But there was a time when I thought I could predict the future. At least where the holidays were concerned. I was clearly in denial.
Our first Christmas together as a married couple, I got John a cordless power drill. I was completely stoked and couldn't wait to give it to him. You see, we are perfectly matched and because I LOVE power tools, my husband would undoubtedly love power tools too. I knew this was the perfect Husband-y Man-type Thing for my beloved life partner.
I could see it all in my mind: he would open this fantastically shiny and useful tool and immediately declare that not only was this the best gift he had ever received, but that I was an even better spouse than he suspected I would be when he signed up for this whole crazy marriage thing. I would smile sweetly, knowing full well the extent of my awesome as he bragged about this sweet drill that didn't even require an extension cord to use and me, his wonderful wife.
"Did you see what Erika got me for Christmas?! Isn't it great?! I'll be able to get shit DONE now! How did she know?! Man, she is the BEST. WIFE. EVAR!!"
That's not quite what happened. Because I'm not psychic.
He opened it, looked at me and said, "Is this my real gift?"
Damn those delusions of grandeur!
Of course he didn't do any better. One year I asked for a pink sweater.
Anyone who was psychic would have known that what I meant was that I would like one of those super-soft baby pink angora-type cardigans with the faux pearl buttons that were on all the mannequins at Braun's. (Good God, whatever happened to Braun's?)
What I got on Christmas Day was NOT that. At all. Like, AT ALL. It was indeed pink, as I requested, and made of yarn. However. It was Pepto Bismol pink with stripes of silver tinsel throughout. And holy shoulder pads, Batman! I could have played defense for the Steelers in that thing!
I suspected that somewhere a clown was naked and cold.
Now, I am not a completely ungracious receiver. Please stop picturing Nellie Oleson. I pretended to love the pastel holiday nightmare and actually wore it a few times. But it was hard to mask my disappointment that it was not what I thought I had so clearly asked for when I said "pink sweater".
I still futilely clung to the idea that one of us would be blessed with the gift of second sight, or at least a knack for insightful guessing. I remember telling him that I didn't care what he got me as long as it was from his heart. I said that he could get me a yo-yo and if it meant something it would always be special to me. Mistake.
That year I got a Duncan Imperial.
The lesson here, my friends, is that you must be specific. Non-psychic spouses do not thrive on uncertainty. You can't leave anything to guesswork. Pictures help greatly. Cut out photos and tape them to the toilet seat, and make sure you mark the exact color, size and number that you would like.
Yes, it takes the surprise out of your holiday, but sometimes that's a good thing. If you vaguely hint about something specific, and you and your gift-giving honey pie are as psychic as my husband and I are, you're probably gonna end up with a clown sweater.