Over the weekend I got Zack another Christmas present. I felt off-balance because he got me two presents and I only got him one. And I didn’t really even get him that one present as much as I just kind of shoved some money in his general direction and was all, GO, GET WHATEVER WEIRDO THING IT IS THAT YOU WANT. I am almost always stuck in the doldrums of gift selection when it comes to Zack. Everything he wants is either a.) so specialized that no other human on the planet could possibly select it for him, or b.) something he has already purchased for himself. Every year I dish out any and all gift ideas I have for him to our family members, who call me every year asking for any direction I am willing to give them. Every year I say, do you want to buy him a gun? And they say, no. And I say, well, that just killed about 88% of your options. I then encourage them to consider some sort of media, perhaps a DVD. Or beer. Zack does love beer.
I have been planning on getting Zack a robe since about July. I noticed this summer that every time we got out of the shower, Zack was always Johnny-on-the-spot with my robe. In fact, he was always shoving my robe at me (very sweetly, because he is a thoughtful husband who is concerned with my happiness) far before I was ready for it. I, like most people, have a getting-out-of-the-shower routine, and that routine includes the robe application as the very last step. Before the robe goes on, I have to dry my legs (right, then left), and then use the leg-drying towel to wrap around my hair like a turban. Then! Then, I can put on the robe. So. Like I was saying. I’d be halfway through the first leg, when I’d notice that Zack was standing in the middle of the bathroom, dripping wet, holding up the robe for me. Not just handing it to me; he would be holding it open, so he could wrap me up in it, like I was his queen and it was his sole purpose in life to save me from any unnecessary effort. Like, for instance, having to put on my own damn robe.
As nursing school has progressed, Zack and I have showered together more and more often. [This isn't a sexy shower together type of a thing; it's just a shower. Any time Zack hears the water turn on, he comes running and hops in. He told me that he's found it to be a good 10 or 15 minute window of time that he can spend with me where I'm not distracted with anything related to nursing school. (Isn't that really sweet and totally sad at the same time?)] And as we showered together more and more often, I finally got to the point where I had to tell Zack that, although very thoughtful, the way he was FORCE FEEDING me my own bathrobe was really jacking with my normal post-shower sequencing, and that he could just ditch the robe on the counter and I’d handle that situation on my own.
It didn’t stick. He kept holding the robe for me.
Finally, one day it dawned on me. Zack loves the robe. I asked him about his love for the robe the next time he was standing in a puddle in the bathroom waiting for me to finish wrapping my hair into the turban. I said, “Zack, do you want your own robe?”
“YES,” he said. He surely did want his own robe. “It’s so cool,” he said, “just like a blanket that you wear! If I had one I would wear it ALWAYS and never take it off except when I had to go to work.”
I believe that was about August when he said that. I filed it away in my mental list of Christmas Presents for Zack. Over Thanksgiving, he reminded me again, asking “You know what you couuuuulllld tell your mom I want for Christmas? A ROBE.” I was like, yeah, babe. I’m on it. Totally already talked to her about it. Then he clicked his heels together and we went on our merry ways.
SO. Back to this weekend. I got him a robe. A fuzzy, grey, one-size-fits-all, way-too-big-for-him robe. I also happened to grab him a copy of Inception, because that movie totally ruled. I got home, put the robe and the DVD into a box, taped the box shut, and wrote “Zack” on it. I then proceeded to box up about 5 other gifts (but I hadn’t wrapped them yet), each of them with the name of the recipient clearly labeled on the outside. I placed all the boxes together on the dining room table, in a massive pile with all the other wrapped and labeled Christmas gifts.
Zack did not pick up on any of these context clues.
Zack just came home from work and saw a box on the table with his name on it. He popped out his knife, sliced it open, saw the robe, and was happy. This morning I found the box had been opened, and I was sad. I wrote him a note (he was still asleep when I left for my final this morning) that said something to the effect of “ZACK, WHY DO YOU WANT TO RUIN ALL THE FUN THINGS IN LIFE INCLUDING GIFT GIVING AND SURPRISES? DOUBLE SAD FACE SADLY, SARAH.”
He woke up today and, like a kid on Christmas morning, ripped through the house to go find his robe and put it on. He was happily snuggling with his robe (and with the DVD, but who could blame him for that?) in the Kitchen when he found my note, which oh-so-gently explained to him that he had ruined Christmas, bah freaking humbug.
I got over my sadness of not giving Zack a surprise Christmas gift on Christmas morning as soon as I saw him in the robe. I fake-pouted for a while about the fact that he’d opened the package, and he solved my fake-heartache by opening his robe, giving me a hug, then wrapping the robe around me and tying us into the brand-new fleece together. As we waddled around the kitchen together, me standing on his toes, both laughing while he tried to balance for the both of us, I decided that maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that he opened the package early.