The fine line between pretending and purposing

Last week I threw a little party for Brooke. She’s 11 going on 41 and as such wanted a birthday brunch with grown up things.

Forget the typical kid fare of pizza, Cheetos, and soda.

She wanted appetizers of filled filo dough and Sister Schubert rolls glazed with honey butter and stuffed with chicken. Fruit on display, peppermint bark, and cranberry punch rounded out the rather mature menu choices.

Then there were the activities. Pin the tail on the stable donkey is so yesterday. I thought my suggestion was quite clever, but no.

She wanted a gift exchange where we supplied all the wrapped gifts. I was okay with this idea because it is a great delight to my soul to spend time in the $1 section of Target. I know. Issues. I have them. That’s why I won’t tell you about how much I love the office supplies aisle and how I’ll sometimes just stand there and stare at all the possibilities. And breathe deeply. I love the smell of fresh office supplies. I’m now totally over sharing and will get back to my point.

Where was I?

Oh yes, the gift exchange.

So, this was the main event of the great birthday brunch of 2009 complete with filo dough, sister rolls, and Target dollar items.

Brooke was beside herself with excitement as she stood among the 17 party attenders to explain the rules. Which might I insert one more tangent here. I am knocking on the door of 41 and don’t think I would have 17 girls show up to my birthday party. Seriously. It probably has something to do with all the time I spend standing in the office supplies aisle smelling the air. That is not a quality usually listed with things you can do to “win friends and influence people.”

Oh the tangents of a Monday morning blog post are entirely too plentiful.

So, Brooke stands on the couch and lists the rules of a good and proper gift exchange. I’d heard all these rules given at each adult gift exchange I’d ever attended and was thinking to myself how funny it is that Brooke knows these rules so well, when she completely caught me off guard with rule number 5.

“Rule number 5: If you get something you don’t like, pretend that you do like it. This is the most important rule of all.”

I couldn’t stop myself from giggling out loud. Along with my office supplies issues, I have inappropriate laughter disorder. ILD. I’ll over share about that another time.

Anyhow, I looked over at Holly and quipped, “A truer rule has never been given.”

And that’s what has got me thinking about the fine line between pretending and purposing. Haven’t we all been given things that we don’t particularly like? Maybe I’m the only petty one in the party today, but it makes me sweat when I open something and want to sound sincere in my appreciation but fear I won’t.

Y’all, it’s rule number 5. And all girls know rule number 5. And never is there a more fascinating thing to watch then the attempts at pretending that go on at gift exchanges between women. It is a psychological study I wish someone would do.

Because not only do we know rule number 5 at the gift exchange, we apply rule number 5 too much in our lives. We are master pretenders are we not?

But what if some part of what allows us to pretend could be redirected slightly. Instead of faking, we could learn to purposefully find something we do like about the gift… or that woman that gets on our nerves… or our husband’s comment… or whatever else triggers us to revert to rule number 5.

There’s always something to like.

Some tiny thread of something that we could purpose to focus on and make the smile go from fake to true. From feeling slighted to slightly delighted.

And if nothing else turns your mood in a sweeter direction, surely there’s a store near you with an office supply aisle that you could drive over and stand in.

Happy Monday y’all.