My doorbell rang a week before my birthday, intruding on my comfy silence.
* cringe *
Isn’t that always an introvert’s involuntary reaction?
Fortunately it was the UPS guy in his behemoth brown truck already turning the corner at the end of the block, racing his way to the next doorbell on the next porch.
I picked up the package addressed to Hub; walked down the hall to where he was sitting on the couch; and playfully asked, “Is this my birthday present?”
“It is,” came from behind the newspaper.
“What is it?” I teased.
“It’s the replacement toilet seat for the one that got cracked.”
Two facts about our marriage:
1. We like humor.
2. We don’t buy each other ‘have to’ gifts.
What are ‘have to’ gifts?
The birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day conventions that dictate you show your love with gifts on these days. I’m not judging those who celebrate with flowers, candy, and jewelry because they are meaningful expressions of love for many couples.
Just not for us.
I much prefer spontaneous, unexpected gifts on non-event days, although traditional gift-giving days have created some gold nuggets in our family lore.
When I was four – back when we had thriving main streets with a movie theater, a soda shop, and hardware, clothing, pharmacy and ‘Five and Dime’ stores within a 3-block stretch – Mom gave each of us a quarter and let my older sister and me walk to the ‘Five and Dime’ to buy birthday presents for Dad.
I bought him this postcard:
And a receipt book:
The postcard has travelled back and forth between Dad and me as a ‘laugh’ for 60 years, sometimes appearing in family photos or other unlikely locations.
Although I didn’t understand his job at the time, Dad was an accountant and I became an accountant and finance professional myself. I still like to look at receipt books and ledger paper in the office supply store.
Like the toilet seat Hub gifted me, Mom received tokens of Dad’s love through the years including a rototiller, a riding lawn mower and a washing machine.
Yup. Hub and I are carrying on the family tradition of ‘It’s the Thought That Counts’ gifts.
My grandkids have gifted me rocks, dried seeds and countless crafts. The usual – but nevertheless cherished – stuff, all of which is crammed onto a three-shelf display stand in my kitchen to get pawed over each time they visit.
Solidifying family memories of who, when, where.
My favorite gift from Sparks was when he asked me to participate in his ‘Now & Then’ school project – interviewing an older family member to compare my youth to his. Of his six grandparents, he chose me; and the time we spent discussing the interview questions and compiling this book are a gift I treasure.
Raqi has shown her love for Hub and me through many spontaneous gestures. When she was three years old and we were saying our goodbyes at their front door, “Wait!” she suddenly cried and scurried into the kitchen.
She hustled back with two single-serving peach paks from her snack cupboard.
“Here, Mima, Papa. For YOU!”
Shortly after, Hub and I were moving to our current home. Raqi had decorated a blue (now-faded) frog at daycare and gave it to me one night at their house.
As we were leaving, she held out her hands, “Mima, give me the frog.”
“Wait till big truck. I bring it.”
Raqi had no experience with moving nor had any of us talked to her about the moving process. She brought the frog on her first visit to our new home and carefully placed it on the top shelf of the display rack.
Some people have an angel watching over them. I have Raqi’s frog.