Sunday, May 17, 2009


I have a long-married friend who receives a heart from her husband every Valentine’s Day. She’s got, I’m guessing, 40 variations on this theme.

In this house, we’ve never been much for formal gift days. In our early married years, we were too broke for presents; plus holidays meant breaks from graduate school so THAT was gift enough. Then, the kids arrived and gift attention went into birthdays and Christmas. Even the big V-day in February meant the quick, I-have-to-get-you-something, flowers/chocolates/etc.

I know that sounds unromantic. From my reading, lack of gifting would be a deal breaker in some marriages. What can I say? We are clicking off the days to #35 and we’re really ok with each other in this category.

Even that couples’ holiday, The Anniversary, has usually passed without a lot of fanfare. For our first 5 or 6 celebrations, that day fell right in the middle of final exams and end-of-school frenzy. I would nudge the hub and say, “Hey, we made it another year.” His usual response, “And we’ve confounded the family.”

As for the other prescribed gift expectation days, well, he’s never been too good at dates. He notices that Christmas is coming, what with decorations and music. Sometimes he buys the Christmas present in October which is when the stores begin to decorate. My birthday is December 9 and he usually gets confused that it’s two days earlier…not because of Pearl Harbor Day but because 12/7 is the birthday of his high school sweetie. Why do I know THIS???

As for Valentine’s Day. His staff will remind him. It’s usually flowers that arrive at school with a typed card.

Now, even I might get my feelings hurt if my husband forgot all the holidays that we mark in America by changing the color of the foil wrap on Hershey’s kisses. (Arbor Day, anyone?) But, you see, I am gifted so many more times.

Note to husbands and boyfriends: a woman may expect gifts when merchants say it’s time. But the gift she might treasure most is that sudden, no-reason-I-just-love-you gift that you place in the spot where she will find it.

Bragging here: this is my lot.

When we go shopping at our local better department stores, why is my husband on a first name basis with the Perfume Person, the Lingerie Lady, and Accessory Anne? “Hi Mike. Is this Lynne?” Because they see him coming and fall all over him, helping him pick out just the right thing for his wife. I can’t miss the envy in their eyes as they size up this woman. “What does SHE have that makes HER so special?”

I have him.

Saying that, when medical news grew dark on April 6, it crossed my mind that we might not get to celebrate our next anniversary, on June 8. I’m not one for such negativity but the news on that day was grim. Did I miss the chance for one of those anniversary bashes?

Well, no. (Another blessing. Thank you Father) Barring the unexpected, we will celebrate our 35-year journey in a few weeks. Did we ever expect what an adventure it would be? Well, no. We stepped into the unknown, but we stepped holding hands.

We’re still holding hands.


  1. I like your description of recognizing Christmas because of the music and decorations. The inability for the majority of men, myself included, to handle exact dates on holidays and such is chromosomal I think. My life was made easier through my subtle manipulation by making our wedding date within weeks of my wife's birthday so all I have to remember is the month of June and Christmas. Other than that I told Megan I don't believe in what I call Hallmark holidays, but I'll send her some flowers or something to her work when she's in the middle of a particularly tight deadline or something just to keep her on her toes. ;)

  2. Thank you for your blog. While I am beyond saddened by his illness, your descriptions of your marriage make smile. And think. You should be so proud of the life that you have made together, and I will continue to read and learn. Thank you and keep writing. I'm reading, and thinking of all of you.
    Betsy (Burgan) Wenz