Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Family bonding

Sometimes, my brother and I are sooo different. What we think, how we act, what we like, what we do. Of course, most of our differences can easily be explained by the simple fact of gender-- you know, the old "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" thing.

For example, while I would be just smitten to receive a brand new kit of makeup brushes, my brother would be overjoyed to get a shiny new set of ... tools.

Well, that last part is exactly what happened today.

Today was-- and still is for another half hour or so-- my little brother's birthday. (Though, as you can tell by the photo, he's not so little.) Every December, Patrick catches up to me. See, we are a year and nine months apart. Most of the time, our ages appear to be separated by two years. But on December 14 he narrows the gap. I'm 25 and today, Patrick turned the big 2-4.

(He, like me, has started to realize that anything after the "big 2-1" is really not all that exciting anymore.)

My brother is impossibly hard to buy for-- he either won't tell you what he wants or he will list a bunch of gun-related paraphernalia that is way out of my price range or comprehension-- and that frustrating fact is only compounded because of his birthday's proximity to Christmas. Not only do I have to come up with one fabulous birthday gift, a mere 10 days later I have to deliver another smile-eliciting, thrill-inducing present.

Well, I am proud to say that this year, I have done good-- so far.

Taking my father's advice, I bought for my brother a 24-piece 3/8 in. drive ratchet and socket set by Kobalt that comes in a handy blue storage case. Turns out my brother is always borrowing my dad's set to work on his car, so he was in need of his own.

(Let me just mention here that when I went to Lowe's to purchase said case, I was looking ultra-girly and wearing heels. I thought for sure some store employee would catch one glimpse of the wide-eyed blonde scouring the tool aisle, take pity on me and rush to my aid. No such luck. I know we live in the 21st century but really, I'm not afraid to admit it: I know nothing of tools. So next time Lowe's, help a girl out!)

I wasn't sure how the gift would go over since my brother is awfully hard to please but he ended up loving it! After peeling off the wrapping he immediately opened the case and started fiddling with the ratchet and trying out the sockets. He said it was "cool" and thanked me several times. I even got a hug! (And we're not a very huggy family. Yeah, I just made that word up.)

I was tickled pink that he truly liked the gift and I know that the socket set will get far more use than the beer brewing kit I got him last year (for Christmas I believe). That "out of the box" gift-giving idea is still sitting, well, in the box.

So I guess there's just one thing left to say: Thank you, 24-piece 3/8 in. drive socket set. You brought a sister and a brother, who are often worlds apart, together, if only for a few moments. You even got us to hug.

Patrick and I, circa 2008. I obviously need to force him to take more photos.


Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Awww I love it! What a great gift! I am trying to bond with my brother more but he's only 17 so still kind of in that annoying teenager stage. I hope that one day we are closer, though!

Phoenix said...

Brothers are the worst to shop for - especially picky ones!

I'm glad it went well and that you got a hug. Now all you have to do is get another hug from him for Christmas!

Mo Pie, Please said...

Man oh man, don't I understand this dilemma! My brother is 4 1/2 years older than me but that's the only thing that sets our sibling relationships apart! My brother only wants tools, he never says what he wants other than that and nobody can ever afford anything he really wants! His birthday is new years eve so I always had to get him a great xmas gift and then turn around and get him a great bday gift a week later. It's tough. And we're close but certainly not as much as we used to be. He likes the opposite of nearly everything as me and doesn't understand why I wanted to move away from Wichita, KS to start a life of my own! So funny.

Helen said...

Carissa, I loved reading this! You did a fab job on his gift!!!

I always find it so hard to shop for guys. I'm still looking for a gift for my dad!

I like giving experiential gifts, like tickets to a concert or a spa treatment, because people wouldn't usually spoil themselves in that way... but dads are still really tough to buy!

Andhari said...

What a great sis, good job Carissa!:)

Walter Tully said...

That's great, Carissa! Bonding between siblings is really important. That's what I've been teaching to my kids. I let them play soccer and frisbee every weekend in one of the recreation centers here in Denver, Colorado. It's really fun since I get to play as a referee, and we don't have to spend that much money to spend quality time together.