Gift of Giving
I love to surprise my wife Rebecca with presents, except when I have to.
When theres no pressure to prove my love, I actually do quite well for
a man. I possess a gift for finding the perfect presents for
Rebecca, sometimes at a price I can even afford. However, when an
obligation like her birthday rears its head, my talent suddenly retreats
and theres nothing but junk in sight.
Rebecca and I have an arrangement that whenever I travel for work, I have
to bring her back a present. I find it a major challenge finding the
chance to actually shop. Usually Im working from morning until at
least 6pm, followed by a dinner meeting, movie, email and phone afterwards
in my hotel room, and then to bed. I suppose I could wake up two hours
earlier and try to find a 24-hour Wal-Mart, but frankly thats not quite
the caliber of gift I want to give my wife to say, I missed you and
love you very much. Sometimes Im in the middle of nowhere,
like Paris. Rebecca doesnt believe me that I simply couldnt
find any place to shop there. I tried my best, but for some reason
the German cheese and Chilean wine I brought back for her earned me the
cold shoulder. I suppose theres always the last resort of buying
something at the airport, but I simply refuse to pay airport shop prices
for gifts I could buy in a grocery store on my car ride home.
Anyway, Rebecca is quite particular in her hints (Fish jewelry would be
nice) and so finding the right gift actually takes time and effort.
One time I did get lucky and hit the fish jewelry jackpot; I was set for
the next three trips. Rebecca, however, has since caught on and now only
gives me her hints right before I leave.
This last trip Rebecca hinted for bath stuff. I decided that relying
on excuses like I didnt have time to shop really didnt say I
missed you and love you very much any better than a Wal-Mart special. I
carved out a block of time to find the local mall and peruse one of those
fru-fru bath stores where I could discretely ask what bath salts were.
The sales lady understood my plight i.e., that Im a man and
showed me the shape container the bath salts came in. There were
several families of flavors, each with its own lotion, scrub, salt,
conditioner, etc. I picked up the properly shaped container marked
Raspberry. After looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was
watching, I twisted off the lid. I refuse to drop $10 on a handful of salt
without some idea of what Im getting into. I took a deep breath.
The thought of my wife smelling like shes covered in Raspberry pancake
syrup was enough to turn my stomach.
Its our best seller, the sales lady informed me. Maybe women, who
apparently have the ability to distinguish between sexual and sensual,
really do find soaking in a fruity stew relaxing. I peered down the
shelf at my other options: Sparkling Green Apple, Plumeria, and Dandelion.
Where were the scents with names I could relate to, like Sweat, Heat, or
Passion? But what do I know about women or taking baths? I
decided to play it safe and bought one of each. And no, I was not
influenced by the sign that read Buy three get one free.
A new wrinkle in this whole gift ritual is my son Skylar. Ive
found him much easier to buy for than Rebecca. After the procurring
the bath salts, I located a bookstore and bought him a funny picture book.
Ive gotten him several books over the last few months. I like
books. Sometimes I pick one up for myself too.
Suddenly I had a creeping feeling that I was nothing but a heel. Skylar is
six-months old. He doesnt want books. Heck, I might as well
stop kidding myself and buy him that slot car set Ive been lusting
after instead. I was out of time, but I wanted, no, needed to find
something that Skylar wanted. After an anxious 45 minutes, I finally
found the perfect gift: a stuffed penguin with big eyes that Skylar could
shove in his mouth and chew on.
There was a price I paid in being late, but giving often hurts and takes
extra effort to make that leap from Honey, Ive been wanting to buy
you flowers all week but couldnt find any good ones to I went to
one more store and found a bouquet of your favorite flower.
Certainly the thought counts, but one cant bathe in a thought or chew
on a book with as much satisfaction as one can a penguin. Sometimes
that extra effort makes the gifts we give more special than the person
receiving them will ever know.