Happy Birthday!

I used to think I was great at giving gifts. Like, thebestgiftgiverevvvverrrr. But last week while listening to my favorite morning radio show Wake Up with Taylor on Cosmo Radio (ya'll, it's amazing, pinky swear) I quickly doubted myself. See, that particular day was  Taylor's husband's Birthday.  Somewhere in between her rundown of what her plans were for Brett's big day there began a discussion of "what people really want" for their birthday, in particular, men.  Other than the completely obvious "gift" (go ahead...I'll let you think on that one....okay...got it?), the consensus was interesting.  Most gift givers tend to pass along what THEY would want.  I.E. Taylor's orchestrated evening of dinner at her favorite restaurant and a girlie play to see her Best Friend perform (may I say this is exactly why I LOVE this show host?  She is incredibly honest about topics and personal issues that many people skirt away from, especially marriage, and I appreciate that about her).  When I heard her say that, I practically shriveled in embarrassment.  Guilty! I mean, I figure I've got awesome taste, so "if IIIIII would totally wear this, I know SHE will love this glittery, sparkly, covered-in-rhinestones-and-sequin platform heel!".  Ha!  No wonder I always wind up wanting to keep the Christmas gifts I buy!  But truly, my fault comes in getting carried away and over thinking it.  Wanting everything to be absolutely perfect that I don't really consider the gift giver's real desire.  Like Marshall's gifts for example.  Every. single. year. for every. single. holiday. he tells me that he doesn't want anything.  Doesn't need anything.  But does anyone ever really need a gift?  THAT'S THE POINT!  So, I always take the woman's approach and buy him what I think he would like. Because SURELY he doesn't mean he wants NOTHING!  This year, however, finding a gift for him was super tough.  Considering he's all tapped out on Oakley sunglasses, I had to think differently.

But really, I just had to listen.

Then I realized:  "Ashley, the man told you he didn't want anything.  YOU always spout out how a gift should be a want, not a need!  Maybe you should actually listen to him and not get him anything..." Well, inner self, that sure as heck isn't going to happen, so what to do next?  The only gift I had in mind had been a Go-Pro camera (one that he could put on his motorcycle helmet and ride around the island) but after consideration seemed more like a "Photographer's" gift rather than something "My Husband" would care for, so I had to reconvene.

Marshall is a man of many Love Languages, but gifts of service are most important to him, tangible gifts matter the least.  So, I tried to make his birthday about showing how much I appreciated him rather than buying it.  An exercise for me as well in LISTENING.  The night before I covered the door in streamers because hey, who doesn't want to wake up in a festive atmosphere? Throughout the day  tried to do little things all day to show him how much I cared.  Like making him his favorite breakfast and surprising him with a Papa John's pizza for lunch (A man's equivalent of a flower delivery!).  Since I couldn't go absolutely empty-handed, I put together a "Man Box", (reminiscent of our early dating years when we would show up at each other's house with goodie bags) filled with some of his favorite treats.  Here's where I got carried away. Sausage and cheese in a box just sounded so....manly!  But whatever!  There were Cold Stone jelly beans and Cheese-its to make up for it!  Okay, fine, so the box may have *literally* been cheesy, but I wanted to show him I paid attention.  Knew the little things that he liked.  That I cared.  We ended the evening cuddled on our new sectional with ice cream and cake and Bud Light Lime, which would have been included in the box if the fridge wasn't already full of it.  From now on, I am going to stop trying to "read between the lines" and simply tune in.

Happy day after your birthday, Marshall!  Thank you for being you, letting me be me, and for keeping us young at heart.  I appreciate you!  I hope you appreciate those Chex Mix! If not, I wouldn't mind helping you out with that...


I don't think I will be winning any "Gift Giver Awards any time soon.  IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS!  Thanks, Pinterest.  You let me down this time.