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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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The best worst Mother's Day gift


My mom is the best mom in the whole world, but you'd never know it based on the Mother's Day gifts I've given her through the years.

Oh, she'll claim she adores all the homemade presents, the brag books, the carefully stapled-together stacks of lumpy artwork I've fished out of the bottom of the kids' backpacks. "Robyn, I love it," she always says, even if what I've handed her is a lump of cold spaghetti wrapped in an old phone bill.

But there was one Mother's Day gift that I don't think either of us will ever forget.

It was 1989. I was 13 years old, on the cusp of my snooty, whiny, selfish teenage years - an era that continues to this very day. A new mall (A MALL!!!) had opened downtown in the city where I grew up, so naturally my friends and I had to check it out.

We wandered through little stores and boutiques, giggled inappropriately at the novelty shops, touched everything, purchased nothing. I was looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift, but nothing seemed quite right. Did Mom want the new Debbie Gibson single? No, not really her style. Did she need an engraved pen and pencil set? No, too expensive - let's not forget I need to save money for an Orange Julius. What about an acid-washed denim jacket in my size? No, too selfish, even for me.

It was almost time for our parents to pick us up, and I was running out of time. My friends and I were crossing the food court, Orange Juliuses (Julii?) in hand, when I saw it. The perfect gift.  Right next to the escalators stood a kiosk offering made-to-order, personalized wooden trinkets. And the price fit right into my budget: super cheap.

I quickly perused the options, and settled on a key chain - because what mother doesn't LOVE driving?!? Now, the important question was what to have the nice gentleman carve. I watched as he deftly ran blocks of wood through his scroll saw, cutting away the outlines of words and names and simple shapes. My first instinct was to send my mom a sweet message. "Make it say 'I love Mom,'" I told the gentleman.

But then I pictured my mom carrying her new key chain around, pulling the large chunk of wood from her purse like a kindergartner's restroom hall pass. "I love Mom" wouldn't make any sense, I suddenly realized! Would people think she was talking about her own mother? Would they think she was declaring her love for herself?

"Wait!" I said to the mall kiosk carpenter. "I changed my mind."

And what do you think I had him carve?


Now that's better.

I don't have a photo of the real key chain - this was well before the days when every moment of family life was captured on film - but I think you get the gist from this artist's rendering. Besides, what I really wish I had a picture of is the look on her face. The key chain might have been cheap, but the expression on her face when I gave it to her?

Priceless.


I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


23 comments:

  1. That is one truly great keychain. And what's great is she could have saved it for when you married your husband, and then appropriately passed it on to him. The gift that keeps on giving. Too cute!

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    1. Opportunity missed! The key chain mysteriously broke not long after I have it to her...

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    2. haha. i was going to say approximately the same thing.

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  2. THAT is hysterical! But I can pretty much see your reasoning behind it. Especially at 13.

    She's probably glad at that age, you didn't just hand her a pile of dirty laundry for Mother's Day.

    That's what I did. =)

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    1. I started doing that on the regular again in college. :)

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  3. That is soo awesome. I may just steal that idea this year!

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    1. It went over surprisingly well - do it! :D

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  4. That's funny. I got my mom the exact same gift around that age. It was a little weirder in my case because there was no one named Robyn in our family.

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    1. So THAT'S what happened to my mom's key chain! She told me it went to go live on a farm.

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  5. Ha! Hilarious. It think it was a great gift:)

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    1. All I can say is I'm very fortunate my mom has a good sense of humor. :)

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    2. You're right; you are very fortunate. Angie is right, too; it was a great gift and I kept it even after it broke because I do {heart} Robyn.

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    3. That sounds just like something my mom would say!

      Just kidding - I heart you too, Marma. :)

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  6. That keychain looks awesome. And it makes me want a a scroll saw.

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    1. Who needs a scroll saw when we have Photoshop?

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  7. Aww, what a great gift. It's almost as great as the birdhouse I bought my Mom for her birthday when I was 12. :)

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    1. A birdhouse is a great gift! Assuming she liked birds. Or was planning to someday become interested in birds. Or if the birds were going to pay rent and provide your mom with a tidy second income. Hopefully you had a yard, at least?!?

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  8. But, she DOES. So, it's not just a gift, it's a fact-gift. Those are the best kind. Also, can I get that keyring if she's not using it?

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    1. She just told me today that she still has it, but she also brought over some goofy cards I made when I was a kid, so apparently she's not ready to get rid of all the stuff I've given her. Except for the huge daisy non-slip bathtub stickers I bought for her (used, I think) from a garage sale when I was 6 - she'd probably let you have those. I absolutely and completely heart you big time for asking, though. <3

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  9. Awe, I think it was sweet! I can totally see the logic and LOVED all the 80s things you mentioned. FUN! <3 Devan

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    1. Well, I'm glad the logic wasn't *completely* made up in my head. :)

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