I went out and picked up donuts Saturday morning. When I returned home, my youngest daughter told me she hated me.
Welcome to Valentine’s Day Week 2018, friends. It’s a complicated world, but it’s one we all agree is so much better when you have someone you love to share it.
Yet sometimes someone hates you for bringing home donuts. Sometimes, even when you want to do something nice, it backfires.
It turns out, my daughter had her mind set on making everyone breakfast Saturday. She was getting ready to make scrambled eggs for everyone.
Apparently, when Dad shows up with dessert disguised as breakfast, people aren’t that interested in scrambled eggs anymore. In her completely reactionary way, she lashed out at me for ruining her good deed.
A few years ago, I tried to surprise my wife by having a barbershop quarter sing to her at work. I took what I knew about husbanding — that sending flowers to her at work would get make her coworkers jealous and in a little way make her happy — and tried to ratchet it up with four men singing her old-time songs.
That backfired big time. It turns out, the quartet freaked her out more than it impressed her.
I’ve been on both sides of that. My wife recognizes my thriftiness — or, more accurately, cheapness — all the time by my reaction when opening gifts. And there have been a few times she saw me processing the cost of nice gifts instead of appreciating the thought behind them.
Indeed, it’s a complicated world we live in. Luckily for me, I found the right person to share it with, someone who understands my reluctance to accept over-the-top gifts, plus someone who knows what I want better than I do sometimes.
For my part, I try to do a million little things every day. For instance, I feel like I’ve failed as a husband if I ever hear she had to fill up her gas tank, as I know how much she hates standing in the cold to fill it up. Perhaps I’m better insulated, but the wind never bothered me much. I’m happy to pump her fuel for her and keep her from that misery.
Sure, the greeting cards and jewelry companies will push you to do something extravagant this week. If that’s what makes your relationship work, more power to you. As for me, I’m happy to be in a family that appreciates the little thoughtful things. That’s what love looks like around here.
It looks like initially blank stares at thoughtful gifts that now I gush over. It looks like a memory of that time a barbershop quartet surprised her, which she appreciates much more today than then.
And later Saturday, it looked like one of the children begot of that love finally asking if she can eat one of those donuts, and admitting it really was delicious, so she didn’t hate me anymore.