I am one of those wives everyone warns husbands about. When Mike asked me what I wanted for Christmas a few weeks back, I told him I didn’t really need anything.
“I don’t want to get you something you need, I want to get you something you want,” he explained. Wise man, that Mike.
Still, I couldn’t think of a blessed thing I wanted that could fit under our tree on December 25. I am fortunate enough to own my own piano. Mike gave me an old computer that works perfectly, and I bought a new phone just before getting laid off. I have a closet full of clothes for three different women – skinny Natalie, medium Natalie, and grande Natalie. I should donate two of these wardrobes, but I’m not ready to let go of the hope that I will one day fit back into my favorite pair of jeans. Besides, buying a whole new wardrobe every two years – about how often I change sizes – is getting old.
I have everything I want, in terms of “stuff.”
“There has to be something you want!” he pointed out.
“Well, yeah,” I relented, “but it’s all too expensive. I know it’s not realistic.”
He prodded, “Such as?”
“Well … I’d like lasiks. I hate wearing glasses. And I kind of need a new car. You know, my car is getting old and leaking oil. But I know that’s way too much,” I backpedaled, “and I don’t need those things. It would just be nice.”
He just looked at me, and I thought for another minute. “Actually, I mostly just want to go to Italy.” For the sake of truth-telling, I should have amended that to say “I’d like to sell everything we own and live in Italy or France for a year and travel the world,” but that’s more within the realm of “life goal,” not “Christmas present.”
He shook his head. “Yeah. All that stuff is too expensive. I mean, I want to do that for you, but …”
Bless his heart.
“No, no, no!” I interrupted him. “I don’t expect that, not at all. But see what I mean? I don’t want anything for Christmas. I don’t want stuff. I just want to save for things I really want. Can we save for those things? Not do gifts?”
I’m sure at this point Mike feared he was being trapped in some sort of high-stakes Christmas game where losing meant a disappointed wife, but I did my best to assure him of my sincerity.
Because no, I don’t want stuff. At this time in my life I’m more interested in experiences. I want adventures, not appliances.
Unless it’s an espresso machine so I can start making my own cappuccinos at home. But those are expensive, too, and given the choice, I’d rather be able to toss my glasses or spend two weeks in Florence.
“I can’t not get you anything for Christmas,” Mike insisted.
“Well, I’ve been wanting to go to the ballet…” I suggested.
I know. I am the worst.
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