Math is not my friend. It never has been and it probably never will be. I can do basic math and keep my bank account in the black, but when it comes to algebra I’m sunk as deep as the Titanic.
My grandparents are both apparently mathematically inclined and have never understood how they could possibly be related to someone who wasn’t. It didn’t matter that I was good at other things; they remained obsessed over the fact that I was doing terribly in my algebra courses.
When I was nine or ten, right before winter break, I took some sort of big test to see what I had learned so far that year and what I needed to work on. It was no big surprise to anyone when my math scores didn’t look so hot.
But school was out for a few weeks and I quickly pushed all thoughts of math and academics in general out of my head to focus on the most important thing in the world at that moment: Christmas!
After what seemed like years of waiting Christmas day finally came, and my parents loaded up me and my brother and took us to my grandparent’s house for more gifts and my grandmother’s famous underdone turkey dinner.
Upon arrival, buzzing with excitement, my brother and I were each handed a gift, and we tore into them with great enthusiasm.
Only… there’d been a horrible mistake! My brother had unwrapped a toy off of his wish list, and I’d received a very dull-looking board game that was devoted to math!
I told myself that the first gift had a fluke, and that I had several others. I forced a smile, said thanks, and moved on to the next one.
My brother opened the second toy he’d asked for, and I found myself holding a quite dreadful little book full of practice math problems.
Now there was just one gift left…
I honestly don’t recall what the third one was, because it was also math related and I had a meltdown. They had gifted my brother all these lovely new toys, and I’d gotten math. I believed my grandparents hated me, and I couldn’t stop crying.
Now, years later, I realize that they DID love me, and were showing their love in their own, strange way, but at the time, it was horrible.
One good thing did come of it, however… The next year I received a check and a request to have a few (wrapped) gifts for them to put under their tree for me.
I suppose the surprise element was gone, but after years of gifts of paisley clothes from the outlet store and now the math books, it was a welcome change.