I’m writing this not for an audience and more for me to process what’s going on in my brain. I don’t have a support group I can share this with and I certainly wouldn’t post it on social media. Since I only have three followers I figure it’s safe enough to put here (even if it went viral it’s not super awful enough that I would be embarrassed about it getting out). #TheInternetIsForever
I’ll preface this by saying that I was taught to always be grateful for what you’re given and to act like it with the giver, regardless of how you actually feel about the gift. That’s the frame of reference I’m working with. And I’ve never had an issue with being gifted “non-traditional”gifts for any occasion. I actually enjoy receiving things that others might find odd: kitchen appliances, power tools, etc. That’s why I think this hit me so hard.
I’m also always mindful that there are others who have it worse than me and who would love to receive even the smallest token gift. We make a point of doing more for others at Christmas than we do for ourselves because we have been very blessed. My kids would rather get a handful of small items and go shopping for kids off the “angel tree” than to have piles of presents under the tree.
So with all that in mind....
I cried myself to sleep on Christmas Day. Why? Because I was given hairbrushes , dental floss and dental implements. By my husband of nearly 18 years. Who should know better by now. Because he has done better in the early years of our marriage when we were still getting to know each other. Even our children understand why hairbrushes (two of them) were a bad idea.
Also, I’m not a dentist. I have no interest in dental tools. Especially tools that I can’t easily use on myself. Or hairbrushes, two of them, marked “detangling”. Those stupid hairbrushes were like a knife in my heart. How? Why? You’re perfectly right to question it. It hit me like a tone of bricks when I was alone. Waves of despair rolling over me. Why? It’s just a stupid hairbrush (two of them, detangling). They are still sitting in the table in the living room and every time I see them they make me cry.
Is it because I haven’t had a bottle of perfume in two years? That’s what my better half usually gets me... I’m a creature of habit and I’m always happy with the same fragrance every year. I don’t know. I normally don’t have to remind him, he just goes and buys me perfume. Not this year.
Is it because it feels like a throwaway gift? Like “it’s three days before Christmas and I don’t feel like looking for anything and I want to just stuff something in the stocking, it doesn’t matter what”. I don’t know. Normally he puts more thought into what I’d actually *like*... or use...
I haven’t used a hairbrush in at least 5 years. My hair is so short that all I use is a comb. So why on earth would I need “detangling” hairbrushes?! When I joked with him upon taking them out of my stocking that he must be tired of me using his *comb*, he replied that the hairbrush was “dirty”. Our two daughters have long hair and about 16 hairbrushes. All the hairbrushes in the house are theirs, dirty or otherwise. And brushes can be cleaned. So why?! purchase hairbrushes for the only female in the house who doesn’t use them?
It feels like I’m not being *seen*. My hair has been short since 2007 at least. Why on earth would I need a detangling hairbrush? Do you not see my short hair every single day? Does it not register that my last haircut in September was so bad that my hair was half an inch long all over my head and I was miserable about it? So giving me a brush (nay, two of them, detangling) to brush hair I don’t have and that will take me years to grow out long enough to need is... hurtful.
Now I’m pretty sure the thought process was actually something like “I need a stocking stuffer... she does hair and makeup stuff... there was a dirty hairbrush in the bathroom... she must need a new one”. It wasn’t meant to be hurtful. It was just... not well thought out.
The worst part of this situation is that I can’t easily say “Dude, are you serious?!” because I was raised to be grateful. I actually like the dental flosser doohickey thing. He could’ve stopped there and not done the dental tools and hairbrushes. And I would’ve been fine with that. My main gift was being delivered by Amazon later this week and I was cool with that. And I didn’t really mind the set of iPhone lenses he bought me even though I already had a set from 18 months ago that I don’t use. I gave my old set to my middle kid, the photographer, and I’ll keep the new set because they are really much nicer. But they will probably collect dust. Because I don’t take macro photos nor do I ntake wide-angle photos with my phone. Plus their a total PITA to use on the fly. But it did show some thought. He didn’t remember I already had them and he thought I would like them.
I thought I was ok with just returning the hairbrushes and tools to target when we went to exchange my daughter’s Pokémon game. She wanted Ultra Moon, we ended up with Moon by mistake... but that’s easily fixable. Then my son gets himself caught in his brand new jacket and breaks the zipper. Which I had to fix. He has a ha it of breaking or otherwise mangling his Christmas gifts within 24 hours of receiving them. Don’t ask me about the rc TARDIS from last year or how he got the drone from this year stuck in the tree yesterday. See, if I were given something *nice* as a gift, I’d cherish it for more than 2.8 seconds. But I got dental floss, hairbrushes and dental tools.
I saw the stupid hairbrushes in the table lost it again this morning. Huge ugly sobs. Which I think scared my kids. None of whom thought to warn their dad that hairbrushes and dental floss were a BAD idea. Not that they should be responsible to make sure that he shops appropriately. I told them (among other things) that they should counsel him for next Christmas so as to avoid making such a grave error in judgement. Even my oldest child understands that I don’t use hairbrushes. Two of them. Detangling. I think the reason why I’m so hurt is that I try my hardest to make sure everyone gets something they will like and use. But no one does the same for me. If I did for everyone else what was done for me, everyone would be getting cotton underwear and deodorant for Christmas. Whether they needed it or not. And it would be the wrong size. And scent.
I don’t need anything. But just because I don’t need anything doesn’t mean it’s ok to just throw whatever in the stocking and be done with it. I would’ve been happier with nothing at all.
PS: don’t come ask me if I had a “good christmas” afterwards.