A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Monday, 30 June 2014

Sometimes a poor present is still a gift

What is the best gift your significant other has ever given you? OK, now what about the worst gift? Well this story is about my worst, and what we both learned from it.

Like many Pandora fans, I have a marriage/relationship bracelet. We had red roses at our wedding, so my "Always and Forever" bracelet centres around hearts and roses, and the colours red (or coral). And I have the present charm on this bracelet to remind me of the first gift my husband gave me when we started dating - a bottle of Neutrogena shampoo!

I kid you not! I was shocked! I said, in disbelief, "You bought me SHAMPOO?!!" In attempting to defend himself (a mistake he now knows will only lead to more trouble), he said, "It was expensive! And I thought maybe you wouldn't buy it for yourself." He was very confused by my not-so-thrilled reaction. Apparently I had gone "on and on" about it, saying how well it could clean your hair if you use a lot of products in your hair, how nice my hair felt when it was clean, etc. etc. (that's me going on and on).

We have learned ALOT about each other since we met over 30 years ago. He NOW knows that I am a very extroverted person and I think out aloud - and I "go on and on" about lots and LOTS of things! But my husband is a very introverted person, and for him to talk about something with such enthusiasm it would have to be VERY important. I've learned that when he DOES talk, I ought to listen, because he's probably been thinking about it for days, and only now - finally - is he sharing his thoughts!

When we started living together, we would react to each other like, "Why would you DO something like that?" Or "What were you thinking?!" But shortly after this gift-giving (let's be honest) fiasco, we took a workshop about personality types using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and we read "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" - both of which were VERY enlightening (as I mentioned in a previous post). The difference between introverts and extroverts, and how they navigate in the world, was just one of the many things we learned. These tools allowed us to learn to love and understand - and accept - each other, the way we are. Twenty years later we are still working at this whole understanding-and-accepting-each-other thing, but that is part of the spiritual journey of marriage, and we are a work-in-progress.

Fast forward to Christmas 2012. My husband gives me a present with a little tag saying, "We need a new tradition for Christmas." When I unwrapped it - you guessed it - it was a bottle of Neutrogena shampoo. He's a pretty funny guy! But seriously, that shows me that he can laugh at himself, and he can laugh at us. That in itself is a good gift.

When I originally bought the present charm it was to remind me of the quote, "The past is history. The furture is a mystery. But today is a gift. That's why they call it the 'present.'"

This quote is usually attributed to Bill Keane, but more recently it was said by Master Oogway (the wise tortoise) in the Kung Fu Panda movie. When we are depressed, or feel guilt or shame, we are living in the past. When we feel fear or anxiety, we are living in the future. We will only find peace if we live in the present.

After Christmas 2012, and my new gift of shampoo, the present charm was moved to my "Always and Forever" bracelet. But I will still try to remember the tortoise and live in the "present."
Video clip from Kung Fu Panda with Master Oogway's advice:

And in case it isn't obvious, we have eliminated any need for interpretation or hints, and now my husband just buys me Pandora!

The little present charm makes me smile every time I look at it and remember my shampoo present. And it will remind me to tell - and show- my husband that, as Billy Joel sang it, "I love you just the way you are." Because that is the best gift.

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