…at least, I think it is. I have a hard time feeling 100% confident about the presents I buy for her as I’m never totally sure who I’m shopping for– Lil’ Sis, or me and the life I’d be living if I went all Single White Female on her.
My sister lives up on the North Shore. Her home is clean and organized; full of birch wood, white slipcovers and Scandinavian design. She has egg cups and old-timey board games with all the pieces. I have a drawer full of lidless tupperware, three broken dvd/vcr players and a cat with a bladder infection.
Once, when I was in high school, a friend of mine described her as “a porcelain doll.” My Jr. High era boyfriend called me “Moose.”
If you were going to describe Lil’ Sis’s life, you could use the words “tasteful” and “pristine” while mine might best be summed up with the three H’s; haphazard, haggard and hung-over. (Kidding. I’m hardly ever haggard.)
She’s moving through life a bit more gracefully, is all I’m saying. As a result, if I find something precious and by that I mean “beautiful and breakable and thus irresistible to my children who will destroy it in a New York minute” I must buy it for her. I mean, I think that she likes these things…how could you not? But now I’m worried; maybe they aren’t really for her at all. Maybe I’ve turned her home into one, big shadow box filled with all the things I love; Russian doll-themed tchotkes, individual salt and pepper shakers, coffee table books, and brownie cameras. (true story; in a bout of selective amnesia, I once gave either Lil’ Sis or her husband a brownie camera four years running. I just really, really thought they needed them, apparently.) That doesn’t seem to embody the proper spirit of giving, now, does it?
Perhaps for Christmas, Lil’ Sis shouldn’t even buy me a present at all. Maybe she should just allot me a shelf, somewhere in her home where I can tuck away all the pretty treasures that I find, like a crow– or Gollum. Two or three times a year I could come and visit them. Take them down from the shelf, pet them, call them “my precious” and then leave. (Note to my sister; that is crazy talk. You go ahead and buy me all the presents you want.)
So now I don’t know. At the very least, it explains why sometimes my hands feel itchy when we exchange gifts. And the good news is, someday she will be sick of it all and have a giant rummage sale, at which point I will swoop in and buy it all back.
Money well spent, my friends, money well spent…