this Hallmark is in the mall. So, I’m trekking through the MALL with 2 kids to find this ornament. And of course, they don’t have it. Well, they have one. The model. So, I take it. I mean, what if it’s sold out all over the country? What if EVERYONE wants an ARCTIC ANIMAL WITH AN ICE NUMBER ornament on their tree this year?
Asa is screaming, Lydia is asking me questions and the clerk is chatting while I buy my gift. On my way home, I get about 12 phone calls from a number NOT saved in my phone. So, I do NOT answer it. (The phone is for MY convenience. Not YOURS.) They finally decide to leave a message and mysteriously say, “Amanda, this is so-and-so-employee from Hallmark. You’ve left something here.”
Left something? At Hallmark? I look through my wallet: credit card is safe and sound. I look through my Hallmark bag: ornament box and card for Les’ birthday, check! I finally call them back and discover that the lovely cashier (who also told me she was so glad she wasn’t my age anymore because I had a screaming child and a double stroller) FORGOT TO PUT THE ORNAMENT IN THE BOX.
She put the box in the bag. But not the ornament in the box.
“So, can you come back and pick it up?”
Yeah, I’ll just pack up my 2 kids and the double stroller, hop in the car, drive 45 minutes to the mall, cart them into the mall, up to the top floor and into your crowded store to pick up an ornament that YOU FORGOT TO PUT IN THE BOX.
So, 4 days later I finally get back to Hallmark to pick up the ornament. Did they give me a candy cane as an “I’m sorry?” Some extra Gold Crown points? How about a sincere, “I am so sorry. We fired that girl.”? NO. In fact, I felt like I was in trouble for getting an empty box!
I stuck the ornament in my diaper bag and was determined to mail it ASAP. But if you’ve been paying attention at all, I bet you can guess the ending to this story.
Still in the diaper bag. Still in the bag (not box). Not on my aunt’s tree. Not even wrapped in Christmas paper.
I’m sorry I’m such a bad niece, Aunt Laurie. I really do love you!