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The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, Or, Free Marriage Counseling

So, mum was the word for me on Christmas really. That post I put up a few days ago was kind of a smokescreen while I thought about how it had really gone.  And how it’d really gone? Was crappy.  For me.

You see, apparently I was a very bad girl last year because Danta didn’t bring me anything for Christmas. 


That was the sound of y’all doing a full stop and trying to find your pitchforks and torches, right?


I already did that.  With words.  And tears.  And there might’ve been some snot. It was not my finest moment.  I was all bummed.  I’m not gonna lie.

But this Christmas that I should’ve canceled has turned into a pretty good thing for us.

We spent the weekend having some serious discussions about what kind of people we are and how that works for us as individuals and as a couple and how we can use what we know to the advantage of our marriage.

You see, I’m a hopeless romantic.  When Dan and I were dating and I knew that proposal was maybe coming sometime soon, he abandoned me on the 4th of July to go watch fireworks at a friend’s house.  (We dated long distance and saw each other on the weekends.  His friend’s house was on his way home for the weekend.  The 4th was on a Sunday. I had no job and had even less gas money to make a frivolous trip out for fireworks.) Anyway, I kept sitting in my townhouse imagining a phone call and he’d say something like “Look out the kitchen window!” and he’d be out there with sparklers, on one knee, proposing.

Yeah. I might’ve been insane.

Anyway, I live for the romance.

That’s totally not his style.  He’s much more of the shy, quiet type when it comes to things like that. And he’s really practical.  (Though the way he DID propose is totally him and WAS romantic and is a story for another day.)

Dan?  He likes to have his ego stroked.  He likes to be told he’s done something awesome. 

He takes up new hobbies.  Sometimes these hobbies are expensive.  Often they involve food.  But I’ve come to expect that everything he does is going to be great.  Because it is. In our nearly 7 years together, he’s had one “failed” meal–curry chicken.  It’s the only thing he’s made that I haven’t liked.  He researches things to death and pours his heart and brain into whatever he touches. And it always comes out fantastic.

But since I know that pretty much everything he does is likely going to be fantastic, I’m not really one to stroke his ego and tell him he’s done a bang-up job. 

If I’m being brutally honest? This whole parenting thing has been a test of our marriage.  Sometimes we fight. A lot. And sometimes I really hate it. And I think we’ve fought more since having Joshua than we did before he was here.  Is some of it the PPD/A?  Sure, probably.  But some of it is that we don’t communicate very well.

So when we were talking about how the budget was tight this year and there may not be money for gifts for each other, the hopeless romantic in me held out…well…hope that there would be something small under the tree for me.  And there wasn’t.  And I was really hurt by it.

I was hurt by it for days and any time I thought about it I wanted to cry.

He was being practical.  There was no money in the budget.  (And, yes, ladies, I expressed to him, through tears, that sometimes handmade or “thoughtful” gifts are just as good as something purchased in a store, and I truly believe that until that moment, he just didn’t get it.  I’m blaming his Y chromosome for that one.)

And work kept him so busy with end-of-the-year stuff that by the time he realized Christmas was a few days away it was kind of too late to order any of the things he knew I wanted without paying express shipping. (Did anyone besides us feel like Christmas came in a hurry this year?)

So there was no gift.

But this lack of a gift was a gift in a way, because it’s forced us to notice things about each other that we either never really knew or had forgotten in this whirlwind we call parenting.  And that’s been really good for us. All in all, I’m glad I didn’t cancel Christmas after all because we’ve learned a thing or two about each other and our marriage and how to make it one that lasts.

It doesn’t hurt that this showed up in the mail today, either.

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