When we were younger, my brother and I always received cool presents for our birthdays. I remember one year waking up in the frigid air of the house we lived in and finding a new Nintendo cartridge on my nightstand. My mother screamed at me to go to school until I finally relented and ran out to the bus. I always looked forward to receiving something nice on my birthday.
A lot of things changed with our mother when dad died. There were a lot of good things that happened, but the one bad thing was that she stopped giving us presents. Instead, on our birthdays and holidays, Mark and I began finding checks. Mom gave up shopping for us.
I'm not good enough with money to effectively apply it to some sort of gift. Instead, it gets thrown into my bank account and used to pay a bill or two. So essentially, for my birthday, my mom has given me money to pay for the heat bill.
I'm trying not to be ungrateful, because money is always good to have. I just miss those times when I wondered what my parents were going to buy me for my birthday. There's no excitement when a check casually slips out of a greeting card. I'd rather take the cheap Nintendo cartridge any day.