i’m in love with a gift-hater.
Not just a person who is uncomfortable receiving or giving anything, but an actual HATER of any sort of present gifted to him or being gifted by him.
If you put it in the context of The 5 Love Languages, gift-giving doesn’t even make the cut. It’s not even close.
In fact, if there were any such thing as hate languages, then “gift-giving” would be his.
The Man hates gifts.
And it doesn’t matter if he is receiving or giving them. Giving him any sort of present is kind of like handing a monkey an eggplant. He takes it awkwardly, looks it over cautiously like it’s some kind of alien life form, determines it inedible and puts it down, never to be looked at again.
(Truly. What’s UP with eggplants? And WHY do i keep trying to eat them?)
But that doesn’t keep me from trying to give him gifts. Because, i LOVE them. Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s, Flag Day…any day is a good day for a present! My birthday is a week before Christmas and long ago, i declared the entire month of December my birthday. One day just isn’t enough…especially one day that competes with the biggest present-day of the year!
My mom was always amazing about my Christmas-competing birthday. She would refrain from putting up any holiday decorations – not even a tree – and instead, make the celebration all about me. She decorated for my birthday, had birthday cake, and wrapped presents in birthday paper even though the hall closet was bursting with Christmas wrapping paper ready for the gift-giving season.
We would have friends and family over for my birthday, have dinner and open gifts. It was a day just for me.
Then, the following day, mom would race around the house throwing Christmas up – lights, tree, santas, the whole dang North Pole – and suddenly it was Christmas! But that was ok by little-me, because my special day had happened and i was successfully one year older.
Today, adulting-self doesn’t get those kind of considerations any more. My special day is just too dang close to the BIG day and friends are too caught up in the hustle, bustle and stress of putting their own special day together.
But mom never forgets and mom always makes sure something special just for me gets to me on my birthday. Wrapped in birthday paper. Complete with birthday card. (i love you mom!)
But the Man is different. And i love him. So i try very very hard to understand him and how his brain works. i get it that gifts don’t work for him, and even though i still give them, i don’t take it personally when he thanks me without looking me in the eye and sets it to the side, not knowing what to do with it. One year, i just let him tell me what he would like to have, and he told me a kitchen sink. Okayyyyyyy…..it’s his gift anyway….so he got a new kitchen sink.
And he STILL talks about how awesome His “Christmas gift” is every time he uses that huge industrial sprayer to hose down the giant one-basin ceramic deep-well sink he ordered. And installed. Easiest gift ever.
And if buying him a sink means he helps with the dishes?
Well, that’s a gift that just keeps on giving.
But fast-forward to this week and something has gotten into my Beloved’s brain about gifting. In one week he has bought me TWO gifts, which sounds awesome and spoil-y and gushy when i say it, but i think you need to take into consideration WHAT the gifts were.
The first one came on the heels of a very long day for me. i came home from work tired and sore and just wanted to lie down. He was packing up and heading to Walmart, which is the LAST place i want to go, even on a day when i’m not wore out.
(Truly, if there is a Hell, i believe it would be a lot like the Walmart in East San Jose, complete with hundreds of giant, two-baby strollers – one seat for the baby, one seat for the groceries because the other child is in the recreational sports aisle pulling all the playground bouncy balls out of the cage and tossing them down the aisle – coming at me full speed pushed by screaming, i-have-too-many-kids-to-keep-track-of mothers while completely unhelpful people in blue aprons and name tags stare at me uncomprehendingly when i ask them where the nail polish remover is. Just thinking about it started giving me the shakes.)
He went on his own.
Half an hour later, i get a text:
A gift for my girl fell into the cart ::gift emoji::
A gift? Really? i can’t help it but my heart jumps and i get all fluttery inside. i mean… i know it must be coming from Walmart but a gift is a gift, right? And this princess likes presents!!
Excitedly, i await his arrival and the thoughtful present i’m sure he will have.
And here it is.
Yeah. That was my reaction too.
And of COURSE the fact that he thought of me while he was out and picked up a gift for me meant something. Meant a lot, in fact. And of course it made me squishy inside and rang all my gift-loving bells. But…..really? Yoda?
i searched his face to find the significance of a small Yoda figurine/Christmas tree ornament (yeah! Even weirder since we live in a tiny condo with no room for a tree!) as a present, and saw joy and love and a bit of pride spread across his face as he waited for my reaction. His happiness was infectious. i smiled. And i thanked him. And put Yoda prominently on display on the dresser so we can marvel at his awesome-ness every day.
Two days later, before the Yoda-awesomeness could wear off, the Man does it again. As i am leaving work, we have this text exchange:
AHA! A gift that isn’t Yoda! Or his girlfriend! Could it be …. flowers? Candy? Flowers and candy?
When i walk into the house, the Man directs me to a Walgreens bag on the table and inside are two packages of pantyliners. Well, to be more exact, one package of pantyliners and one package of “moderate” feminine pads. i’m confused.
“These are….?” i ask, hoping he will finish the question with ‘NOT your gift’.
“Feminine pads! For my incontinent girl!” He answers, smiling big, and then continues on to explain the difference between the two packages – one being for those “light” everyday-days, and the other one being longer, thicker, for the really bad days. There are even longer, thicker ones than those, he tells me, but those are for NIGHT, and if i think i might need them, he could get them for me.
“Wait..wait..” i stammer, trying to catch up. “That was ONE incident, i coughed suddenly, really hard…it caught me by surprise…” But the Man is off to the races, showing me the pictures on the packages and explaining how to read the water drop scale diagrams so i can tell the differences between the two and all the other options available should i find these insufficient and i suddenly realize that he had spent a SIGNIFICANT amount of time in the feminine care aisle of Walgreens. He had taken the time to take packages off of shelves, read labels, discern which would be the most helpful for his “incontinent” girl (c’mon, man! it was just once! twice! whatever!) and bring home two options he thought would be helpful.
At first, i’m speechless. Which was good, because it gave him more time to describe all the different styles of panty-protection there are. It also gave me the opportunity to realize something very valuable: This was better than any candy that i shouldn’t really be eating or any flowers that would just become playthings for the cats and die in a few days. This was WAY better.
This was PANTYLINERS.
And they were given to me by a man who believes gifts should be useful (and that i am possibly incontinent. Sigh. Perhaps there is such thing as TMI when it comes to loved ones. And online blogs, for that matter.)
They were also given to me by a man who is concerned about my comfort and well-being enough to do some serious field research.
Screw the flowers.
This is LOVE. In action. And my life is all the better for it.