Jason and I celebrated 12 years married last week. We realized on Thursday morning that we hadn’t made any celebration plans for the upcoming anniversary and hastily decided on sushi and a sitter for the following evening.
Given that we had about 24 hours notice, I figured “eh, we’re just going to go out to dinner, we won’t be doing gifts.” We didn’t talk about it. I figured it was an upspoken understanding between us. When you’ve been married as long as we have, some things go without saying. And truth be told, while I’m very much a gift-giver (if we’re speaking love languages), Jason is… not so much. His love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation, if I’m remembering those right. So I figured that he would enjoy being off the gift-giving hook and I would just take it easy on that front for once.
You know where this is going, of course. When I opened the car door, there were 12 red roses on my seat. A dozen roses for a dozen years. So sweet, right? And so long as it was just the roses, I was still feeling fine with my “no presents” approach. But of couse, it was NOT just the roses. As we were walking into the restaurant I noticed that Jason was carrying a gift bag. Dang IT. Now what? My poor gift-giving mind started racing as we walked across the street toward the restaurant. What should I do? Lie and tell him that I left his gift at home? No, probably not the best policy to lie on your anniversary. Besides, there is no gift at home. Think of something intangible, like a ride on the ferris wheel, and pretend like that was my planned gift all along? Again, the lying. Maybe it’s just something silly, like a stuffed Bob the Tomato from Veggies Tales (seriously, he gave me that once. For my birthday. I had never seen Veggie Tales), and I won’t feel bad after all? Think of something awesome really quick that I can order from Amazon Prime from the bathroom in the restaurant and then tell him that it just hasn’t arrived yet? Dang, the lying again!
So I just ‘fessed up and told him I was so sorry, that I hadn’t gotten a gift, that I thought we weren’t doing presents. A HUGE smile spread across his face and he said happily, “Oh, out-shining you in the gift department for once in my life is gift enough, love.” And outshine me, he did. He bought me a new purse. Well, first he insulted my current purse situation by declaring all of my Old Navy purses ratty and cheap (truth). THEN he handed me my gift of a most-awesome grown-up purse. He picked it out himself from a little shop I always peek in but declare too expensive to actually enter. Score one for J. Wait, no. Score TWO. Remember the roses? And inside the purse there were 12 notes with 12 reasons why he loves me. AND, to top it all off, a little cellophane bag with 12 Junior Mints — my favorite.
Unbelievable. Just when I think I’ve got the guy all dialed in and figured out, he lavishes me with these thoughtful gifts. When I got him NOTHING. It was so tempting to race upstairs when he was driving the sitter home and hastily purchase something, anything, online that I could declare a belated anniversary gift. Instead I made myself just sit with it — with my roses and my mints and my bag and my notes. But rather than getting all existential as I’m typically prone to do, pondering my discomfort at being giving such a gift when I had nothing to give in return and getting all spiritual and deep and what not, I thought, Sheesh, maybe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks? What else does this guy have up his sleeve?
So I guess I need to leave some space for Jason to surprise me still. It’s unsettling, really. You think you know a person and then they have to go and buy you a purse. In an effort to keep my footing, though, I’ve compiled a list of 12 things I know to be true about my husband after 12 years of marriage. Beyond this list, it’s anyone’s guess…
- If a bird flies into your house, skimming your youngest kid’s head on the way in and you don’t know why but you completely lose your mind and start screaming and fluttering all about while complete chaos ensues with the kids, Jason’s your man. This has actually happened twice recently. Well, skimming Isaiah’s head only happened the first time but the MEMORY of the skimming ensured equal chaos the second time round. Instead of moving out for a few days, like I suggested, J just calmly scooped the little fella up in his hands, let the boys pat the birdie, and then flung him off the porch like it was some sort of ceremonial release. Grace under fire.
- If you want to get to the airport on time, or even just cut it kind of close, Jason is NOT your man. In 12 years, we have NEVER sat and waited for boarding. Ever. Even with kids. Jason prefers to run like hell each and every time. One time I ended up in tears (no need to go into details) and another time we were so late that we ended up in first class because they had given our seats away, which only reinforced Jason’s resolve to never arrive more than 45 minutes early.
- If we need to make a big decision of some sort, like whether or not to move to Seattle, or to buy a new blender for the kitchen, it will take me maybe a week to decide. It will take Jason approximately 8 months. Slow and steady wins the race. Except when it comes to buying a house. We both like to do that in under a week.
- I don’t like shopping. Of any sort. Jason’s idea of a good time is to s l o w l y cruise up and down and up and down the aisles at Trader Joe’s just looking things over, looking up new recipes on his phone, and discussing hypothetical dinner parties where we might try making our own steak tartare or some other equally daunting and/or impossible task. Needless to say, we no longer shop together.
- Body awareness is not a strong suit. While I have remained relatively unscathed over the years with just a black eye and a bloody shin (separate occasions), two people might have broken their legs when coming into contact with Jason.
- Scary movies are not a good choice for date night. See above about the black eye.
- If you want someone who is quite good-looking but amazingly unaware of it, I recommend Jason. But if you are hoping that he will do a quick double-check in the mirror before leaving the house, you’ll want to find someone else.
- Jason is good at almost everything he tries. Mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, ultimate frisbee, you name it. He ran a half-marathon without training once. He finished before ALL of our friends, all of whom had trained and at the end of the race, a few different people approached him and asked him who his sponsors were. It’s annoying, really. The only thing I’m better at is Boggle.
- There is no need for me to read theology books or listen to interesting podcasts. Jason will just summarize them for me over dinner. It’s his version of spoiling the end of a movie or accidentally telling you whodunnit in the book you are reading.
- When hinting that he might like to have another baby, Jason can easily be distracted by the possibility of a dog instead. The outcome of this remains to be seen but he keeps talking about dachshunds instead of diapers so I guess it’s working.
- If I don’t want Jason to know about a recent home decor purchase, I can just sneak it in the house and about 17 months later, when he finally notices the throw pillow or frame on the wall and says “hey, is that new?” I can truthfully say “that old thing? Nah, we’ve had that for ages.” It even worked with a piece of furniture once.
- If you want to take a last minute camping trip or jaunt down to Portland, Jason can wing it with the best of them. Leaving with a moment’s notice does not stress him out in the slightest. Unloading pepper spray on his 3-year-old, as you know, is another story entirely.
Happy Anniversary, my love. Sorry again ’bout the gift. I’m totally on it for next year.