Father’s Day is almost upon us, and this time I really don’t want to blow it. Greg is a wonderful dad to our seven children. There has to be some present that expresses how much I appreciate him. Top gifts this year are the same as every other year: golf bags, fishing gear, and leather wallets. Greg doesn’t play golf, hasn’t fished in years, and already has a serviceable wallet. Okay, how about alcohol, or a facial care kit, or a credit card holder . . .
Oh, sorry — dozed off for a minute. Must have been the alcohol.
Yes, Father’s Day is almost upon us, and I just know I’m going to blow it. At least I can give him sympathy: This is the day I change places with my husband and experience a feeling of complete ineptitude when it comes to buying presents.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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I shouldn’t complain, because these occasions are few and far between: Besides Father’s Day, Greg has his birthday, Christmas, and our anniversary. That brings his total number of special occasions to three and a half.
Mine, however, add up to an irrational number. There’s my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, our wedding anniversary, the anniversary of the day we met, our first date, our first fight, the first time we made up from our first fight, etc. I’m way ahead of the retail business. There is an infinite number of fractional special occasions my feminine mind can think up.
Greg misses most of these events. He just doesn’t care about special occasions the way I do. If I complain, he is apt to say something like: “Daily faithfulness to the marital vocation should count for more than some trinket on an over-hyped merchant’s holiday.” Isn’t being a faithful husband and attentive father the Most Important Thing of All? Moreover, he would like to add: “At least I am not out drinking.” (Note to self: Forget the alcohol.)
Yes, yes, I tell him. That’s all well and good, but I still want presents — not because I am materialistic, but because I am sentimental. If I were simply materialistic I would go out and buy myself a dozen roses. But no, I want him to do it, to prove how much he cares. He must do this several times a year, varying the presents each time. Not only that, but he must do this without any prompting from me. He must get me exactly what I want. Moreover, it must come as a complete surprise to me.
Thus he spent the first few years of our married life wandering among the kiosks at the mall, with the look of a helpless, lost child. (One time he brought help in the form of a teenage boy — the blind leading the blind.) Luckily, our daughters came of age and took over. Any guy who pities Greg for having six daughters would do well to keep this in mind: He’ll never shop alone.
I am not so lucky. Our daughters take after me. They too have no clue about what to buy their dad. Our son is two years old and refuses to help. I suspect that when he is older he will go the way of other males and just not care about special occasions.
Of course, the silver lining here is, My husband does not care about special occasions. This means that he would be perfectly happy if I didn’t get him anything.
But I wouldn’t do such a thing. I will leave it to his male friends to not get him anything. That is what guys do best. I will get him something. But I will do it with the knowledge that he doesn’t care what it is. He has a rainbow of ties, but I can get him a new one. A yellow one this time. He doesn’t have too many yellow ones — only two or three. A new shirt to go with it would be nice. He would appreciate it just as much as the others in the closet — enough to forget that it is in there and to wear the same three shirts he always does.
Maybe he’d like a new book. Then again, when Greg wants a particular book, he just orders it. Or if he does want me to buy it, he e-mails me with the ISBN so I get the correct edition. This is what makes him happy. He is not like me; he does not expect me to figure out what he wants without telling me. Bless his heart!
What’s more, if I fail, I can rest easy in the knowledge that he will accept the uninspiring, useless gift I offer. I got him wrap-around sunglasses last year — the kind old guys in hats wear over their regular glasses while they are driving really, really slowly. Greg tossed them in a drawer (alongside the credit card holder), but I am sure he will use them someday. Maybe in 30 years. At no time did he curl up in a ball and sob, “You don’t love me!” Guys like that really make you want to get it right.
A handful of times I have had bursts of inspiration and gotten him something he really wants but would never buy for himself. Top hit was the outing to play paintball in the Poconos with his guy friends. Score!
Then there was the genuine Swiss army watch. Another hit! The only thing wrong with it is that he’ll never need another one. The quality is too good, and one watch is all he wants. He’s not much for bling — just the watch and the wedding ring. (And he doesn’t exactly need another one of those. He is stuck with me.)
So at least I have the paintball and watch to my credit. Still, I hate to rest on past laurels. It’s been so long since I’ve gotten my creative, feminine little hands on just the right gift to prove to my man that I love him.
But I can always give him sympathy. I’ll go to the mall, wander among the kiosks, listlessly pick up a key chain or two with that lost, help-me-somebody-please look he wears so well. Next month when my birthday rolls around, hopefully I’ll be more understanding.
I bet he’d like that gift best of all.