It was my birthday, and I was visiting Uber son and his family. My daughter-in-law proposed a lovely gift: A pedicure for two--me and my 7-year-old granddaughter. What a great idea. It would be her first. But my main thought was, how can I maneuver things so I pay for it. I didn't want my daughter-in-law to have to foot the bill. I didn't want to burden them with an additional charge.
This was a little bit crazy on my part. They are, after all, on pretty firm ground financially--the double pedicure at a suburban strip mall outlet wasn't going to break the bank. So why couldn't I just sit back and enjoy?
I was finally forced to. When my daughter-in-law dropped us off for our pedicure, she pre-paid the bill. I'm glad I kept my "I want to pay" neurosis to myself. It was a perfect gift and a memorable experience to have this precious 7-year-old sitting with me while we picked out the nail polish color we'd try. We were going to do the same color so we had a lot of intense discussion about various shades of red and orange. We both dismissed the idea of blue or green. And then we sat side by side in big lounge chairs while we had our feet bathed and washed, our toe nails cut and polished. I could see how tentatively she sat on the edge of her chair, just a little bit worried about what was coming next. And I was able to sit right next to her, knowing I was right there to reassure her if something seemed strange or scary.
What a special gift. My grandchild and I still chat on the phone to compare nicks in our polish. And I've finally gotten over the feeling that my grown children shouldn't treat me. I was perpetuating an out-of-date reality--that they couldn't afford it. It's healthy for them to treat me. And it was wonderful gift for me--both the pedicure and the recognition that they were financial grown ups.