Each Christmas, Mike and I decide what we want and we get it. In fact, we often buy our gifts ourselves and then the other person wraps it. It’s a good system because we get one thing we really want, but we surprise each other with another small gift, too. Last year, my surprise gift was a silver necklace with “D” and “R” initial charms. It was lovely.
This year, my surprise gift was a pair of electric toothbrushes. Yes, toothbrushes. We already have one, but it’s just one so we share the base and have to take our brushes on and off every time we brush. When we first bought it, we said we’d get another one if we liked it, but we just never did. With the new dual set, we each get our own base.
“Wow,” I said as I finished unwrapping it. “A toothbrush. For Christmas.” Mike saw the underwhelmed expression on my face and quickly said, “Now we have two.” Uh, okay. “And someday we’ll have two bathroom sinks to match.” And then he looked me right in the eye and said, “I’m in this for the long haul, JT.” (JT is Mike’s nickname for me…a story for another day.) I mostly write about my kids for the blog, but it’s worth telling you that my husband is the kind of guy who can make a toothbrush mean something.
In graduate school, where Mike and I first met, we had an on-and-off relationship. The day after our first big break-up, he gave me a pair of Ugg slippers. This was a strange offering for two reasons: (1) I had never received a break-up gift before and (2) I had never seen a pair of Uggs before. (This was the late 90s, long before Paris Hilton wore them.) I knew we’d get back together because of those slippers, and I still wear them today. That Christmas, he bought me an ice cream maker and all of the ingredients we needed to make homemade vanilla ice cream that night. It was because of that appliance that I knew we’d spend the rest of our lives together.
And now, more than a decade later, Mike has just given me a pair of electric toothbrushes for Christmas as a symbol of our partnership and future together, one that will hopefully someday include double master bathroom sinks. I have two friends going through divorces right now, so, despite my initial reaction, this is a truly beautiful gift. My non-surprise gift this year, the one that I picked out myself, was a pair of Ugg boots. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.
Did you know you’re supposed to brush your teeth for two minutes? The electric toothbrush actually alerts you when two minutes has passed. With or without the kids circling me like sharks, brushing for that amount of time is a lesson in patience and endurance. Just like marriage.
Life – and marriage – are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get…for Christmas.