Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Homemade Gifts

When I was little, I used to make my family members gifts for holidays and their birthdays.  I think this is pretty typical for small children with zero income.  The stress that came from giving my mother gifts started when I was too young to remember.  If I drew a picture, she tended to mention how much better at drawing Dante had been than me even as a small child.  When I stopped drawing pictures and took to just coloring straight lines and shapes in the hopes of avoiding criticism, she told me my drawings were boring and that no one wanted to look at brightly colored lines.  Again, she would point to Dante's drawings (literally) as an example of what was good.  I could copy what he'd drawn at my age easily enough -- such things were still on my grandmother's refrigerator seven years later (hence the literal pointing) -- but doing anything Dante had done first was considered boring too. 

In school around the holidays, we often made things like "pencil holders" by decorating old tin cans, which I would eagerly offer up and my mother would accept with the sarcastic reply, "Great.  Another pencil can."  (It's not like she had more than she could use either.  Do you have any idea how many pencils you can find in a hoard house?  They are infinite.

When I learned to sew in elementary school and took to sewing and embroidering small throw pillows because it was all I knew how to make from the tiny scraps of fabric I could get my hands on, they prompted a disparaging snort and the similar response, "Great.  Another pillow."  That was around the time I started saving up all my birthday and Christmas money to buy proper gifts for my family.  I knew only babies made homemade gifts and that no one liked them anyway.  That point was very clear at my house.  That was the year my mother ridiculed me for buying her gifts at the Dollar Store.  It was around the same time Dante started stealing from me.  Childhood is the worst.

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