Hubby has always had a problem with flowers as a gift. It’s not that he can’t see how beautiful they are. It’s just that he finds them so — temporary. And his solid German Lutheran, farm family background means he was raised to like solid, usable kinds of gifts (thermal underwear or savings bonds come to mind). I learned this before we were even married, in a very memorable way.
After high school, I went to work at a large insurance company as a secretary. Hubby-in-waiting and I became engaged that summer (I was 18, he was 20). At the insurance company I worked with someone else who was engaged — the beautiful “older” (20) secretary and part-time dance instructor, who glided instead of walked — Loretta. She was not only tall, graceful and beautiful, she also had a soft well-modulated voice and was one of the nicest people I had ever met (don’t you just hate her type?). The beautiful Loretta was engaged to the besotted Dick, who always looked at her with adoring eyes that clearly said how lucky he knew he was that she was going to marry HIM.
One Friday morning beautiful, long-stemmed red roses arrived at the office for Loretta with a card that just said, “Happy Friday, Love, Dick” That was just about the most romantic thing that my 18 year old self had ever seen! So, that evening when Hubby-in-waiting and I went out, I told him that romantic story. He didn’t say much but I found out later he WAS listening.
The next Friday evening when we went out, I found out what Hubby-in-waiting felt he had learned from the story about Loretta and Dick — fiancee’s liked surprise gifts! So, when we got in his car to go to a movie. he pulled out a little box with a bow on it, and, of course, professed his love. How exciting! It was a long box, so maybe a bracelet! But, I couldn’t really picture him picking something like that out — so I opened the box to find what he HAD lovingly picked out — a beautiful — (drum roll) — pen and pencil set.
Hmm. I’d like to say that I ohhhed and ahhhed over said pen and pencil set, but I remember my 18 year old self well enough to be pretty sure Hubby-to-be would have easily read my underwhelmed-ness.
Over the years I have told this story many, many times — always with lots of laughs at the punch line. And Hubby has always just smiled and taken the ribbing good naturedly that he always gets about it. But, I have come to treasure this as a story that says so much about who Hubby is. He loves me but he tempers that love with practicality — something that I have always been short on myself. He is a rock not a fluffy cloud.
Hubby is not perfect. But, he is the absolutely perfect husband for me. God knew that when He gave Hubby to imperfect me. I am so blessed with my thermal underwear, savings bond, pen & pencil set guy.
God’s blessings are sometimes in pen and pencil sets when we’d rather have roses. May we all be able to see the love in the gift more than the gift in the box.