Friday, February 25, 2005
by Frankie Potts
Special days are often marked by gift-giving. Days like birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and Feb. 14 (which is Valentine's Day for you guys who don't remember dates).
We all know guys who don't remember dates and never give gifts no matter how special the day. They're usually married to the romantic gals who send cards or give presents at the least excuse.
And that can present problems.
Of course, there is the saying that it's better to give than to receive. But try telling that to the woman whose husband always spares her the trouble of unwrapping packages.
I know three women who have spouses like that, and each of these women has her own technique for dealing with their lapses.
One knows from past experience that her husband isn't going to spring for a present of any kind at any time, so she puts her expectations in her purse along with his credit card. Her husband has been surprised numerous times throughout the years with joyful hugs and kisses in thanks for his generosity.
Her solution is directly opposite to that of my other friend, whose husband also has never got the hang of gift-giving. In the first years of marriage she attempted to lead him into the peaceful valley of reciprocity with subtle hints, such as humming the Happy Birthday song incessantly the day before her birthday.
He may not be tone deaf, but the result was the same as if he were. All special events still pass without his notice.
Her conclusion is that these special days are not important to him, so she has quit observing them herself.
This stalemate makes for some very quiet and 'unspecial' days at their house.
My third friend relies on the media to get the message across to her husband for all the big days like Christmas, Easter and Valentine's Day, while making it clear to him how worthy she is to be remembered.
But she takes no chances that anyone will forget her birthday. She starts her personal countdown two weeks before her big day, urging all in sight to join in.
By the time her birthday arrives, she has an enthusiastic cheerleading section to help her celebrate. Her motto is if people don't know it's her birthday, it's her fault.
Of course, gift-giving is not about gifts at all. It's about being acknowledged by the people you love and who love you.
My own acknowledgement of my loved ones is unconventional and sporadic. For example, I might skip a July birthday, but send a gift to that birthday boy or girl in September for no occasion at all.
I think this is something I need to improve on to be sure I don't disappoint the people in my life whom I really do love.
But, as for me, I'll take a surprise any day of the year, rather than none at all.
. Frankie Potts is a retired journalist who spent her career working at various Washington state newspapers.