My mother SO wants me to want to have her hummel collection (and she has an entire curio cabinet filled with them–and if you know what a curio cabinet is, you probably know someone with a hummel collection) that for my birthday this year, she sent me a box filled with them.
But I, silly Annie that I am, thought it was sort of a weird joke.
You see, I have no doubt that I’ve made it quite clear, explicitly clear, that I have absolutely no interest in hummels or anything that could possibly break easily or anything that could possibly be called a “collectable”. Ever. That I live in a small house with two very, very active cats, no curio cabinet, and books piled on every available space, including the bathroom floor. Knick knacks just don’t have a place here in my little world.
Yet for some reason, my mother swears she heard me say I wanted the hummels and she thought I’d be thrilled to get the first shipment for my birthday this year (along with a book on hummels I’d given her nearly 20 years ago).
Well, I talked to her today, told her that I was surprised she sent me the hummels, asked jokingly if she was planning on leaving this earth in the near future, because why would she send me the things of which I so desperately never wanted?
And then she started to cry.
I’m a shitty fucking daughter.
I live thousands of miles away and odds are slim that my mother, who hates to fly, will ever visit me here again: I should have accepted the first shipment of hummels graciously, resigned myself to many, many more shipments, and then kept them in a water-tight bin in the garage, to be passed along to my poor niece, nephew, stepdaughter or stepson who, with luck, suddenly developed an interest in antiques (and by then the damned things will officially be antiques).
Or, I should have accepted them, sold them on ebay, then sent my mother a lovely gift with the proceeds. But no, instead, I was my usually bull in the china shop blunt self and under the ruse of being honest I childishly demanded that my mother remember who the hell I am: so NOT a woman who would want a collection of hummel figurines.
Will she ever forgive me?
UPDATE Dec. 1st:
I called mom this morning and we chatted for a bit. She explained why it was so important for her that I want her Hummels: she said when she was growing up (poor, very working class, big family) the families she admired had Hummels in glass cases. She associates them with wealth, something she wants to share with me (and this reminded me of the leather jacket she bought me once, when I was a teen–it wasn’t a bomber jacket but a jacket a woman her age would wear—-no doubt that, too, was part of the sharing her dreams with me).
The other issue is more about inheritance: she has several step children from various marriages, and she wants to make sure the precious Hummels don’t end up with them.
So, I do now understand where she is coming from. And I said that I’ve changed my mind. Hubby agreed to build me a SMALL chest that we can put on a wall where I could display a FEW of the Hummels, but that I would probably keep any others in a closet. She was ok with that, too, and immediately noted that when I visit in June that she would let me pick out a few more to take home with me.
Soon I’ll have the pictured umbrella Hummel after all. It seems those are worth a lot.