As I mentioned the other day, my nephew's birthday is October 3rd. I am very good at remembering when people's birthdays are. I can still remember most of the birthdays of my grade school class. Granted, there were only 23 of us and I went to school with most of them from kindergarten to 9th grade, but most of these people I have not spoken to or had any contact with for many years now.
I am not so good, however, at actually acknowledging birthdays on the actual day. And I am even worse at getting cards and gifts to the recipient on time. If I am really good, they will get them sometime in the same month.
So, last Saturday, I called my nephew to wish him a happy birthday. He's 11 now and it was a short conversation. I asked if I could talk to his dad. I had asked my brother what to send as a gift, but he had not gotten back to me, other than to tell me my nephew had been given 3 footballs by his friends. He's as good with gift sending as I am. I got my birthday present in June. My birthday is in January. It has become quite the joke between us, but I do try to get something to my nephews somewhat close to on time.
When I called, they were on their way to my nephew's soccer games. I told my brother I still needed to know what to get as a gift. He said we were going to have to play verbal charades.
"Oh, so let's see how smart Heather is first thing in the morning?" I asked.
"I love to play let's see how smart Heather really is anytime." he responded. Smart-assness runs in the family. I'm not really sure who we get it from, however.
I asked if I should get my nephew something Seattle Seasquawk related. My brother said no, think Boston.
"The Red Sox?" I asked wondering when my nephew became a baseball fan.
"No, same theme you were on before."
"The Patriots?" I felt relief. I like the Patriots. I asked if there was anything specific I should get.
"Do you know what goes over the shoulder pads?"
I stared at the phone. Surely, my brother cannot possibly think I am that stupid that he had to phrase it in the form of a question!
"The jersey?" I asked with as much sarcasm as I could muster.
Turns out I am not that stupid after all. I asked if there was a particular one I should get.
"Number 7, I think, but it could be number 10."
"Ben Roethlisberger is #7. I am pretty sure Tom Brady is not, if that is who you are talking about." (Take that little brother).
I asked what size I should get (youth large) and what I should get if I couldn't find one. He said a hooded sweatshirt would be fine.
"A Patriots sweatshirt? Say 1. A generic sweatshirt. Say 2."
"Keep with the theme." Notice he did NOT follow directions.
I told him I would let him know what I ended up with.
Here is what I wrote on his Facebook wall later that day:
"I was able to go with option #1-and it is #12. Had to go X-no L's. The eagle will take flight on Monday."
His response was "clever code words...he will be happy. good job auntie" (Direct quote. I did not leave off the period at the end of that sentence. He did. I include this sidebar because years from now it is going to annoy the hell out of me to see that and think it was my doing).
I told my mom about this and read her the cryptic message I left on his Facebook wall. Even with telling her the story, she didn't understand my message. I told her I was able to find a Tom Brady jersey, who wears #12 and I had to get an XL because they didn't have any larges left (I actually got the last one they had) and I am going to mail it on Monday." I don't know how she didn't get that.
It occurred to me that my brother and I could probably have a cryptic conversation in front of her that she wouldn't understand. We are going to have to test out this theory next time I go home. What can I say? Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.