My mother can be very difficult to buy a gift for and has a reputation for returning presents. Every so often, I land a great present that my mom loves. For example, in 1994, I bought my mother a pair of Teva sandals for Christmas, and you'd think I'd given her the Holy Grail. I've never in my life seen her so excited. She screeched and squealed and danced around and there were tears of joy. I think she was more excited about those sandals than she was when I told her I was expecting triplets.
But for every one great gift I give, it seems I drop at least five bombs.
Last year we bought my mother and iPad for her birthday. While I didn't have one myself, I thought they were the coolest things and I really thought my mother would enjoy it. Imagine my surprise when she opened the box and huffed, "What's this? Oh pfft! I don't need this. I have no idea how to use one of these things ... here, take it back."
Wait. What? It's a brand new iPad, Mom. One of the most magnificent inventions ever?
Coveted the world over?
Mom didn't want anything to do with it and I could tell the mere sight of it made her punchy. Which probably had more to do with her being upset that I'd spent a lot of money on a gift for her, and not due to the fact that she had an Apple product in her living room (rest assured, Steve Jobs). So I defeatedly returned it to the sparkling white Mac store cinch sack and considered taking it back to the store. But then I started using it and the next thing you know, I'm the proud owner of an iPad! Yay me!
Over the past year, I've come to really love my accidental iPad and I know, just know, that my mother would love it too if she'd just give it a chance. The whole idea of her not knowing how to use it is preposterous. There's really nothing to know except how to push the button. So this year for my mother's birthday, I bought my mother an iPad mini. Maybe the smaller less expensive sized version would be easier for her to swallow, figuratively speaking. Especially if I wrapped it up and presented it to her in a Teva shoe box.
As she was opening her present, she was telling her friends that were gathered 'round how last year I'd bought her an iPad and she gave it back to me because, really?! What does a 79-year woman know about that kind of crazy technology? Then she pulled out the iPad mini and huffed, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You did it again?!" and I explained, "No, I didn't do it again, I got you the SMALLER one this time and trust me Mom, PLEASE TRUST ME ON THIS, you and your 80-year old self will LOVE it."
William, who was standing behind me whispered, "Hey Mom, if she doesn't want it again and gives it back ... can I please have it? Pretty please?"
Son, not now.
I was determined that this gift would STICK. So for the next two hours, I showed my mother and several of her friends from Florida who had converged for her birthday surprise, how to work the iPad and by the end of the night I had them all convinced it really was the greatest gadget ever. They've even invited me to come down to Florida next winter and spend a day with them teaching the ins and outs of the brand new iPads they all intend to purchase.
One day last week, I Face Time'd my mother on her iPad mini from our iPad. She was giddy to be looking at me - real time - on the tiny little device that she is also using to retrieve her e-mail and check recipes and take photos and videos and and live stream Netflix. While I walked around our house and showed her the girls who were in bed sleeping, and the boys who were in bed wrestling each other, my mother told Jim's family (who were visiting), "Would you look at this? This is Jen! She's calling me from MY OLD iPad to MY NEW iPad! Isn't this amazing? I've never seen anything like this!!"
Yes M'am. It would appear we have a winner.
Don't tell me persistence doesn't pay off!