As my 12th birthday approached in 2001, my mother asked me what I might want for my birthday gift. With the PlayStation 2 being introduced the previous October, naturally that was at the top of my list after having gamed on the original PlayStation for years. When I told my mother of my desire for the PS2, she expressed doubt bringing up that it was too expensive, that I would need to save up to buy it on my own. This saddened me at first because I wondered where a twelve year old would come up with $300, but she said that with all the aunts and uncles that I had, I shouldn't have a problem getting the money together.
On my birthday morning, I woke up and immediately counted the money I had received, exactly $300. I ran to my mother begging her to take me to the mall to buy myself a PS2. My gift from her was that she would buy my first game for me. We get to the store, find the electronics section, and are greeted by the new PS2s, $299.99. I was finally going to have it, until my mother mentions that I forgot about sales tax. The PS2 was going to cost $325 because of the added California sales tax, and that I would need to come up with the extra $25 in order to buy one. I was devastated. Not only was I $25 short, but I had no one left to receive a gift from.
So we returned home for dinner and cake, no PS2. After finishing up with cake, my mother saw that I was clearly upset and walked over and gave me a hug. "I'm sorry you couldn't get your PlayStation today son, I am sure it will be soon though. I left something in the back of the car, could you go get it for me?" I went to the garage, to the back of the car, head down, holding back tears. I opened up the trunk, and to my surprise, there it was, a PS2. "Happy Birthday Son," read the message taped to the box. I ran back inside, straight to my mothers arms and gave her the biggest hug of my life. She explained to me that I was almost a teenager, and that her trick was to teach me some valuable life lessons about money, about responsiblty, about being patient. She then said to go to bed. "Why?" I asked. "Because we have to go back to the mall in the morning, to use the money you saved up to get some games and dvds."
As my 18th birthday approached, I remembered back to that day, how happy I was, how much my mother meant to me. The PS3 was now out, and I thought maybe I could re-live that day again. I had finished high school, was working my first job at a grocery store and was getting ready to start college. I though maybe if I saved up for a PS3, showing my mother the lessons she taught me that day had stuck with me, that shemight surprise with a PS3. On the morning of my 18th birthday, a PS3 was nowhere to be seen. I thought for sure that my mother would have surprised me again. "Son you are now 18 years old, with a job, and about to start college. You're an adult now. If you want to spend $600 on a PS3 that is your decision." Another life lesson. I hugged her and we shared a laugh.
Now I am 23, graduated from college, moving out to start my new job at the start of the new year. The PSVita is calling my name, but I have been holding out, thinking this is my last chance for my mother to surprise me, to teach one more of her life lessons before I move on in the world. That PSVita would be a mighty nice going away present. Maybe, just maybe she'll surprise me. Wish me luck!