Last Saturday, I came home from running myself ragged looking for his perfect gift and he was sawing wood in our living room (yes, in our living room, but I don't have time to even touch on that emotional hot button). He has cut, sanded and bolted a medium-size box together with a lid that slides off the top. Inside is a fan, secured with wires from one of our kid's remote-controlled cars. He says it will be my one perfect gift this Christmas. All I can think about is why anyone would need a fan inside a closed box. It's ridiculous and exactly my husband.
I still remember the first Christmas gift he ever gave me. We had been dating six months and it was our first official gift exchange. I opened the box to the largest size jeans I had ever seen with BOSS written down the side of the leg and a matching bright yellow shiny top. It, too, carried the word BOSS across it. It left me speechless. I later asked if he would mind if I took it back to the store to exchange it for something more my style. He let me, reluctantly, and he still mentions to this day that I exchange all his great gifts.
Oh, I wish that were the case. I was not able to take back the large frog figurine that shot water out of it's mouth while croaking nor the 20 miniature cactuses planted in the heaviest pot ever known to man. I kept those, but each time I passed them in the house I asked myself the same silent question---does he know anything about me? How is it that we've been together 15 years and he seems utterly clueless about my tastes, interests and wants?
That's why, a few years ago, I suggested we just focus on gifts for the kids and forgo our personal exchange. In some ways, he seemed relieved. I always thought he was relieved, however, because he didn't have to brave the stores to find a last-minute gift for me. I'm starting to wonder if he felt relief because he no longer had to carry the burden of my major expectations. I didn't want an expensive gift, or a hard to find gift, or an off-the-wall gift, but I did expect something even more difficult from him. A perfect gift that said he knew the very essence of my soul. Somewhat selfish and certainly unattainable, huh?
Since I've come to that revelation this week, it's been a lot easier to look at all the parts of my unfinished Christmas box scattered across the kitchen table. Frustration at the loss of a $50 "perfect" gift has been replaced with love and understanding for the unselfish heart of the maker. It's a big ole' mess, but it's mine. He's a big ole' mess, but he's mine, too. While I'm still not sure what this fan in a box is going to turn out to be, maybe my hubby is finally right about this one. It will be my one perfect gift this Christmas.