Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Among the Many Things I've Had to Rethink

When I was first married, I remember saying to my husband, “Don’t ever get me a vacuum cleaner as a present.” To my mind, then, a present should really be something that you didn’t need, didn’t have to work with, wasn’t particularly practical. You know, it could be clothing but it really shouldn’t be socks.

I probably got this attitude as much from my father as from anyone else as he very much loved giving presents. He loved giving presents that were whatever you wanted. This differed from my mother who loved giving whatever it was she thought you should want. When what I most wanted in the whole world was a horse, it was my dad who got me first a hobby horse and then a real horse. When I wanted a cherry red mini-bike, sure enough there was a set of keys in toe of my holiday stocking. When I wanted a set of equestrian jumps, I was given the brochure and asked only to fill it out, which I did with great joy and little restraint.

Not that I was ever what my father considered wasteful. At 16 I was given a gas card and a credit card and never ever did he take them away from me but rather when I got my own I just stopped using his. And I used mine as sparingly as I had his. I liked it when my father thought me responsible.

The first change in the type of thing I wanted happened after we were married. My father asked what I wanted and I said, “A chain saw,” because we had bought this land and wanted to cut logs for our house. My dad swallowed hard and asked if I was sure but he got it for me. That was for Christmas. For my birthday my father asked me what I wanted with this caveat, “something for yourself.” I really couldn’t think of anything. What would “for me” be? It had ceased to have meaning.

For mother’s day this year I got a broom. Well, two of them actually. And a pair of the best fitting pigskin gloves you can imagine. I still don’t want a vacuum cleaner, but I love those brooms. And I will feel loved every time I pick those brooms up and sweep my floor. And I’ll put those gloves on and the task won’t matter, I will remember that my husband thought of me and knew what I really wanted and what would make a real difference in my life. He did that with my birthday too by giving me a toolbox, so now I can actually find the tools I need when I need them.

I’m not going to say to my husband, “Don’t ever get me a diamond ring.” But I think I’d really rather have something . . . practical, something I could work with, especially something I really need.


Karen said...

The joy is in someone taking the time and thought to give you what you want and respecting your wishes. You are lucky in your husband and father.

laura said...

all i can say is that for some reason this made me cry. i have no idea why.

no i'm rhyming...

the Contrary Goddess said...

ya know, maybe because it is so darn close to mother's day, but I just wanta say that it is true I've rejected a lot about my mom's materialism, et al., but at the same time, I got so much good from her, her steel, resolve, and in a way her artistry I think.

But at the same time, she really did do that with presents. Talk about strings.

Pecos Blue said...

Funny I got a broom too. And one for my son as well for Mother's Day. I have also received a vaccum cleaner. My husband spent a longtime researching it for me and even though it made me laugh it is great and I too like practical over not needed esp. in todays materialistic craziness.

Anonymous said...

One broom for sweeping, one broom for jumping over. heheh.

CG - would you mind please to bat me an email so's I can email your farmstead? I promise I won;t bust chops, but I do have a ?? or two, and I have long-since lost that couple of emails we knocked to and fro.

I'm at brian_e_womble@comcast.net

...and now everyone here knows my SECRET identity!

Thanks - and if you have your reasons NOT to send that email, no hard feelings. K?

Anonymous said...

Oh - and happy belated Mother's Day.

Sorry - I'm awful with those "Hallmark Holidays", including the ones that I oughtta celebrate, like Father's Day and such.

the Contrary Goddess said...

You are very funny thingfish! If I should delete your secret identity, just let me know! I'm e-mailing you now.

Madcap said...

We don't "do" the Hallmark days much either, and we haven't done surprise gifts since my dear husband brought me home a purse for Christmas that looked like alien spawn. Massages, those are favourites. VERY practical. Easy on the wrapping paper, too.

Or any "wrapping" at all, come to think of it.

the Contrary Goddess said...

I like holidays. All sorts of holidays. Mother's day takes me all sorts of getting used to, even having a 15 yo, because to me, it is for MY mother, not for me. But I think motherhood and fatherhood are worth a day of their very own. I don't much do "assistant to the head bean counter" holidays though.

I also like when people show thoughtfulness, and the ability to know me (or me them).

We have the most fun in that we've used some of our boxes that gifts come in so many times that it is funny. And many of the gifts that come in those boxes are home made. And the wrapping is sometimes very creative. And we just freaking enjoy it! LOL! Always have a special dinner too.

Magic is, after all, all about the thought & preparation that is put into it.

Joe Tornatore said...

PRACTICALLY a great posting.

Fathairybastard said...

My mom used to do that too, get me what she thought I needed, but she'd also get you something cool and off the wall. My sister, on the other hand, thinks that if she's not spending a shit load of money on someone, she's not really showing them that she loves them. It'd be cool if she had a job and wasn't spending someone else's money. God, I wish she was as practical as you. Life would be so much easier.

CDO said...

I find that as I get older, the practical gifts seem to be more appreciated. It may be that I understand the value of a dollar more. Sometimes it seems that the extravagant gifts seem to say "I love you" better than the practical gifts. But again as I get older it is understood that "I love you" does not come with the gift. The "I love you" is always there. The gifts are not!

And one of the things that I learn to appreciate more as I get older is that Hillbilly Willy realizes that theRural Life is a Great Lifeand especially thatThe Rural Life is a Great Life in Arkansas

10-4 Willy