I love my husband dearly, and he has MANY, many, many talents. But gift giving is not one of them. I have WAY adjusted my expectations since we got married (starting after that Christmas when he gave me a gift "on a post-it note" because the store wasn't open late on Christmas Eve- the time that he allotted to go get something). He has good intentions, and he comes with lots of good ideas, but finding time to go to the store and actually carrying through is the tough part (especially since he claims shopping at "my kind of stores" makes him dizzy and weak)
Also, our anniversary is three days before my birthday. I thought at the time that instead of having to come up with two medium-sized gifts, he could just do one slightly-larger-than-medium gift and therefore take the pressure off of him having to do two separate events. BIG MISTAKE. With TWO events to buy for, the pressure escalates and he folds, unable to come up with ANYTHING at all. This used to cause me great consternation. Now, I look around at the awesome life that he provides me and realize that the day-to-day is way more important then one big hoopla in the big week in August.
Soooo, with my birthday yesterday (thanks for the wonderfully kind birthday greetings, btw) I wasn't really expecting anything. I asked for a pretty-cheap-but-cute necklace a month ago that he could order online. I asked him while he was sitting at his computer, emailed him the link, and then asked him about it three more times (because I have learned that subtle DOES NOT work) But then I shut up about it because I didn't want to make the same nagging mistakes that I made six years ago when we first got married. Some things just aren't worth creating a big deal out of.
He had more-than-usual late nights this past week for work (he runs his own business so his hours are MANY and sporadic). I fantasized that he was out scouring the stores for some sort of foam-making-coffee-type of machine that I had also asked for only if he didn't want to get me the necklace (and if he could find a good price), so I sat patiently at home and wondered if there would be a big reveal on my birthday.
10 pm of my birthday
Aaron: Did you have a good day?
Me: Yes, I really did.
Aaron: I'm glad.
Me: Soooooo, did you get me anything?
Aaron: Um yes, that necklace you wanted is on order.
Me: REALLY? That's so awesome and sweet! Thank you!
Aaron: You're welcome.
Me: So, when is it coming in?
Aaron: Um, well, I'm not exactly sure.
Me: But what did the email say as far as estimated delivery date?
Aaron: Well, there wasn't actually an email....
Me: So what exactly do you meant by "on order"
Aaron: Well, I want to order it soon.
Me: So you haven't ACTUALLY ordered it.
Aaron: (hangs head sheepishly) well, no, but I want to soon.
A conversation that six years ago when we first got married would have caused me fits of tears and anguish of "WHO DID I MARRY?????" Since something that was so important to me (birthdays used to be a BIG deal in my family) was obviously not even on his radar. But experience has taught me that this sort of petty expectation isn't worth the sweat and tears I used to give it. Giving gifts is not one of his love languages. The fact that he sacrificed his work schedule to be home in time for me to go to a 6pm Zumba class the night of my birthday IS.
So I told him how thankful I was for letting me go to that class, and for his help getting the kids in bed, and for the yummy Pad Thai with shrimp he picked up for dinner so I wouldn't have to cook.....and that I might shop around on my own for a foam-making-coffee-machine or if I couldn't find one in the price range, order that necklace myself so he should watch for the charge on the credit card.
He was happy. I was happy. We stayed out of marriage counseling yet another year.....life is good.
p.s. if you feel the need to tell me of the amazingly-creative gifts that your husband spent six months researching to surprise you with on your birthday, I wouldn't advise bragging about that here....
p.s.s if you can feel my pain with a spouse who has an ENTIRELY different love language than yourself....I would LOVE some commiseration...