Gifts give me anxiety. I’m fairly certain this is NOT a normal experience for most people, but then again I’m definitely not ‘most’ people. They stress me out because rather than just being able to receive a gift, I’m thinking about how I can adequately reciprocate, and what the other person might think if I don’t ‘get it right’. I get this is some seriously flawed thinking, but we’ll deal with that another day, because today is Kevin and I’s 11 year wedding anniversary, so we have bigger issues to discuss like dealing with the anxiety that accompanies days of specified gift giving.
I think after 10 years of near panic attacks surrounding birthdays, valentines, and anniversary’s Kevin’s finally starting to understand this is a legitimate ailment and we’re figuring out where to go from here. His first clue, was that we’d have some semblance of the same conversation leading up to each one of those occasions. A few weeks prior to the day, when planning something good was still a very real possibility, I would casually ask what he wanted. He would pull some strange evasive maneuver and turn the question around on me, asking what I wanted. Somehow those conversations ended without either one of us having a concrete understanding of what the other one might want.
Then the week OF the special day would begin, and the tightening of my throat and heart palpitations would kick in as I realized the window for something ‘good’ had come and gone, and now I was left scrambling. I’d ask him again, with a bit more panic in my voice, “Come on…. seriously babe, what do you want, I need something?”. When I didn’t get something concrete, fear quickly bubbled up, and shame with it that I couldn’t identify the one perfect ‘thing’ that would express how very much I loved this man. Because these days are all about making sure you can find some ‘thing’ that says I love you, because apparently in our society sincere words just don’t work anymore, unless something bright and shiny comes with it. Then the night before, in a high pitched very anxious voice and a rush of words, some variation of this comes out, “Please tell me you didn’t get me anything. Don’t get me anything. I don’t want anything. Not even a card. Please tell me you didn’t get me a card. You know I love you…. You KNOW how VERY much I love you right? I love you. Really Love you. More than you could possibly imagine, but I didn’t get you any thing, because the only ‘things’ I could think you wanted are really expensive, and I think its silly to just get a small trinket because someone tells me that’s what I have to do on this day, even though no one actually said I had to, but I feel like I’m supposed to. Am I supposed to? Do you think I’m supposed to? I will if you want me to. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me? Do you still love me?”
See. Not Normal.
So here we are, the morning of our 11 year wedding anniversary. Eleven years in, and I have finally stumbled across the perfect fix to at least THIS day, and its Kevin approved! Forevermore this day is being referred to as our “Familiversary”. The way I see it, 11 years ago today was the first day our FAMILY started. Sure it started with just us two, and the two of us will find a time when we can celebrate that on our own. However, having an anxiety attack about doing it perfectly on one day, because that is the ONLY day we can celebrate our love, does not make sense. Instead, going forward, we’ll use this day to celebrate as a family. No presents to stress over, just a fun day with the family. Breakfast together, even on a work day, and tonight we’re playing mini-golf and going out for dinner (any day mom doesn’t have to cook is a celebration in my book). I figure this will become a fun family tradition, that hopefully we can continue even as the kids get older and maybe something they bring into their families when they start ones of their own.
Either way…. its one less day a year for a panic attack and that’s gift enough for me!
Happy Anniversary Babe, I love celebrating EVERY day with you, and consider myself the luckiest woman in the world to have gotten to build this beautiful family with you!