Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day Gifts

I gave my wife a card for Valentines Day this morning. I made the card on the computer last night. We were at a local variety store on Saturday evening when I confessed to her that I had no Valentines gift for her. This wasn't for lack of trying.

I told my wife years ago that I refused to give her flowers for Valentines Day. My reasoning was that each time I had done so (even at significant cost) the flowers died quickly. When you think about the production and distribution chain that goes on in the fresh flower industry to supply the Valentines demand, you will realize that stock must be produced earlier, stored longer, and shipped over longer distances than average. The result is flowers that wilt sooner than on average. (The same phenomenon happens at Mother's Day.)

On a side note, I worked doing deliveries for a local flower shop when I was a teenager. I only worked the big flower giving holiday seasons: Valentines Day, Mothers Day, and Christmas. It was a tremendously fun job. Recipients were always very happy and treated me wonderfully.

I used to think it was a great treat to get my wife fine chocolates for occasions such as Valentines Day. My wife loves chocolate. But she limits herself to a tiny amount each day in the interest of health. Having a whole box of really good chocolates around, she advised me, encouraged her to overindulge, which made the chocolate experience less enjoyable. Besides, her practical side frets about the high cost of such delectables.

I learned long ago that Valentines Day is not the proper occasion for giving completely practical gifts. Thus, things like kitchen appliances and utensils are lousy Valentines gifts.

My wife really appreciates it when I buy her clothes. I think that part of the reason for that is that she knows that doing so is a huge sacrifice for me. I hate shopping for clothes. I don't like to shop for my own clothes, let alone shopping for clothes for others. My wife has often showed me the colors and styles of clothes she likes. But I note that even she agonizes over purchases. Imagine how difficult it must be for me.

In an effort to do something nice for my wife for Valentines Day, I made four different forays over recent weeks into womens clothing sections at stores. Three of those times I had a male child in tow that was embarrassed beyond expression to be in such a place. Each time I eventually despaired of finding something that would be acceptable.

So as we were doing some mundane shopping on Saturday evening, I confessed my dilemma to my wife. She walked me over to the spot where seasonal womens clothing items were on display, noted that she had always wanted some Valentines themed socks, and picked out a package with several pairs of such. It felt very unromantic.

A few weeks ago, I finally responded to a spiritual prompting that had been nagging me for some time. One day while my wife was out of the home I sat down and printed up a number of small hearts. On each one I noted some quality that I loved about her. I hid these messages in various spots where I was fairly certain that she would find them. She found most within two days. There were a few that popped up later. I notice that she uses one of those hearts as a bookmark.

This morning when I got up I saw a small heart shaped box of chocolates on my bathroom counter. I rarely indulge in such treats. So, although I was appreciative, I didn't bother the open the box. After I worked out, my wife asked if I had opened my box yet. I immediately surmised that the box must contain something other than chocolates, so I opened it to find a stack of small paper hearts. On each one was written a memory about our first date.

These were very good memories. We were lined up on a blind date by one of my former Boy Scouts, who wanted somebody to double date with him on a cookout up in the mountains. I was completely smitten that very first night. It didn't take long to discover that my then-to-be wife also felt strongly that we needed to be together. We hit it off very well together.

My wife explained that she wanted to give me a Valentines gift that was as good as the early Valentines gift I had given her a few weeks ago. Although I felt like I had blown this gift occasion, it seems that a gift given several weeks ago has somewhat compensated for my shortcoming this time around. I once again praise God for my wonderful wife.

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