Thursday, December 17, 2015

A month of gifts, day 17: The Gift of Love

If I look kind of cranky in that picture, it's because I've had a difficult day. Well, year. Well, actually, it's been a difficult decade. I'm working through it, but some days are better than others.

I'm regaining my will to live somewhat, because the Spousal Unit brought home doughnuts from Paula's Doughnuts tonight. If you're local, you know what that means. If not, you need to come visit and we'll eat doughnuts and hunt fossils and go to Niagara Falls . . . It'll be fun.

So I'm eating my key lime doughnut and thinking about love. Sometimes, in the midst of disaster or despair, it can be hard to remember how I got to this place, or why I made the trip. Physical pain, depression, those things can grind you down until life becomes a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other slog. It's been getting better, but today . . . Well, you know on the news when the neighbor says, "She always seemed like such a nice person, and then she just SNAPPED"? Today was the day I finally lost patience with the staff at my doctor's office after 15 years of dismissiveness and stonewalling. Not my finest hour.

So when the spouse called to say he was on his way home early, I was thrilled, even before he said he was bringing doughnuts. I told him I was having a bad day, and he said, "I can get dinner, too."

I love that man. He even listened to me vent my spleen and empathized and agreed that the staff at our doctor's office are unnecessarily obnoxious. That gift of understanding, of time, was just what I needed. That, and a key lime doughnut.

To me, one of the best things about the gift-giving part of the holidays is the chance to enjoy those moments when someone opens a present and tells you, “Oh, it’s perfect.” Or for that matter, opening something and seeing a surprise that resonates with you on a level that tells you the gift-giver understands you more deeply than you realized. It’s then that you see the gift is not so much in the package, but in the love that wraps it.

Like that cool coat I'm wearing in the picture at the top. I saw it in a store when we were on a road trip in Rochester and did a little oooing and ahing over it. Buying it was pretty much out of the question, though . . . and then I opened a box on Christmas morning and found the coat I thought I'd never get to wear. My sweet spouse drove all the way back to Rochester on the sly to surprise me with it. Every time I wear that coat, every time I think about opening that box, I can't help but smile. After all, it is an Awesome Pirate Coat--but it's also a reminder that I married a guy who'll go out of his way to remember the things I like. Putting it on is like armor against life's little wounds. 

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