Early Mother’s Day morning two PJ-clad kids were all a-twitter with excitement. I sat at the table with my eyes closed, as instructed. I could hear giggles and squeals and the pitter-patter of I-can’t-stand-still excitement. When I finally opened my eyes, there sat a gift so big it took up almost half of the dining room table.
I should have been excited, but mostly I was puzzled.
After 10 years of marriage, I have learned the cardinal rule of spousal gift-giving: Tell him exactly what you want. Don’t drop hints. Don’t leave clues. Be specific. Give him make and model, product ID number, size, color, pictures, sales associate’s name, direct links online…the more details the better.
A few weeks earlier I had e-mailed him a list (with links and pictures) of five or six options for Mother’s Day gifts. (I still want to be surprised after all!) As I stared at the large gift in front of me, I mentally ran down the list: none of them required a box this large.
The kids couldn’t contain themselves any longer. “Can we help you open it?!?!?” they squealed. We tore into the beautifully-wrapped package to reveal a top of the line, state-of-the-art electric griddle.
I was speechless.
The kids weren’t. “Will you make pancakes?” they chimed. I had recently said I wanted an electric griddle…for the specific purpose of making pancakes. But not on Mother’s Day.
I looked at my husband. He seemed pretty proud of himself. I was floored. Flabbergasted. Dumb. Founded.
He should know better. I realize not every red-blooded male sees the problem with this scenario, but I knew my husband did. At least he should. We had discussed this…at length. With friends. Among ourselves. Before we dated. While we dated. After we were married. It had almost become a running joke: You don’t buy appliances for gifts. Ever.
He. Should. Know. Better! Nothing about me has ever suggested I want a kitchen appliance for any gift-giving occasion. Books, yes. Gift cards, great. Chocolate, absolutely. Appliances, never. Some ladies are fine with it. I am not. Remember, the list?! My husband has always been a great gift-giver, so this was very much not like him.
I could hold my family off no longer. “Open it up!” they cheered, obviously giddy at the idea of pancakes. Four little hands helped me tear open the box.
There it was, in all its glory. A griddle. But wait, there was something else…two beautiful, handmade cards from my children, a heartfelt card from my husband (that may have made me cry), a CD I wanted (yes, from the list), and a gift card for a piece of custom jewelry (from the top of the list, mind you!). Told you he’s good. 😉
I suddenly realized why my husband had seemed so proud of himself…he got me. We had a good laugh, and I was reminded once again what an amazing man I married.
He gets me. Even more than the gifts on my list, my husband knew I would love a little creativity and big practical joke to top it all off. That wouldn’t fly with every woman. But I loved it. And he knew I would.
He loves our family. Sure, the griddle made for a good joke, but Saturday morning pancakes are a tradition in our family. It’s time cherished with our kids. His not-really-for-Mother’s-Day gift reinforced to me how special those times are for him…and for me.
I couldn’t have asked for a better Mother’s Day, especially when I heard my husband emphatically state, “Mom is not making pancakes on Mother’s Day!”
What’s the most surprising gift you’ve ever received?
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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.