Slack Slack Slack They Call Him the Slacker
My husband is a total slacker. Not that he doesn’t work hard and carry more than his load around here. He supported me most of our lives and that makes me very grateful, because I really liked being home taking care of everyone and everything while he worked and commuted and watched Nascar on the weekends. Plus I got to do some good volunteer work in the arts and be a major contributor in the care giving of my parents when they were in need. And for that I am exceedingly grateful. Not to mention that I was able to develop my painting skills enough to get decent at it and I built kick-ass gardens that made our little love nest a very special place.
But he is a major gifting slacker. He doesn’t give cards, flowers, candy, or gifts. Not for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, or Hallmark holidays, like today. On special occasions he graces me with his loving presence and looks bewildered and hurt if I get snarkey about the lack of accouterments accompanying that presence.
I’ve know him for forty two years now. When we were dating, he wasn’t that bad about it. But I realized, after we got married and moved away from the influence of his mother and sister, who probably bought most of the gifts that he gave me or at least dragged him around the mall ordering him around, that he was a terrible, terrible gifter. The few times he did buy me things, he was wildly unpredictable. He once bought me a size thirteen suit and size ten pants and a size small sweater, all in the same swoop. His taste wasn’t too bad, but I had to return most of what he gave me and pick out new things that fit. After that happened a couple of times, he became demoralized and stopped buying gifts. It wasn’t many years later that he stopped buying anything–even cards.
For a while I tried to coerce him into buying me gifts because it felt weird not getting anything when everyone else was gifting one another. And I still bought him gifts. But coercing someone into doing something nice for you is like taking a dog that doesn’t like you for a walk. It’s hollow. There’s nothing there. And while you might get him to do it, grudgingly, no one is really enjoying it. So I got over it.
I rarely give it much thought anymore. Except for a couple of years ago when I got a prednisone shot in my shoulder for tendonitis and I turned into a crazed, whiny hormonal hag and was beside myself looking at all my friends Facebook posts of flowers and beautiful cards they got for Valentines Day, and I started thinking about times I walked into my best friends house to see a beautiful bouquet of flowers on the table, that her husband got her for “no reason”, and suddenly I was so depressed and right on the verge of divorcing this very wonderful, loyal, loving, funny and smart man I adore because he…what? Did something he had been doing for the last three decades..he ignored Valentines Day. How could he? But I didn’t divorce him or even say much except one day a week or so later when we were walking the dog and my hormones were normalizing, I mentioned very quietly that sometimes it hurt my feelings when every woman I knew was getting love gifts from their partners for holidays and even for no reason, and I was getting nothing.
That helped a little. A few weeks later when I returned from a trip to visit family in Florida, there was a pretty plant and a get well card on the table with love from Daddy and Cosmo. And while the card was an odd choice for a welcome home sentiment, I knew he bought it because there was a cute dog on the front and maybe didn’t even read it, but I got a warm fuzzy feeling and a good chuckle out of it anyways.
Hasn’t happened since.
But I’m okay with it. Because he is a really good guy. He does so many other things for me that DO matter. He fills the bird feeders when they are empty. He walks the dog with me twice a day. He holds my hand inside his pocket, wrapped inside his warm hand, when we walk. He tells me I’m beautiful sometimes, and he’s not even lying. He just thinks I am beautiful because he loves me that much. He never, ever, makes me feel bad about my thighs, or my stomach or even my derriere…which is nice of him because I definitely inherited the short, round genes of the women on my mother’s side of the family. My sister got the skinny lady genes from my dad’s side, the bitch. But he never makes fun of my body or acts disappointed in the way I look, even though I know I’ve changed, a lot, from the pretty little thing he married. And I make fun of my body all the time. But he doesn’t. And I love him for it.
And aren’t those the things that really matter. Not gifts for Christmas, flowers for anniversaries, cards for birthdays, but love and support and companionship and humor and a thousand other little things, everyday, that I can’t even begin to enumerate because it would take way too long, and I want to post this today, because it’s Valentines Day, and because I don’t give a shit that I got “nothing”. I got so much. I got his loving presence. I got to eat breakfast with him and I even made him a pancake that kind of looked like a dog, but I guess not really because I put it on his plate and he immediately piled another one on top until I pointed out that it was a special pancake and he looked at it and really didn’t see it, but I told him it was a dog pancake for him because it was Valentines Day, and he laughed and said “It’s Valentines Day??” , so true to form. And I got to walk with him with our hands in his pocket this morning too. And you know, it really was a perfect Valentines Day. For us at least.
So I hope you are enjoying your Valentines Day, in whatever way makes you happy. I hope your loved ones are with you, and that you feel loved and appreciated, and if that means you have to have flowers or chocolate or fancy cards on the table, I hope that is exactly what you’ve got.
Now excuse me. I need to get to Safeway for some chocolate. Before it’s all gone.