My husband and I have a May Day routine down cold. After three years I can officially call it a routine. See, I do May Day baskets for my friends and neighbors. And I’m old school. I can’t get caught. Like that would be… I can’t get caught.
My husband doesn’t understand. That’s his routine. “I’m running out of my reserves,” he kept saying throughout the day. Lots of head shaking and eye rolls and muttering, but he still drove me to people’s houses, hid, and when it came time to ring the bells of a few neighbors, divided up the houses with me. That’s love – I guess.
Another successful May Day went down, successful because all baskets were delivered and collected. And I wasn’t caught.
This year I was “thinking” ahead so I procured most of the stuff well in advance. In fact baskets could have been delivered overnight if it hadn’t been for the nasty weather we’ve been having (I am so ready for some Florida fun). I think this year’s baskets were even more budget-friendly (though being thoughtful still trumps budget, this is my big splurge on others, it’s not like I get all of the neighbors Christmas gifts). Sometimes it’s hard. I try to get something for each member of the family, but some of my neighbors… I don’t know super well (or their kids for that matter). So I go all stereotypical according to age and gender (balls and bubbles for little ones for example). But most kids I can figure out… kind of. Sidewalk chalk or silly string, something fun and goofy that hopefully they won’t find incredibly lame. And for adults I try to get them something for the house and something for the family, like ceramics or stationary and grill rubs or things like that. As some of the neighbor kids enter teen-dom, yeah I’m going to miss that mark, but I’ll still try. And flowers and treats for everyone’s pets are also in the baskets. I just want it to be a colorful, warm and fun gesture to ring in spring with. That’s what they represent to me.
I’m not sure why I first decided two years ago to do this. I just wanted to. Part of it might have been me feeling kid fever as I often do, and this is something I totally want to do with my future children. Or maybe it was just the sentimentalist in me seeing an opportunity. I love my neighbors and I’m not the most social person, so baking cupcakes for all of my neighbors or doing something like this – it lets me say, “Thanks for being you, and thanks for being great.”
Last year I added some friends who lived close by to my “route”. Because really, why not?
Roy (the husband) still doesn’t quite get the whole deal. I’m a perfectionist so “perfecting” the baskets and making sure I get something for everyone so no one is left out can drive him a little bananas.
“It’s enough, it’s enough,” he’ll say.
But I’ll end up going back to a few places a few times because I don’t think it is enough.
This year I had to get creative because May Day fell on a rainy Sunday. I couldn’t do the baskets until the weather perked up and everyone is home as opposed to just leaving it on the porch on a weekday. But it all worked out. Roy just couldn’t understand why I am so adamant about not getting caught.
“Not to be mean, but people know it’s you, Michael. It’s a very you thing to do. And you’ve done it before.”
He’s not wrong, but that isn’t the point. I know that my neighbors know it’s me. But that doesn’t mean I want to be caught in the act. That would be AWFUL. I tried to explain it in a way my husband would understand.
“Think of this like competitive sports. If you drop a basket off, but you’re caught – you lose. If you catch someone dropping off a basket, you win.”
And the sound of crickets followed. But it’s over until next year – so yay. I deem myself reigning May Day Queen over, well, my domain. But I wasn’t the only one busy on May Day. Last year, two of our friends and a basket recipient paid us back. They struck again this year too, and we didn’t catch them – they’re too good haha.
I know that my May Day shenanigans may be seen as childish or juvenile – particularly my horror at the thought of being caught – or corny or sentimental, but I’m okay with all of that. It’s fun and it’s nice to do things for others and let them know you care and appreciate them. May Day is just an excuse for me to do that.
I hope everyone had a Happy May Day this year – I did! 🙂