Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My most precious gift

Over the summer, I saw a really pretty dress, in a store, at the mall. We were all there that day, buying the girls school shoes and sneakers. It was buy one get one half price at the shoe store, and I had a 20% off coupon, so to say we scored 6 pairs of shoes for three little girls would be an understatement. I felt like we robbed the place! I don't shop much, as we really only buy what we all need, but I really got a high from the money saved. Cha-ching!

After the "score", I wandered into the shop next to the shoe store, and started checking out the clearance rack. There, was a beautiful, flowing, girly girl, summer dress. It was long, and made of cotton. It was all different colors. It was magical. It was something that I never, in a bazillion years needed,or would have purchased for myself, but oh, it was pretty. I even pictured how I would wear my hair, and the sandals I had at home that would match perfectly with it.

David popped into the store, after paying for the shoes, and saw me eyeballing it. It was marked down to nearly nothing, compared to it's original price. David loved it, and said, "Get it. We just saved more than that on the shoes, so just treat yourself, and get it". I refused. Much too frivolous. And unnecessary. And it could pay for diapers, or gas. I just couldn't justify it. I saw David look disappointed, and I got it. He wanted me to do something for myself. But I really just couldn't let myself do it. My anxiety over the purchase would have eclipsed the happiness that a pretty summer dress might have delivered.

David loves records. When I first met him, I thought it was kind of cool that he had a record collection, and really enjoyed listening to the snapping, and crackling of the vinyl on the turntable. It just sounded better. Older. The music had patina to it. We fell in love listening to that turntable. Old Elton John records, and Crosby Stills, and Nash. Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz. David had a ton of jazz albums. Lots of long nights, playing hours of Scrabble, and drinking wine. Talking and telling the stories of our lives. It was everything. It was when I became we, and we became us.

The turntable moved here with us, and we listened to it so much, here in our new life. Three baby girls later, and so much between then and now. Friends, and laughter, holidays, and sad times too. Some new records purchased right here in our new town, adding to our history. We played that turntable until the belt broke, and it no longer spun. It has been silenced for a while now. We both really miss the crackling of records. Especially David. He has tried to repair it. Replaced the belt. Took it apart, all without any luck. It sits, on the shelf, and has become one of the items in the house that requires dusting now.

I really wanted to buy David a turntable for Christmas. I looked around, and new ones were out of the question. Not even close to being in the non-budget we maintain. I began checking out old, used ones, but really, I have no idea if what I am seeing is great, or garbage. And still, used ones were too pricey. I felt bad that I couldn't get him a turntable. We never exchange gifts, but I thought that know...maybe.

Last week, we were at the mall getting the girls some Christmas gifts. I went in one store, and David went into another. I thought he was looking for a bean bag that Olivia had on her list. I walked down the aisle toward the store, and as I did, I passed by the store where that beautiful dress was. I decided to go in and sneak a peek at it, to see if it was still there. As I rounded the rack, there was David, holding the dress. THE dress. I wanted to cry. I really did. David's face dropped. He looked so disappointed that I had ruined his surprise.

 I led him away from the dress, and out of the store. I took his hand, and I said, DO NOT go back there and buy that. We can't afford it. And I told him how much I loved my gift. He was going to buy me that dress, because he knew I loved it, and he loved me. And that alone was more than enough for me.

I love my new dress David. I know exactly how my hair looks in it. I even picked out the earrings I have on. We are dancing. In our living room to Van Morrison. That song we love..Linden Arden Stole the Highlights.  It is playing on the turntable that I so wish I could have gotten for you. Because I know how much you love it, and I love you, and I want you to be as happy as you want me to be. And we are. Without all that stuff.

So let's enjoy this dance. Because it's Christmas. And because intention, and love, and being together, are far better gifts than anything we can hold in our hands. Isn't that what all of this is about?

Merry Christmas.


  1. I'll bet you could score a turntable on Freecyle. If you're not a member go to and find the one nearest you. There's one for the Poconos. Here's to a new (to you) turntable for the holidays!

  2. swapping websites are a pretty good idea. Hard to know exactly what you will get, but you can try, or there is always Goodwill. They often have older turntables, since they are rarely sold new anymore...

  3. I heard you on The Story and over the past couple of weeks I have read your entire blog. I just want to tell you that your writing is captivating! You do an amazing job of describing the events in your family- from the dire and dramatic to the ordinary and mundane. I hope that 2012 brings you guys much less of the former and a lot more of the latter- this situation is certainly not your fault and your family deserves a break. Merry Christmas, and keep sharing your writing with the world.

  4. I also heard you on The Story and have been reading since then. While my husband is still employed, my lucrative part-time from home work is now kerpoof ... timed perfectly with the economic downturn and a surprise third pregnancy. I can relate to what you write. What constantly surprises me, and what you articulate so well, is how HAPPY we can be, how GRATEFUL we can be, despite financial hardship. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas full of time to really savor your family. How blessed we are to have homes full of children and love.