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The Anniversary Gift That Keeps On Giving… Guilt

They taunt me from the magnetic board above my monitor — two iTunes gift cards — all hot pink with some dude (chick?  … sometimes I can’t tell) rocking out with an iPod). 

Music… just sitting there, waiting to be listened to, in the form of a gift card.  He meant well, he really did.

Go back about 5 years to our second anniversary, the cotton anniversary.  This was back when I dutifully tried to follow what you were “supposed” to give for the anniversary and prided myself in being creative in finding the perfect gift.  This is a bit of a challenge when you hit it out of the ballpark the first year (paper) — when I found him an out-of-print book about his family he had been searching for for a decade.  Even better, I had actually found it BEFORE our wedding and had kept it hidden for a year.

Knowing my husband’s, let’s say challenges in finding gifts, I had not-so-subtly said, “You know, our second anniversary is the cotton anniversary and I know that can be hard for you to think of, so I would really, really like a linen table runner for our buffet.  Like this one.”  (Pointing to one in a store.)

So imagine my surprise when on our anniversary, I received a tiny box.  Not that kind of a tiny box.  But much too small for a table runner, unless it was extremely crinkled up.

Surprise!  It was a pink iPod!  Which I wanted (well, not pink specifically, but an iPod).  But it wasn’t what I had envisioned for our anniversary.  But that was okay.  I remember processing my thoughts while JavaDad grinned at me and said, “And I got it in PINK so you’d know I really got it for YOU — it’s not for me at all.”

Since our anniversary is near the holidays, setting up my iPod with music got set aside as Thanksgiving and Christmas events came up and then  it was time for JavaBoy’s first birthday and so on and so on.  We would go through this cycle of being ready to put music on, but the iPod not being charged, or the iPod being charged, but not having time to put music on.  Or JavaDad put his music on, but not mine.  Or my Dad visited and added his songs for me, but my own music wasn’t on.  And so on and so forth.  And no one had time to show me how to use it and I didn’t know where the manual was and next thing you knew, I was pregnant with JavaGirl and puking my guts out.  And not long afterward I was dealing with her acid reflux, then her failure to thrive issues and so on.

JavaBoy was actually the one who finally showed me how to use it.  When he was 3.  My grandmother, in her 90s, was the one who showed me what he couldn’t.  Her iPod is actually newer and fancier than mine.  And she has portable Bose speakers for hers.  When it comes to iPods, I’m clearly the loser of the family.

By now my pink iPod mini is so retro compared to what’s out there now, but it’s what I have.  And I have used it a few times, but I still haven’t had time to really configure playlists and do what I want with it.  And I don’t have a lot of time to listen to my own music.  When I first clamored for an iPod, I envisioned using it for going on high-powered walks.  These days my walks are with two small kids and I am listening to them and to nature.  In the car I am either interacting with the kids or catching up on phone calls.  In other words — I rarely have time to just tune in and tune out.

But I am determined to ultimately get it all together.  In the meantime, every time I see advertisements about iTunes or iPods, I feel guilty about my husband’s earnest attempt to give me something I wanted and it’s something I haven’t taken full advantage of.  Life sort of got in the way. 

It sits there, next to my computer, reminding me of yet another unfinished project, but also of my husband’s love for me.  And that’s much better than a cotton table runner.