The Gift of Giving

Did I ever tell you how much I look forward to my birthday?  Most women my age don’t.  Sure, it’s the passing of another year and, yes, I may not bounce back quite as fast from a night of drinking as I did when I was younger, but the fact is I love my birthday.  Why? It’s the only day of the year I get presents.  I know. I know. I sound just like a five-year old little girl on Christmas morning, screaming out at the top of her lungs, “Where are my toys?”  But I can’t help it.  There’s just something about a wrapped box that gives me the chills.  It might be the anticipation of guessing what’s inside or maybe it’s the way my eyes get all sparkly when I see the beautiful wrapping paper, neatly folded into crisp corners and kept together by invisible tape.   It may well be the big pretty colorful bow with wiggly, curly lines cascading down the present that reminds me of chocolate shavings on top of a delicious ice cream sundae. Whatever it is, it’s intoxicating.  It just does something to me.  Sort of like what sex does to the body, presents do to my mind.

What I like the most, actually, is the unwrapping . It’s not so much what’s inside the box (although I would never turn down anything from Oprah’s Favorite Things list) but the actual process of opening it up.  I love the feel of my fingers as they glide over the paper; the way my fingers pull it up.  I love hearing the crinkling sounds as I tear the patterns into pieces.  I love the look of the messy heap on the floor and scattered papers all over the room.

But most of all, I love the fact that someone thought enough of me to go out and actually buy or make me something that he thought I would like.  The fact that he then went home from the shopping run and spent the time to place the item in a box, pull out the scissors and tape and wrap it into a beautiful package speaks more to me than the actual gift itself.   It’s the real reason why I squeal with glee at the sight of “brown paper packages tied up with string.”  Did I mention that it’s one of my favorite things?



I had a nervous breakdown yesterday.  I have at least one a day.  Last night, it happened as I was trying to put my children to bed while at the same time juggling emails from work, making kid’s lunch for the next day and trying desperately to find the dry cleaning receipt that I misplaced but, of course, needed for today because I am out of clean work clothes.  I swear the owner of the drycleaners rolls his eyes at me every time I drop off my laundry.  He knows that no matter what pick up date he gives me, I will wait at least a month after that to come in.

Last night, I tried to multitask and was failing miserably at it.  One hour later, the kids were still not asleep but instead were jumping on my bed after the third warning that I had given out to them to get into bed or else….  I was still writing emails at a frantic pace because of course, everything at work is urgent and I still couldn’t find that stupid dry cleaning receipt.  I did manage to find my credit card bill that I was looking for last month and a pack of chewing gum.

Every night I ask myself the same question:”Why?”  Why can’t I get it together?  Why can’t anything ever go smoothly? Why can’t my kids go to bed when they are told? Why can’t my boss understand that not everything revolves around work? And why can’t the drycleaners just deliver my clothes and bill me?

And as I tried to grab each kid and get them to bed by threatening timeout, no play dates, no ice cream, no videogames-anything that I could possibly think of to get them to listen.  Last night, as I tried to shut down my computer and put my workday behind me.  Last night, as I crawled on my hands and knees to see if the dry cleaning receipt didn’t happen to slip under my dresser drawer. Last night, I was left with the same question I have every night: “Why?”  And what do you do when you have a question with no answer.  When you realize that your life is crazy and that balancing work, kids and a house is not easy.  Well, there’s only one thing to do. Reach for a glass of wine and say, “To heck with it. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.”  And then the cycle begins all over again.

Why I Am A Hopeless Romantic

It’s no secret if you’ve been reading my blog that I am what you would call a “hopeless romantic.”  I am the person sitting next to you in a dark theater with tissues in her hands, sniffling and proudly letting her tears flow during an emotional love scene.  I am the one who is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice. I am the crazy woman buying up all of the celebrity magazines, flipping through pages and sighing with glee at wedding pictures and cooing at baby pictures.  And yes, I am the sucker who roots for celebrities to beat the odds and stay married past the Hollywood expiration date.  So far, I’ve got my money on Tom and Rita to beat the odds.

I don’t see anything wrong with that. Yet, I get the roll of the eyes from some of my friends and the “talk” about how it’s not realistic to think in terms of happily ever after.  And I always ask the question why?  Isn’t Cinderella and Snow White  living proof of that?  Didn’t Darcy and Elizabeth beat the odds of the longest married celebrity couple?

In fact, I take great offense to the term “hopeless.”  Because hopeless means you don’t stand a chance.  Hopeless means to pack it in now while you can.  Why should love be filled with doubt? Hopeless makes it seem like there’s no chance for the fairytale ending.  Just quit while you’re ahead and if you do find someone, chances are it won’t last.  That’s never been me.  I’ve never been the pessimist.  I’ve always been the optimist with the glass half full (and completely full if there is wine in it).  I mean, let’s face it, why would anyone serve a half empty glass at a party or gathering? I certainly wouldn’t. In fact, I make sure my bar is fully stocked.  So why should I see love that way?  Why should I see it as the half empty glass.

Come to think of it, love is like a full glass of wine.  It tastes great.  It gives you a tingly feeling from your head to your toes.  It makes you giddy.  And if you drink too much of it, it could give you a headache in the morning.  But you would never stop drinking it even if it does.  Why?  Because it’s good.  That’s how I feel about love. It’s that good.

So am I a romantic?  Most definitely.  Am I hopeless?  No, nope, not at all.  In fact, I am a “hopeful romantic.”   Hopeful that love has a chance.  Besides, it has a much better sound to it, don’t you think?