Giving from the heart.

On Christmas, my parents opened the gift that Brandon had picked out and bought for them, then read the Christmas card/letter he had written and sent with me down to Texas.

If you take out the pauses where I was digging my fingers into the arm of the sofa, this is how the ensuing conversation went:

Mom: Well, I think I'll just write Brandon a check. How much should it be?
Me: That's entirely up to you.
Mom: Well, whatever he spent on us. How much was [gift Brandon sent]? Twenty?
Me: ... No, it was forty dollars.

In a few moments, this appeared:

It's like she paid a bill for an exact amount due.

I haven't told Brandon I have this.
I've been carrying it in my purse since December 25th.
I'm very embarrassed to give it to him.

His parents sent me pottery and art.

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