Just Enough

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, which meant that I spent the days before it in a futile search for a gift for him.  We stopped getting each other big presents for our birthdays years ago, but we still have a family dinner to celebrate and I like to have something from me that he can open with the rest of his gifts.  The problem is that my husband already has most of the material possessions that he wants and I can’t afford to buy him the ones he wants but doesn’t actually own.  And every year it gets harder to come up with a creative idea for something I actually can get him.

I’ve already made him several photo books,  and had his broken college “Outstanding Athlete of the Year” and MVP Baseball trophies remounted.  I spent hours carefully removing the photos and articles from the disintegrating scrapbook his mother had made him and remounted them all in a brand-new scrapbook.  I bought him tickets to see his favorite comedian when he was in town.  My kids have given him photo collages of his grandson, had a painting made of the house he grew up in, gave him a key-chain engraved with his parent’s signatures and even made him a pen and pencil holder with a photo of his grand-dog that reads “I love Grandpa.”  As far as sentimental gifts go, I think we’ve covered the bases.

By late last week, I was almost in a panic mode.  What in the world was I going to give him this year?  When I asked for suggestions, he went to his closet and handed me a new sweater he’d already bought himself and suggested I simply wrap that up.  When I said that I wanted to get him something he didn’t already know about, he answered, “But I don’t really need anything.”

I was getting ready to argue with him when it hit me that he was actually telling the truth.  We celebrated his birthday last night with a dinner at his favorite restaurant, surrounded by his family.  He is in good health, has a family that loves him dearly and close friends he knows he can always count on.  In all the ways that really count, he has enough.

I don’t know why it’s sometimes so hard to realize that we don’t really need more stuff, bigger houses, fancier cars and all the latest gadgets.  Maybe it’s because we live in a society that constantly urges us to get more, and to equate having more with success and happiness.  But the truth is that when we have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear and most of all, people we love and cherish in our lives, then we really do have….enough.  All the rest is just icing on the cake.

And when I looked at my husband last night, sitting at the table with his grandson in his lap and the rest of us nearby, I realized that I really was looking at a man who not only had enough, but a man who was very blessed indeed.

But that didn’t stop me from giving him one more thing, because I still think of birthdays as a time when it’s fun to open an actual gift.  I found this by a happy accident just a couple of days ago, and I think it will go perfectly on his desk at work, right next to the pencil holder with the photo of his grand-dog.  Some habits are just too hard to break….

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76 thoughts on “Just Enough

  1. What a sweet train of thought went through your mind on the occasion of your husband’s birthday, Ann! What you experienced with your hubby’s sweater, I recently experienced myself. I know how my wife loves a certain kind of chocolate. For her upcoming birthday, I had ordered a double-layered box from a chocolatier. What a disappointment for me, when recently she came proudly out a store and showed me a box of chocolates she had purchased to satisfy her sweet tooth! Now you guessed it. The box was from the same company I had ordered these creamy truffles. The bottom line is as you said we have most everything in material possessions and need to be more content with what we have. Best wishes and belated Birthday Wishes for your husband! Peter

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Completely agree and get it! This year is one of those big round numbers for hubby, and I am going to surprise him with a special dream trip to Ireland – sssshhhh! ❤ We've never been to Europe or overseas yet – and it is time! 🙂 But for the most part – he buys himself what he wants, and what we really need to celebrate is time and family and love. Your gifts through the years to him are absolutely amazing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Jodi! And yes, my husband buys himself the stuff he needs and wants, which means it’s time to just look at the celebrations as his gift, I think. But for the “big ones” a special trip is absolutely perfect! You two will love Ireland! I’ve only been once, and I can’t wait to go back again. Enjoy it!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this post! I struggle now too with finding the ‘perfect gift’ for people who really are not in need of any particular thing. I like to surprise everyone with a thoughtful present…a framed photograph, something special they would not buy for themselves…but yes, it gets harder all the time! You are so right…the best gifts are things money cannot buy and we are blessed indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know! It’s nice to have a little something to actually give them, but as the years go by, thinking of that little something gets harder and harder. So maybe the gift of spending time together doing something you love is the best of all!

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  4. I suppose we are getting more difficult to buy for… The best gift my husband ever gave me was a cleaning service 2x a month for a year. The second best gift was a gift certificate for weekly vacuuming performed by him for a year!! I think he would say that his favorite gift was the photo calendar with the family Christmas photos (we take one in front of the tree every yr). Even though the calendar is no longer in date, he still has it hanging next to his desk!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am also at this point. Every year I try to get something small for my husband, but he’s happier when I don’t fuss. We are both moving toward the feeling that less is more. But your post has given me some gift ideas just in case! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true! There was a time when he would have really needed, and therefore used and appreciated, another sweater. But he doesn’t anymore. So now I think it’s better to just get together for a meal, or actually do something together…a trip, a concert, or a show….instead of giving more “stuff.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We are at the same place, at least where my birthday is concerned. Rather than have people buy me some bauble I will never use, I have asked all who feel the need to get me something to make a contribution in my name to some needy cause…Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, etc. The same holds for Christmas…I have enough stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a really good idea….it lets people feel that they are getting you something, but the gift goes to those who actually need it. I had a friend that chose to celebrate her 60th birthday by inviting her friends to join her in preparing and serving a meal at the local Ronald McDonald house (sort of a free hostel for people who have a family member in the hospital and need to stay nearby). Honestly, it was one of the nicest parties I’ve participated in.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. We don’t exchange gifts anymore either. It’s partly because nether of us needs more “stuff” and partly because spending time searching for THE PERFECT gift can be stressful and isn’t how we want to spend our time. Consumables are good though… much appreciated and they disappear quickly. I think that lovely dinner with his family and the desk sign are perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I admit I did feel guilty for a while (I was so conditioned that I needed to “get him” something.) But sitting at the table and looking around at our family, I realized that he had all he needed, right there.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a really thoughtful assortment of sentimental gifts you have created over the years … you are all blessed to have more than sufficient and those you love in good health and there to share it!! Beautiful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That was a lovely gift Ann. And with the little description of him having a lovely family around him, friends to call upon and the gifts that he already has, your this gift looks just apt for him. Belated birthday wishes to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can very much relate to this post, especially since my.mum’s birthday is due in a couple of weeks and she refuses to tell me what she’d like!! 😂 So I’m running around like a headless chicken and rummage through Amazon coming up with – nothing! But here’s the thing: She’s very peculiar when it comes to her hair and even though I’m so not a professional hair dresser I somehow have become hers. And it’s time again for her perm, she loves those tiny curls and it takes about 6 hours to do this, so that should be present enough, right? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • If she likes the way you perm her hair, I would say that would be a great gift to her! She’ll love the time with you, she’ll love the way her hair looks, and she’ll be getting something she really needs and wants. Go for it! You can always have dinner together afterwards just to top things off if you feel the need.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Like your husband, I act like I don’t want anything for my birthday, but do get a thrill opening a gift from my special someone. We have agreed that our gift-giving to each other should be limited to something edible of drinkable, but I really would love a sign like the one you gave him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought it was pretty funny too! And yes even though we don’t need more stuff, a gift from a loved one is still a very nice thing. I like your idea of limiting it to something that you can eat or drink. That way, you enjoy the gift without having to add something to your house!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You’ve got a great man there, Ann. He knows he is blessed and finds joy in that knowing. There aren’t that many like him around. Happy Birthday to him! I come from a background that doesn’t celebrate birthdays; my husband’s side does, though, with a small cake. So, when we started a family, my husband insisted on having cake. Back then, where we lived, there were no decent bakeries, so I started some baking and soon, my very culinary inclined husband outdid me. He’d make all our birthday cakes, simple but delicious cakes that never lasted long out of the oven. Seeing that I wasn’t overly endowed with baking talent, he offered to make his own birthday cake but of course, I drew the line at that.

    One year, I made a cake that, um, took the cake. It had been a very difficult time for our family and when my husband’s birthday came around, I was determined that we celebrate it. However, in the state of mind I was in, I more than doubled the amount of flour and didn’t think anything of it until my little ones asked me why the cake in the oven was looking like a huge roast. I will never forget the sight of my husband’s face when he came home and took in the sight of that mountain-cake. Then, came the cutting part and he had to really press the knife down. If that wasn’t bad enough, the kids took their first bite and coughed their way through as it was so dry! I wanted to cry and although my husband resolutely finished his piece, it was evident he was struggling not to roll on the floor and laugh.

    It’s been 11 years since that awful cake. I’ve improved somewhat but nobody lets me forget the day I made Daddy’s Chicken-cake

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind words about my husband! And as for the cake, believe me, I can relate. I made one like that once too. The recipe said 1 3/4 cups of flour, and being somewhat new to baking a homemade cake, I thought that meant three or four cups of flour so I put in 3 1/2. I still remember a friend actually eating a piece, but it took her three glasses of milk to wash it down.
      But I bet your husband appreciated your efforts and knew that the cake was baked with love! And in the end, that’s all that really matters anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, I love the sign you got him. Perfect! 🙂 I agree that it gets harder every year to think of something original to give however you’re so right, when we have our health, happiness, food and family, really we have it all. Lovely post Ann. Hope he had a happy day.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think you thinking of gifting your husband something special alone proves your endearment towards him. Such cute little gestures are a must in life; it’s actually these small things that make huge differences in life. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I know what you mean about wanting to give a little gift but it really does become difficult the longer you’re together. Some years ago I finally understood, as you mention, that material things are not as important as memories. So we make memories now. We go places, do something special. Even if it’s a dinner or better still a massage..:) Something different we”ll remember. How fortunate we are that don’t need “stuff” anymore. Not that some gifts aren’t special. But time spent with those you love……well….thats pretty special too..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree more, George! Actual gifts can be special, but the best gifts are the ones that give us time doing the things we love with the people we love. That’s what all our good memories are made of. And it took me a long time to figure that out too!

      Liked by 1 person

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