Sunday, July 21, 2013


The box, the bow, the anticipation.  Love a gift.  And love giving a gift. 

One Mother's Day, when our son was 3, I got nothing.  No card, no gift.  The look on my face sent Mike scurrying to the store.  He came home with a bag of red licorice.  Not even a big bag.

One Christmas he asked if we could just skip giving each other gifts. Going to the mall was stressful.  His Mom took him aside and told Mike that if she and my father in law could give gifts to each other, even through some very lean years, Mike was going out and getting me a Christmas present.

Since then there have been appropriate boxes and cards for all the usual occasions. But Mike's heart isn't in it and he pretty much begs me to tell him what to buy.  Some of my friends get jewelry or flowers or clothes or other lovely things.  And for years I compared my gift situation and came up wanting. 

But then I grew up and noticed that Mike helped take care of my Mom.  He always empties the dishwasher, encourages me to buy stamp stuff, takes out the garbage cans and brings them in, and rides the subway and walks a mile home so I get the air conditioned car.  He encourages me to retire when work weighs me down even though money would be very tight, and keeps me company when I'm watching stupid Housewives TV shows "because it is better sitting with you than sitting alone."

I don't have a lot of boxes to unwrap.  No ribbon to toss.  No anticipation of what's in the box.  I'm not surprised anymore by Mike's love.  It doesn't come in a box.  But I'm still thrilled when I hear his key in the lock at the end of the day.  The surprise is that he still shows up, smiling and happy to see me, despite my whining.  Putting up with me -- the best gift of all.


  1. My husband and I decided that long ago ... it's the daily things that matter, not a once a year gift.

  2. So sweet! I'm so glad you have each other!

    1. Thanks, so am I. When I look back on my life, I realize that amongst the bad is the best anyone could ask for.

  3. What a heart-warming post, Joan.
    I love giving, of course it's lovely to be on the receiving end too. DH isn't the most imaginative and will usually ask what I want rather than buy something just for the sake of it, and he might be rushing round before breakfast on Christmas day/birthday to finish a card and get the present wrapped, but he gets me flowers for no reason throughout the year - that more than makes up for his last-minute nature on special occasions. Except that when he buys flowers when he's on the motorbike, I don't think it's ideal for them or him!! He gets more Christmas and birthday gifts and cards from my family than his own so I guess he's on a winner being married to me, LOL.

  4. You know, I truly believe that giving gifts of daily love (as seen in helping with the every day mundane tasks) so outweigh the gifts that come in a box. I'm lucky that I'm married to such a man also. He encourages me in my creative endeavors and even when I take on overwhelming challenges from family members. He does not complain about the state of the house (most of the time) and gives non stop, to not only his own kids, but to the kids he coaches.
    And, he has continued to put up with me for 19 years. That in itself is a HUGE gift, LOL!

  5. Joan, I LOVE this post! It's beautiful. As always, it is so well written and makes me want to hear even more from you -- about anything. I am so glad that you commented on my post today because it led me to your new blog. I had been occasionally checking Creating White Spaces, hoping that you were blogging again. I've not spent as much time as I used to reading blogs, so I missed this new blog of yours completely. So glad I've found you again!

  6. Beautiful, Joan! Just remember...the best things in life aren't things!

    Sometimes those of us who are so lucky are surrounded by gifts on a daily basis.

  7. This is the best blog post I've ever read.

  8. You just made me cry because you have described my husband to a T. And I used to be so upset that he couldn't buy a decent gift while all my friends were getting "the best things ever". Until I finally looked around like you did and saw the best gifts don't come in a box or from a store. Beautiful post.

  9. beautiful. you are blessed!

  10. This reminded me how wonderful our husbands can be when they help around the house....and as someone else commented ...the best things in life aren't things....
    sending a hug!

  11. Very well said, Joan. This was a trying year for the DH and I as we were wondering if we'd make it to 38 years- between his health issues with Parkinson's , and then having his mum living with us til we could find a memory care facility for her. Our strength was really put to the test, and we know so much more about ourselves as a result. One cannot just "dump" a best friend, or car-filler-upper/dishwasher emptier/ creepy-bug smasher. Looks like we both got just what WE needed in the end, so no complaints are warranted. Glad to have you back and blogging again, too. I missed you. (sldinepping)


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