Smelly Socks: Mama's got a brand new ring
Every year, with my husband's encouragement and not so subtle reminding, my boys try get me a special Christmas gift.
This gift is nothing expensive, just something strictly from them. My boys have typical tastes you would normally expect from a 9- and 13-year-old. However, John is the essence of a thoughtful shopper, carefully considering each purchase with painstaking detail.
So I knew that Austin and Jamison were in capable hands when they began the search for my Christmas present.
We had already made most of our Christmas purchases, but I still needed a few items to complete some packages before they got mailed off to family and friends. Naturally, I am always looking for a reason to go shopping, but the boys were pressing us about going ice skating in Fredericksburg.
During the month of December, Fredericksburg has an ice rink set up at its park. "It is a real rink with real ice and real pain when you fall," Jamison excitedly reminded me as he rubbed his backside, practicing a painful grimace from falling.
So with an open Saturday, we loaded up and headed to San Antonio en route to Fredericksburg. When you live on a ranch, you learn to make each trip to town count. So naturally, we attempt to cram as much as possible into our excursions.
Our first stop was The Shops at La Cantera. I must admit that just driving into this center's entrance puts a smile on my face. Seeing those shops with signs displaying "Sale" and "50 percent off" brings out girlish squeals of delight. Austin just rolls his blue eyes, and Jamison looks down and shakes his head.
From the backseat, I hear high-pitched squealing noises of, "Oh, my," and "Yippee, I see shoes" as the boys burst into laughter. The boys take great pride in imitating my shopping excitement and my squeals.
"You are just such a girl, Mom," Jamison declared.
Once we parked, we decided to split up to get what we needed so we could make it to Fredericksburg in time for ice skating and to swing by the Brewery, which is where Austin swears he tasted a little piece of heaven when he took a bite of its steak.
John and the boys went in one direction, and I went in the other, with plans to meet up at an agreed upon place and time. John, Austin and Jamison all set out shopping for "Mom's gift."
I was a little early to meet up with the boys, so I ventured into a part of the store that I seldom go into. As I turned a corner, I bumped smack-dab into a surprised John, who gasped and said that I wasn't supposed to be there.
Austin threw his hands up, "I mean, really, Mom. Do you have some kind of Mom sonar tracking gene? You always find us. How do you do that?"
Jamison quickly reached up and tried to cover my eyes with his hands. "You didn't see anything, right?" he sweetly asked.
Quickly changing his mind, "Oh, come on, Dad; let's see what she thinks about it. Please," pleaded Jamison. He isn't any better at surprises than I am. "Mom, this is so you. We knew right away that you had to have this ring. You can totally make it work," Jamison said, sounding so sweet and sincere.
My curiosity was raised as I waited in silence to see just what they were talking about.
Out of the bag John pulled an enormous ring covered with blue crystals shaped like a gecko with a tail that swirls around your finger. The ring is big, as it reaches to the finger's middle knuckle, and it is life-like. John looked at me with skepticism as he slid it onto my ring finger.
"Is that . is that a lizard?" I asked meekly. "No ma'am. This is a gecko," an educated Austin announced.
"Gee, Mom. Isn't it the coolest ring you have ever seen?" the boys asked.
John chimed in with his eyes opened wide in hope, "And the boy's already have a name picked out for it."
Austin stopped him right there, "No, don't tell her. She has to have some surprises."
This unique ring has a special place in my heart. Looking down at my gecko with its enormous eyes, I realize that this is truly a gift that only my boys could pick out.
I have honestly never seen anything like it, and I cherish all of the time and thought they put into finding me something so special and unique.
There is no mistaking that this is from their heart, and that makes me love it even more. My new gecko has left a permanent smile on my face.
Johanna is a proud seventh generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at email@example.com.