Me: Hey Mom! How are you?!
Mom: Oh, we’re doing fine over here! Just a little bit of drama going around in the neighborhood.
Me: Oh, man. I bet that’s stressful. Hey, so I wanted to ask you about Christmas this ye—
Mom: Oh. Stressful wouldn’t even start to cut it. You see, last weekend, we were actually downtown. All of us neighborhood couples knew that you kids would be at your bar crawl, so we figured we would try to have our own fun.
Me: Wow! Sounds like a good time! Anyway, so I wanted to ask about what we’re doing for Christma—
Mom: It was an awesome time! We got a trolley and bustled around Chicago in the night time!
Me: Wow. Last weekend? That actually sounds really cold…
Mom: It wasn’t as bad as you would think. Plus it was BYOB…so you know…your father and I…well…let’s just say that we had to take an Uber home.
Me: Oh, I believe it! Sounds pretty wild! So, the reason I wanted to call was because I know we have the famil—
Mom: I don’t think our driver liked us very much.
Me: Last weekend?
Me: Why not?
Mom: Well, we ordered an UberPOOL from the city to the suburbs because it seemed cheaper.
Me: Wh—Mom why would you do that?
Mom: The app said that it was the cheapest option! We wanted to make sure that we were getting home safely — and saving money!
Me: Yeah, but it takes, like, 40 minutes to get home if you’re not using UberPOOL — nevermind. It’s not worth the argument. Anyway, the family party is down south this Saturday, right?
Mom: Yeah, it’s at Kate and Jonathan’s place. Hope you have a good White Elephant gift picked out! Anyway, when we were on the way home, your father and I got paired up with the nicest couple—
Me: Wait, what’s that about a White Elephant gift?
Mom: Well, you’re out on your own now, so it’s time that you contributed to the family White Elephant!
Me: Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?
Mom: Well, this has been on the calendar for a whole month so we figured you knew about it.
Me: Yeah, it’s been on your calendar for a month! I’m already doing four Secret Santa’s for my office, plus one for my college friends! I can’t do a White Elephant right now!
Mom: Oh, relax. The limit is only $50.
Me: *Screams internally* So, what are other people getting for this?
Mom: Oh, you know, honestly it’s a lot of stuff that people your age like.
Me: Such as…?
Mom: *Groans* Dad is getting a Build-Your-Own-Six-Pack, I’m getting a tour of some breweries, I know Uncle Ryan is getting a Lettuce Entertain You gift card. You know, simple stuff.
Me: *Sarcastically* I hope the family likes Barefoot Moscato wines.
Mom: *Pauses* Seems a little bit cheap, don’t you think?
Me: No—that’s not what I—it’s just that—
Mom: No, no, I get it. You’re involved in a few other gift exchanges, so money’s tight for the family this year. Right?
Me: Mom, that’s not what I said.
Mom: Is it, though?
Me: *Thinks carefully* It’s not that money is tight for the family specifically…
Mom: Oh…Oh my goodness. Are…are you in trouble, Charlie?
Me: No, no. I don’t want you to think that. I can pay rent and bills and keep a roof over my head—
Mom: Charlie, if you’re having problems with money, please let us know. Look, we know you’re on your won, but we still are able to help out if you need it. We don’t want you to cut us out.
Me: Oh gosh, Mom. I couldn’t ask for that. Plus, I just got a raise and have been working a bunch of overtime, so—
Mom: Great! So then make sure you have your White Elephant present by Saturday. I know I said the limit was $50, but, y’know…maybe try to get it as close to that amount as possible. We don’t want the rest of the family to think we’re cheap!
Me: Heaven forbid.
Mom: What was that?
Me: Nothing. Can’t wait to see everyone! Talk to you on Saturday! Love you!
Mom: Love you, too!
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