I was having a drink with a friend. We were catching up on kids, life, relationships and reality tv. You know, all of the important things. She shared with me that for her last birthday, her husband surprised her with the purchase of TSA Precheck.
And my reaction - Wow, that's so romantic. She enthusiastically agreed. We continued sipping our drinks and the conversation continued through the evening. On my way home, I couldn't help but think what twenty-one-year-old me would have thought of such a gift. I'm sure I would have been mortified. Twenty-one-year-old me would have preferred something romantic, something personal, something that smelled good or made me feel sexy. But thirty-four-year old me, the me of today - that kind of practical gift was about as romantic as it got.
Like me, that friend travels a lot for work. The regular commute to the airport is taxing on her, and the rush out the door, savoring the final few moments with her family before she was about to literally jet somewhere else was a common and precious activity. I get it. I often times find myself doing the same thing. So when we arrive at the airport for a few work-required days out of town, breezing through the TSA Precheck line is a gift. It's a gift of time saved, a gift of stress gone away, and a gift of an extra few minutes with the ones we love. To me, that's romance.
A note to my husband: I already have TSA Precheck, so for my next birthday, you'll have to think of something else.
Another friend shared that for Mother's Day, she wanted a night alone in a five-star hotel. She wanted to order room service and stay in her pajamas and watch movies all afternoon. She wanted to sleep all night and wake up late in the morning. Twenty-one-year-old me would have been, again, mortified at the idea of a MOTHER wanting to spend MOTHER'S DAY alone. But today, with a toddler who doesn't sleep through the night and is deep in a stage of "Mom Only", I get it.
A note to my husband: I also prefer five-star hotels and room service and sleeping in, literally anytime this could be possible.
My husband's birthday was just around the corner. We've celebrated fourteen birthdays together, and in the beginning, birthday gifts were easy. I might cook a nice dinner and open an expensive bottle of wine. We might whisk ourselves away for the weekend or spend all night in a dive bar catching the last set of whatever band was on stage that night. Clueless of what to do this year, I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. He knew immediately what he wanted.
An ice machine.
You read that right. For his birthday, my husband requested a countertop ice machine.
Ouch. I mean, have we gone from hot to cold that fast? In fourteen years, did we not want the exciting adventures, the fancy dinners or the unpredictable nights? Have we totally failed each other? Are we boring? Like I said, ouch.
An ice machine.
And then, I got it. His ice machine is my friend's TSA Precheck. It's romantic. At the end of a busy day, my husband likes to sit in the living room with his family, have a cocktail, and an ice machine adds an element of ease to his nighttime relaxation. It means we can entertain more, fill our summertime camp coolers faster, and make sno-cones for the little ones whenever we want. An ice machine is sexy.
Things change over time, that's obvious. But sometimes it's surprising just how they change and how we accept that kind of change. This stage, this phase of life is all about appreciating the things that we have, and finding the ways to cherish our special moments just a little bit more or for a little bit longer.
I know that we're lucky to be in a place where we think about gifts for each other. I know if we didn't "gift" at all, that would be just fine too. I treasure the moments where we focus more on others instead of ourselves, and look forward to seeing just how our perspective and practicalities continue to morph as we grow.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love a romantic weekend getaway but for now, I'll enjoy his ice machine right along with him.