I never know what to get J for Christmas. He’s a hard man to shop for. It gives me anxiety. Because he deserves to be lavishly celebrated, but…I don’t know how to do that properly, I guess.
Gift giving for J is kind of intimidating, because, in my life, J’s the best person who’s ever been born. I know…people who actually read the stuff I post know we have a son, and I’m supposed to say that our son is the best person to ever be born. I get it. Of COURSE I love our son to absolute pieces. I love him on a cellular level. I love every neuron in his brain and every blood cell pumping through his veins. I’d gladly and without hesitation lay down all my cells for any of his. But I loved J like that FIRST, and without that consuming love for J, there would be no Boy. The Boy is the best *gift* J ever gave me. And he was even born immediately before Christmas. We brought him home from the hospital on Christmas Eve.
Again…I know. I’m a modern feminist. I don’t think women should be pigeon-holed by or glorified for motherhood, and not everyone wants to be a parent, but I DID and DO. I know women aren’t defined by the number of children they have (or don’t have), and a huge number of women parent solo, some by choice, not circumstance. But being a mom is important to me, personally, and I know it’s something that wouldn’t have happened for me without J. I never trusted anyone else enough to have sex with them, much less embark on a decades long partnership involving another human life, and I know it’s not something I’d have ever considered choosing to do by myself.
J has given and continues to give me…jeez…everything.
When I was a little girl, I wanted a dog so badly I dragged a plush dog around for years, pretending it was real. I even wrote a little ‘theme’ at school in the second grade about My Dog (my stuffie) that was so convincing my teacher mentioned it to my mom on parent/teacher night. ‘Boy, she really loves her dog.’ My mom revealed it was just a stuffed animal, and my teacher was stunned. I begged my parents incessantly, always hearing ‘no.’
When J and I got married and moved to our current home, I mentioned that I’d always wanted a dog. (One of the reasons for ‘no’ when I was a kid was that we lived in an apartment. I asked again when we lived in a house with a fenced in yard…my parents still said no).
J: You want a dog? I’ll get you one.
He was on PetFinder within the next five minutes. We had our rescue pupper dog 6 weeks after we bought the house.
J’s given me unconditional acceptance of my quirks and kinks and flaws, and has helped me better myself. I’m physically in better shape, I’m less afraid in general and my panic attacks are fewer and farther between. I’m happier, more confident, more comfortable socially, and I feel more attractive. He’s given me financial independence…a product of his hard work, ingenuity, and sacrifice, not inherited wealth or blind luck. He gave me the child I always wanted, the home I always wanted, the dog I always wanted, the relationship loyalty and security I always wanted, the family I always wanted, plus about a million other smaller things. And he doesn’t even ask for any credit for it.
Anyway, I’ve seen this survey question floating around online: ‘Which fictional couple would you compare yourselves to?’ I’ve seen a lot of good answers. Hank and Peggy Hill (ha!), Gomez and Morticia Addams, Meredith Grey and Derek Shepard from Grey’s Anatomy, Harry and Sally from When Harry Met Sally, Archie and Edith Bunker from All in the Family…
I’d say J and I are more like George and Mary Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life. That’s a romantic movie, not just a holiday film. Trust me. It’s actually probably my favorite love story in film. And J is that kind of romantic hero.
He’s so kind and selfless and always does the right thing and helps other people, even when it involves a forfeit of what he wanted for himself. He’s that quiet, unsung hero in real life. He asks me what I want and works hard to make it happen, whether that’s his own giving nature and determination, or encouraging me and helping to hold me accountable to achieve my own goals. I don’t normally ask for or want to do anything too crazy, but J will still help me get whatever it is with little, if any, regard for how wildly irrational it might be.
And me? Well…you know that scene where Clarence is showing George how things are because he’d never been born, and George asks for Mary, and Clarence says, ‘You’re not gonna like it George…’ and they find her and she’s a fearful, solitary, pathologically reclusive librarian whose entire life is her work? Not that there’s anything wrong with fearful, solitary, pathologically reclusive librarians whose entire lives are their work if that’s what they want out of life, but that’s not the life I wanted for myself. I am **convinced** that would be me without J.
J gave me the **life** I always wanted.
So I get anxiety every year around Christmas, because I don’t know what to do for him. How to show enough appreciation and gratitude to him. I feel overwhelmed with those feelings every day, but especially on gift giving occasions. He’s given me all of this…he’s made literal dreams and fantasies come true for me. Getting him some car accessory or renewing his subscription to American Motorcyclist seems dreadfully inadequate. And the one way J is NOT like George Bailey is that he’s never in any kind of big trouble I could save him from, so…I can’t even plagiarize the movie. All I have is a bunch of sappy (but heartfelt and TRUE) words. And imperfect me.
I love J beyond all rhyme and reason. I’m so, so happy and grateful he was born, and that I get to be his wife. He’s my romantic hero. He’s my leading man.
Thank you, J, for my wonderful life.
It IS a wonderful life.
(Images are from Pinterest…still and gif clip from Frank Capra’s classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946)