(For those of you just joining us, Thomas is a pseudonym for the domestic partner’s developmentally disabled brother who lives with us.)
While it sucks to have a birthday so close to Christmas and we vowed to try to give Thomas separate gifts, we more than blew our wad on a big dinner and tickets to Dirty Dancing earlier this month, so he’s just getting a few small gift cards from us today and a dinner with the extended family tonight. (Don’t tell him!)
But he recently gave us a gift that is too adorable not to share. He has a part-time job, and he’s pretty conscientious about helping us replenish the basics in the kitchen … especially because the three of us eat like horses and we go through milk, bananas, bread and jelly at an alarming rate. He’s also bound and determined to be useful in whatever way he can, so whenever he sees us struggle even slightly to open a jar of something, he tries to elbow his way in and open it for us. Which is endearing in a mildly irritating sort of way.
Earlier this month, we’d been out of jelly for an entire week—which is kind of like being out of oxygen or clean underwear or TiVoed episodes of Law & Order in our house. The domestic partner and I had repeatedly forgotten to get jelly on our frequent trips to the grocery store, but one night we came home to find four jars of jelly in our favorite flavors (grape, apricot, cherry and blackberry) in the fridge. And Thomas was waiting right there to announce proudly to us that he’d finally bought us all jelly. And that he’d opened the jars for us.
Which initially made us laugh. But once we thought about it, it kind of made us tear up. Thomas had given us all he was able to give in the jelly department, and it really was a thoughtful, beautiful gift.
And sure enough, when we went to make our next peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, the jars were all opened with the lids gently screwed back on so we wouldn’t have to struggle to get to the undisturbed jelly inside them.
On the flip side, he keeps track of this stuff. And if he’s forced to buy us jelly again next time, we will most certainly hear about it. But you know damn well we won’t have to open it ourselves.