some money and they can do what they like with it," someone told me yesterday. She was about to go and have coffee with a friend on her first day of leave.
I kept my mouth shut but I wanted to say, "Your two children are still in primary school. They are going to expect something you have chosen."
This woman works full time. So does her husband. Her children are cared for both before and after school by their grandparents. Their grandparents look after them during the school holidays as well because their parents are at work. They are nice children. Their grandparents are bringing them up properly.
There is plenty of money for presents. Their father earns a very high income and I suspect their mother does too. They are both professionals at the top of their fields.
A little later, as I was passing the coffee place, I saw her sitting waiting for her friend. Unbelievably she was sitting opposite the toy shop in our shopping centre. It is a particularly good toy shop with a very good reputation.
I went on to the bookshop to pick up a book the Senior Cat had ordered some time ago. In there I saw the friend she was to have coffee with.
I couldn't stop myself. I told her what the situation was. She closed her eyes for a moment and muttered something unrepeatable and then said, "We'll see about that. If I have to drag her in here or there her kids are getting presents."
I hope it happened because, as I left the shopping centre about ten minutes later, the fire alarm started to ring and everyone was evacuated.
I know that, as a kid, I would rather have a book or a science kit or a puzzle or just about anything other than some money in an envelope. It would say, "I cared enough to choose this for you."