Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Birthdays Are the Best (Usually)

What do you get the woman who means everything?

Today is my wife's birthday. I never really know what to get her for her birthday. She's not really into possessions. She doesn't really like "stuff." Oh, she'll buy "stuff" fairly often, but when she does, it's almost always stuff for our kids, or the kids she teaches, or me. She hardly ever buys stuff for herself.

She can always use clothes, but it's awkward for a guy to get clothes for a woman. Guys are guys, and we never really know what size to get. If we get the size too small, the clothing won't be of any use. If we get the size too big, we've horribly insulted our wife.

And, even if clothing did come in "one size fits all" so there would be no size-guessing snafus, there is no such thing as "one style fits all." So, if you manage to navigate the size dilemma, you still might end up with an outfit that "looks like something your mom might wear." And you don't want that. (Sorry, Mom.)

She likes shoes. Unfortunately, shoes have all the same problems attached to them that clothes do. Still, one year I decided to go for it anyway. I triple-checked her shoe size and I studied the styles of shoes she already owned and liked. When I found a pair that I thought for sure she would like, I bought them for her. But, unbeknownst to me, that was the year that her mom also happened to buy her two pair of shoes as well, making it The Birthday of Six Shoes.

I've gotten my wife a lot of useless junk for her birthday over the years. I've gotten her cookie sheets and other equally lame kitchen stuff. I've gotten her books that I thought she might like. (I've also gotten her books that I thought I might like. Oops.)

Sometimes I do okay. On the first birthday that we knew each other, shortly after we were engaged, I got her a couple of framed pictures that I took on our hike at Mount Timpanogas on our second date. They still hang on our wall.

A couple of years ago I thought I'd get some points by getting her something totally unexpected. I got her a welcome mat for the front door. My wife never uses the front door. She usually does a pretty good job of feigning excitement for what I get her, but that day, despite her best efforts, all I could see on her face was, "What is this? And why did you give it to me?" It turns out "totally unexpected" won't get you any points if the gift is totally useless.

Having said all of this, it's not really as difficult as it sounds. My wife doesn't ask for much on her birthday. She doesn't need fancy gifts, or big hoopla and falderal. Mostly she just wants a birthday cake and to spend some time with her kids. They get her things from the dollar store, and she loves it! Sometimes those dollar store gifts are the best because they come with love.

We'll go out to dinner tonight as a family to celebrate her birthday. And she'll love that the kids are happy and excited for her birthday. And she'll be happy with whatever I get her for her birthday. (As long as it's not a welcome mat.)

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