Today was my husband’s birthday (technically it still is as he has a few more hours). That used to make me completely insane. Not because I don’t love celebrating him but because he is very difficult to buy for. I’ve told him many times that he missed his calling as a professional shopper but I feel like it might be a weird time to switch careers and become that at this point. He has a knack for buying cool things that you never even knew you needed or things you didn’t even know existed but are perfectly suited to you and your interests.
I thrive on practicality and would consider new table linens or underwear and incredibly cool gift. You can see that we are obviously a match made in gift exchanging heaven. It used to stress me out trying to find a gift that I felt was on par with his gift giving ability. Imagine how much harder it became when I stopped earning a salary and became a full-time stay-at-home mom.
In recent years we’ve done a very cool thing. It’s called he picks out his own gift and orders it from Amazon. No, this is not it all romantic and some even say I’m cheating here. I do not care. I cannot tell you how happy it makes us both. He gets some cool thing that I never knew existed and that he has researched and really wants. I get the satisfaction of seeing an authentic smile on his face while he opens a box that was sent with free two day shipping.
I still celebrate him by way of making his favorite meal and a homemade birthday cake (well technically it’s boxed cake mix but I’m telling you I whisked it with love at home). The kids and I bring it to him with candles ablaze and off key rendition of happy birthday. Then he amasses homemade cards with stick figures and phonetic spelling and together we marvel at this family we have become.
It can be seen as throwing in the towel or surrendering by this sort of arrangement and I probably would not have been actualized enough to participate in something like this even five years ago. Slowly we have grown in to not just the parents we are but the people we have become and with that my insecurities about not being good enough – a good enough wife, a good enough gift giver and equal financial partner have started to drop off considerably (for the record they’re still there they don’t just they just don’t scream as loudly anymore).
Tonight as I did the dishes and started laundry and checked homework I realized that the gift that we’re giving to each other is being accountable as parents to our shared children and partners in that ultimate collaboration. For the first time in a long time I felt really good about what I could finally give with an open heart and no guilt surrounding it. That made for the pretty perfect gift – birthday or not.