We recently celebrated our anniversary. Since we are still working our way past some financially lean times, I thought the small gifts we had exchanged had been appropriate and satisfactory. Apparently, my DH did not.
I am one of those people who doesn't really like surprises. I often do the shopping for the Christmas gifts intended for me and give them to my kids to give to me. That way I know I am getting exactly what I want and that they didn't spend too much. It isn't that I am a control freak, but rather it is related to my desire to plan everything. I am tormented by thoughts like: What if it is the wrong color? What if is too small? Will I have to wear it anyway even if I look like I was stuffed into a sausage casing? What if I don't like it? I think people's feelings might be hurt if I have to return an item to the store. I realize this character trait is confusing to gift givers. It is with great shame that I recall the situation in which a family friend purchased and returned several times a wedding gift for us because she overheard my anxiety about the bedroom I had not seen. My face still warms when I think of how ill mannered I must have been.
In an ideal world, the people who care about me should know me well enough to know what I would like, but I have learned that depending on people - especially my DH - to pick up on hints is impossible; I just have to flat out tell him what I would like to have. It is just one of those things I have learned after living with him for 27 years. If I don't give him a list of things I might like to have, he might get me something he would like to have. Sometimes he still doesn't get it and I have actually had a friend hand him an ad with the Kitchen Aid mizer I had asked for for several years. Because I worry that I might make the same mistake, I also ask him for specifics about gift choices for him. I know from experience that whatever I buy for him will likely be returned even if it is exactly what he asked for so I have found it to be much simpler to take him out and let him pick out what he wants. When he selects it himself, it is less likely to be returned. If he tells me he is looking for a tool, it is so much easier to let him pick it out - and much quicker, too since he can head straight for it at the store while I would be wandering in search of it.
I also am uncomfortable with big ticket purchases for me. I can always think of so many things that are needed that should take precedence over whatever I might want. But one of the things I like best about my DH is that he is generous. So I sometimes have to let him make a big purchase for me. Years ago, the prongs on my engagement ring had worn out and I had lost the diamond in it. My DH had replaced it once before, but we had not realized that the prongs were so worn that the new diamond also fell out. I was devastated to have lost not one but two diamonds and I had resigned myself to the fact that I just didn't deserve one since I couldn't care for it adequately. But five years ago, my DH surprised me with a brand new ring. I was embarrassed by the size of the diamond, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings so I showed it off to everyone as if he had fulfilled my greatest desire by buying me that ring. I am used to the ring now (after having worked out for months just to support the added weight on my left hand), but I think I would have felt a little better about it had I been involved in it's selection. See what I mean? I just can't feel good about such a wonderful gift, but my DH is such a generous kind of guy that I had to allow it.
Besides, if someone gives and expensive gift I feel like I should give as nice a gift in return. But sometimes finances don't allow it.
So what was it that my DH bought me that has me running mental circles now? A bike. Yep. A fancy hybrid (the kind that is somewhere between a racing bike and a mountain bike - not the kind that uses alternative fuel although that would have been preferable to the traditional power produced by my weary legs) with all the bells (literally) and whistles (figuratively) that I am not used to: 21 speeds, aluminum frame, hand brakes, cushy seat, and a huge wicker basket on the front.
A few months ago he had purchased an identical one (man's version) for himself and I was pretty ticked off that he spent that much money on himself without discussing it first. Then I found myself just a tiny bit jealous that he could take off on it by himself because there was no way my little old one speed could keep up. On the other hand, I didn't know if I could keep up anyway since he is in much better physical condition than I. He offered to buy me one, but I just wouldn't spend the money on something I feared I might not use much. But I did start to do a little research to determine if I should eventually get one, imagining what color, what style, what size I would need.
When DH surprised me with the bike, I experience the gamut of emotions. Guilt that he spent so much money on me when the family has other needs. Anger that he was telling me I am fat and out of shape (which I am). Wonder that maybe he wants to have me for company on his long rides. Disappointment that I did not get to pick it out (and since I suspect it was special ordered I dare not complain). Fear that I would not be able to keep up. Worry that allergies and weather would keep me from riding. Terror that my DH would pick up on one of these emotions and presume that I am ungrateful.
Dang! I'm outright neurotic!
I'll just have to hop on the bike and take it for a spin.