Last week, my husband asked me what I want for Christmas. I told him I’d have to think about it.
Oh, I have plenty of things I could put on a gift list: world peace, for example, and a visit to our friends in Colorado, and registrations for next year’s STC Summit and Gilbane Boston. A week in Bruges during the early music festival would be lovely, as would remodeled bathrooms and a landscaping service to take care of the yard, now that both of us are getting creaky. I’d love to be 40 pounds thinner. The wall over the head of our bed has space for a dramatic painting by a local artist (and I know just the one…). Tickets to the rest of the Metropolitan Opera in HD season. A new car. And books, of course. My Amazon and nook wish lists are now spilling over into double-digit pages. But all that is useless for answering his question.
You see, what he was really asking was, what:
- can he get for me that
- we can afford that
- will make me happy?
And that’s the problem.
Most things on my list, we just can’t afford. Several items are things he can’t get for me, even if we could afford them. You can’t pick up a carton of world peace at Wal-Mart, and I will have to lose those 40 pounds all by myself, thankyouverymuch. And the things he can get for me, that we can afford…will they really make me happy? Maybe. For a little while. Until I finish the book, or the concert is over.
So, how am I going to answer his question?
I’ll ask for three things.
First, I’ll ask him to stick to his diet for a whole year. I want him to get healthy enough to live at least as long as I do. Yeah, we’ve both done dozens of diets, and they worked for a while, and then we stopped. But, he recently started a stringent diet program modeled on the 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. Sticking to the diet should be possible this time, thanks to the built-in support group. And, since he’s the primary cook in the family, I should lose some weight, too, even if I only follow the program for dinners.
Next, I’ll ask him for time and company. At least once a week, I’d like to do something together for fun during the day: walk in one of the many local and regional parks, visit a museum we haven’t been to in a while, go to an afternoon recital at the Eastman School of Music, even something silly like window shopping at the outlet mall.
My third request is already being fulfilled. We can’t afford a long out-of-town vacation, but we’re starting to schedule short trips together. He’s accompanying me to NYC when I deliver a presentation to a professional organization on a Thursday evening in January. We’ll stay with friends Thursday and Friday night, spending one whole day enjoying the city together before returning home on Saturday. And we’ve already made arrangements to attend a friend’s wedding in Ohio at the end of April—an easy drive for us, and we can see at least one other set of friends on the way.
Oh, and if he wants to get me one book from my nook wishlist, that’s OK, too.