We had our gift exchange yesterday, and like every year for as long as I can remember, my Mom wrote down what everyone got and who it was from. I don't know where the idea first came from (maybe from my Dad's Mom, who kept meticulous scrapbook archives of every year, including all the news clippings from their small town paper that listed it as 'news' every time we came to visit). But every year when I was little, Mom would write everything down as we opened. When my own kids started opening also, Mom offered to continue the tradition. I like the idea that we will have these lists in her own handwriting, something so old fashioned in this modern age of computing.
A few years ago, after each year finding some paper, and trying to keep all the yearly lists together, I had one of those why-didn't-I-think-of-that-sooner ideas, I had her write the lists in a journal. It's just a composition book, not decorated (yet) but it now has several years in the same book, and it's much easier to keep track of that way. I'm sure other creative folks would have a wonderful time decorating the book before starting, I may still decorate it at some point. But a good idea to keep track of the celebrations and memories.
After all gifts had been opened, in that lazy afternoon time when everyone tries out their own and other peoples' gifts, I was showing my dad how I could see the flower photo he uploaded to flickr on my PSP, and from the other side of the couch, on their laptop, checking out this very site, my mom chuckled. She had gotten to the part in my post about my first art journal, where I had joked about the first pages being to wipe your hands on. This is a running joke in my family (one of many!).
When I was about first grade or so (and a very good and attentive student, who mostly only got in trouble for a messy desk), in a class about how to use the library, the teacher or librarian told us that the first couple pages of a book are left blank in case your hands were dirty, so you could wipe your hands on those pages. I SWEAR THAT IS WHAT SHE SAID! She added that we wouldn't ever actually want to do that, but if there was no restroom around, and you couldn't wait to get to reading, in a desperate situation, it would be all right. Now, I took those words to heart, mostly the part about not wanting to do it, I always made sure my hands were clean before picking up a book.
Fast forward a bit, and this subject came up somehow with my parents. And I proudly showed off my knowledge of what those pages were for. And it was very kindly explained to me that I must be mistaken. Of course, I must have misunderstood, but I'm sure my little toe-headed, freckle-faced self was indignant about being right, I'm sure it was adorable. And she laughed. And every time it has come up since then, she laughs. And I still swear that is what the librarian said.
But it was a nice bonus present yesterday, to be able to hear her laugh reading my little inside joke to her.