Now that another holiday season has come and gone and we are in the middle of the longest part of winter, where the days are too cold and short for me to do much with the farm animals other than taking care of their basic needs, I find I have a little more time for reflection and reminiscing. All the holiday decorations are put away, the last of the candy from our stockings has been eaten and we’re all on a diet! We had a good Christmas with lots of yummy food and quality family time, and of course, plenty of gift giving. As my girls grow up it’s fun to notice how their gift requests have changed from the earlier, little girl stage. Megan, for example, at 15 didn’t have much of a wish list this year other than new music to play on her saxophone, i-tune gift cards and money to put toward her savings for a car. Molly, on the other hand, at 12 still likes a few “toys” although her requests have a slightly higher price tag than when she was little, usually being a very specific model of Breyer horse (which she collects) or money to buy clothes (since I long ago gave up trying to figure out what she would like).
So, considering the gifts we all gave and received this year made me think back to earlier years, long before the kids and horses and goats were part of the equation. When my husband and I were dating each other in our twenties, he loved to spoil me with nice gifts like jewelry, flowers, and spa gift certificates. He was very romantic and thoughtful and seemed to enjoy picking out and giving me these gifts as much as I enjoyed receiving them. It’s no wonder I married him, wouldn’t you say?
As the years went on, and I accumulated a fair number of pretty necklaces, earrings and pedicures, he started asking for suggestions from me as to what I might want for Christmas or for my birthday, so as not to duplicate something I already had or give me something that wasn’t my taste. I remember for our 10th wedding anniversary, I very specifically requested a small gold anniversary band with 10 tiny diamonds, showing him examples of what I had in mind in jewelry store windows at the local mall. Not surprisingly, that’s exactly what was inside the small jewelry box I opened while we were out to dinner celebrating that year.
Fast forward to current day after twenty two years of marriage. Funny how time and circumstances change what you really value in life. I know it’s normal for the “romantic” factor in gift giving to wane after a couple has been together for a long time, and quite honestly, my current lifestyle as a farm girl, 4-H leader, cheesemaker and mom just doesn’t seem to make jewelry and fancy clothes very high on my wish list. In fact, in recent years I’ve specifically requested that Brian not give me jewelry as a gift since I rarely wear the majority of what I already have (except that pretty little anniversary ring). No, these days I’m much more likely to ask for cheese or soap molds, new gloves, or a set of cooking pots and pans. One year I actually asked for, and received, a new kitchen sink!
But this year I think I really outdid myself with my request. It might not sound romantic to you, but it’s what I really wanted and I love the fact that my husband listens so well to my truest wishes and doesn’t get caught up in the commercial hype of what a woman should really want. Yes, I was pretty delighted this Christmas morning to find a bright red ribbon adorning my beautiful, shiny new purple manure fork leaning up against the decorated tree!
Life Lesson: Feeling truly known is the greatest gift of all.