Giving and receiving

W and I wrapped up anniversary number one today.

We had a low-key afternoon yesterday.  We started out with a parent-teacher conference for one of the kids and then enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch.

After lunch, we stopped by a furniture store and ended up buying a new couch and love seat.  This is how you spend anniversaries when you are in your forties and have kids.

We did allot for some “grownup” time while the kids were still at school.  It was nice to be able to make love with the door open and without Animal Planet on in the background drowning out any sex noises.  Although sometimes it does add to the mood.

I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, which is one of W’s favorites.  We exchanged cards and had a slice of cake.  She made a list of some of the things that she loves about me, which was really cute.  Especially because she included some of the things that I always assume drive her crazy.  Like the haphazard way that I make a bed.  Note: Never make a bed with a nurse.  They have received special training and schooling in bed making.

I had a dozen pink roses sent to W’s office today.  Sweet, I know.

The truth is that I wish I had the means to spoil her more.

It’s not that she’s a material girl.  Far from it.

She always tells me not to get her anything, but I always do.  And then she feels guilty.

So, what I’m really giving is a big ol’ box o guilt.  Which really isn’t all that generous or romantic after all.

I think the gift giving fills some void in me, though.

I’ve always been more of a giver than a receiver.  In more ways than one.

I’m definitely more comfortable in that role.

For one thing, I never know what to do with a gift or how to react upon opening one.  How surprised or happy am I supposed to be?  I wish each gift came with its own emotion card to cue me in on the proper reaction.  “Overjoyed.”  “Smugly Content.”  “Curiousity Piqued.”

I always do this weird thing where I vigorously shake every package like it could contain a ticking bomb and then guess its contents.  It’s my way of buying time before the big reveal.

“A book,” I’ll say.

“Another book?”

“Hey, a book.”

I tend to get a lot of books.

When I started thinking about my gift-receiving phobia, I immediately lasered in on my birthday party when I was in fourth grade.

My friends and I had bowled and eaten hot dogs, small bags of chips and cake, and now it was time to open my birthday presents.

Tricia Screpsi handed over a brightly wrapped box and made sure to let me know that her mother had picked it out and that I would absolutely hate it.

Everyone else silently nodded their heads in agreement, as the contents of the mystery package had been readily discussed in my absence.

With my friends gathered around, I ripped off the wrapping paper and slowly opened the box, bracing myself for something horrible.  A dissectible calf eye perhaps.  Or, a tiny Smurf village filled with Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

What I saw was so much worse.

It was a macramé purse.  Tricia Screpsi’s mother had bought me a macramé purse for my birthday.

Oh, the horror!

I’m not sure who was more embarrassed.  Me or Tricia Screpsi.

Mind you now, these were the 70s and macramé was huge.

But at the tender age of 10 I knew that a purse was not an accessory that I would ever want to carry.  In fact, the thought that someone, anyone, even Tricia Screpsi’s mother, who obviously knew nothing about me, would think that a purse, macramé or not, was a suitable gift for this 10-year-old girl was just plain humiliating.

I think I turned 50 shades of red that day.  Apparently, the memory has stuck with me.  As it is 2012.

So, my gift-receiving hang-up?  Tricia Screpsi’s mom got me much more than a macramé purse on that fated March day in 1976.

Thanks.  A lot.  Mrs. Screpsi.

Of course, there could be some other causes.  Like not feeling worthy of receiving a gift.  But it’s much easier to take it out on Tricia Screpsi’s mother.

See, I’m mean and spiteful like that.  So, not really deserving of that nice set of fruit jellies in the collectible jars after all.

Now, before you feel too bad for me, I did get a Charlie’s Angels board game from another friend that same birthday.  And that gift that totally rocked.

This is what a prepubescent butch lesbian wants for a birthday gift

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8 responses to “Giving and receiving

  1. Another enjoyable post from the Flannel Files. You are such a good storyteller. I’ll bet that Charlie’s Angels game was a blast!

  2. Happy Anniversary!!!
    Your posts are so enjoyable to read. Looking forward to more from the Flannel Files 🙂

  3. The fear of not receiving gifts properly is a real thing. I always steal myself for enthusiasm when I see a box wrapped in paper! So hard to come off genuinely grateful even when it is a wonderful gift because of the heavy weight of expectations. Plus it can be hard to be the center of attention, which always seems to happen with gift giving.

    Thanks for the follow, btw 🙂

    • I mean, the fact that you liked my post! Not followed! Arrgh, next to the anxiety of gift getting is the anxiety of immediately realizing you’ve been inaccurate in your uneditable post. mea culpa.

    • Yes, the whole gift receiving thing is an odd. And I most certainly don’t like being the center of attention. Which is why I would much rather give than receive.

  4. Pingback: Middle-age butch has a birthday | The Flannel Files

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