Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Unsurprises

Yesterday one of the packages we received was something I didn't order. It was from Scharffen Berger, a chocolate company back in the Bay Area. Addressed to my husband. It weighed about 2 pounds.

When he called that afternoon, I told him my Christmas present had arrived. He said that was my stocking stuffer, and that there was also some stuff for his boss and coworkers in there.

"You know, you could have top-secret packages mailed to work," I told him.

"Then I'd have to carry it home," he said.

That's true, some sacrifices are too large to make at Christmastime. Oh well, he's made progress. There was a year when I didn't get anything for Christmas, because he didn't have time to shop.

And this year, he even said he might buy my Christmas present with cash, so I wouldn't have to find out how much he paid for it when I pay the January credit card bill.

My husband has never been into surprises. I was brought up in a family where the surprise gift reigns supreme. One of my most cherished Christmas memories was the morning when I opened a box with a dog leash, brush and collar and was still busy trying to figure out how to wear the leash as a belt when my dad came upstairs carrying the laundry basket in which my new puppy had fallen asleep.

I find the idea that loved ones might be secretly scheming to please me to be most delightful. Epu doesn't think this way and also probably feels he might choose the wrong surprise and provoke a reaction other than he had planned.

Then again, my husband delivers some pretty good nonsurprises throughout the year. A sampling:

-- Gets up with the baby every morning, even on days when she wakes at 6 a.m. Feeds both girls breakfast.

-- Respects the work I do as a mother. Never gives me any of that "I earn the money" crap, nor does he pressure me to earn more than the pittance I have brought in freelance writing. At the same time, though, he completely supports my efforts to expand my writing.

-- Comes home when he is done with work. Sure, there are occasional wings nights with guys from work, but on most nights you will find him at the dinner table with the family. As my mother and grandmother have reminded me when I complain about him playing video games after the kids are in bed, "At least you know where he is."

-- Knows how to do so much stuff! Since we moved into our nearly-century-old house, Epu has shown me skills I never knew he had. Without him, our house would have no stair rails, snow wearing away at unfinished outdoor window and door trim, a garage with no storage, a hole in the bathroom ceiling, no living room light fixture/fan, and dirty furnace ducts with years' worth of random debris trapped inside them. True, there are also a couple of large holes in the walls that were created by Epu, but I believe him when he says, someday, if I believe real hard, those holes will be closed up again.

So there, Epu, is your report card after 10 years of marriage (our anniversary is one week from today): Needs no improvement. Not on the core curriculum, anyway.

Cross posted to the Chicago Moms Blog.


Sara said...

hooray for wonderful husbands...even while they are still learning. ;-)

Bert said...

Yeah, he's a good one. And you're great for appreciating the things he does do exactly right. :)

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary to you two. I can't believe it's been 10 years already!

Notta Wallflower said...

Happy Anniversary and Merry Christmas! Thank you for the card - your girls are adorable. I don't think I've ever seen eyes so big as the ones Pebbles has!