Saturday, December 15, 2007

Labor of Love

We've been married 15 years, as of September 5, 2007. Our beginning was modest, as college seniors (at Auburn, of course), we had no money for gifts. I don't remember what I gave The Mighty Hunter. He took some old barn wood, scrubbed the filth off it, sealed with some sealer-stuff, cut it to size and made a "potato bin" for me. I still have it and use it to hold gardening stuff at the back door (gloves, bug spray, etc.) Its design was not ideal for potatoes, but that doesn't matter much.

Over the following years, we have been blessed to be able to increase our gift-giving funds each year. For a few years, however, I bought my own gifts. I got a great espresso machine and some other things that I no longer know where they are. I wrapped my own gifts and labeled them "To Auburn Gal - From The Mighty Highty Hunter".

It didn't bother me then. And it doesn't bother me now that I did it. He was working some really crazy hours and I was able to do it all for us then. No kids. No job of my own. Free schedule. Apartment 10 blocks from the Galleria. Those were the days.

But he wasn't satisfied with my not having any surprises on Christmas morning.

So, I took my favorite catalogs and marked the things in it, noting size and colors and handed it to him.

If YOU'VE picked it out, then it's not going to be a surprise.

You don't have to get me EVERYTHING in here - although, I wouldn't complain about it. And I won't know which things you've picked out for me. The gift is in your effort to call and place the order and get the stuff wrapped.

And he did. And the Auburn Gal saw it and was pleased. And there were several Merry Christmases to be had thereafter. He even picked out somethings in my catalogs that I had not marked, and I loved them too. (It is surprising me more and more what good taste he is developing.) (I take credit for it, of course.) (His mother, God rest her soul, had tacky taste. Can you say "knit ties and pale blue tweed suits?")

Last year, he truly surprised me with a beautiful cross necklace with diamonds on it. Totally unexpected. Not very practical right now with a baby that likes to pinch me on the neck constantly, but I love it.

This year, you may have already seen what he got me and already gave me.

Yesterday, he left work a little early to do what he does - hunt. He let me know that he would not be by right after leaving the woods so that he could go to his aunt's house (Beverly/Beboo) and "take care of something."

Wrap my presents?

Maybe... Well, yes. But I'm not telling you what you're getting.

So, he called to let me know he was safely out of the woods and that he was stopping at Kmart - did I need anything from there? The time was 6pm.

At 8:30, I decided that he had played "Medal of Honor" long enough while Bev wrapped my gifts and that his kids needed to see him before they went to bed.

One gift still needed a bow and he would be on his way. Oh, and he was starving, would I leave the chili out for him? Never mind, Bev had a frozen dinner for him.

At the front door, he appeared with 5 boxes, each with hand-tied bows. 2 are pretty large (18"h x 24"w x 12" d) and heavy. Three are small. Two appear to be a shirt box and probably has clothing in it. The smallest is probably a blue-tooth.

Yes, I shake my gifts. Shut up.

I have no idea what is in the big boxes or the shirt boxes. I guess the blue-tooth because I've whined about my hand-me-down one for a few months and have finally refused to charge it so that I can say that it doesn't work at all. It's 2 years old and was his until he replaced it with a T-mobile one.

The thing is, it really doesn't matter what is in any of the boxes. He went to Kmart (which is the dirtiest and worst-organized one in the world) to buy paper and ribbon. He sat on the floor for 2 1/2 hours, wrapping the boxes, only allowing Bev to hand him tape. He tied the bows himself, except the last one - to which he relented and let Bev finish, mainly due to extreme hunger.

His gift to me - as strange and sad as it may seem - is the paper on the boxes that I'll let Stinkerbell tear off. The bows, with their creases and sweet curls, if I can't save them from the garbage bag, will go in the box of bows to be used next year.

He is not experienced or naturally gifted at folding paper around boxes. It is just not in the genetics of a Mighty Hunter.

But it's in his heart.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

I hope your upcoming days are full of all that is good and right in this world. May your thoughts and prayers return, daily, to the Reason we celebrate. I hope your gifts are exactly what you requested or at least wrapped with the love of their hearts. And if you've never received the most important Gift of all, I pray that you open your heart to it now.

Wise men still seek Him.

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