In My Ohio

​On Emily's Present

Darren C. Demaree
​I used to give Emily jewelry because that’s what I thought was expected of husbands. I thought it was a grown up thing to do, at least it was expensive enough to be grown up. I got her diamond earrings, jeweled necklaces, etc., and I think she liked that. She liked it, especially before we had children. It was more romantic to spend the money on her, and then of course the cost and planning for children took over.
After the jewelry, I started giving her dresses. She loves sundresses. So, for several years she would get a new dress for her birthday and for the holidays. I would take direction from my sister, my friend Hannah, and I would pay attention during the pre-holiday shopping trips to see what kind of places she thought were nice. I would always make sure the dress was present worthy, something special, and something more fabulous than she would normally pick out for herself. Except for my learning curve in finding dresses that were the right size for someone whose driver’s license claims that she is five-feet tall, I was getting pretty good at picking them out.
Once you have a closet full of fun and sexy/quirky dresses, you need the boots to go with them. So, I moved on to buying her boots. The challenge of picking out boots that fit Emily without having her being directly involved was a tremendous challenge. My favorite part of picking out her gift is keeping it a secret until the day of the event, and when she caught me going through her footwear I had only two moves. I could try to shove one of them on my foot, and confess to a fictional cross-dressing habit or let her in on the gifting process. I couldn’t sell her on me in heels bit, so I had to get her help in sizing up things. It’s too hard to buy a woman shoes/boots. I think if you’re going to do that, you need to make an event out of the selection. Take her for a nice meal, and then let her pick out the perfect pair. For me, this disqualified the footwear idea, as I like the surprise too much to give it up.
This year I know what Emily really wants. Emily wants her friend Abbey to have a relatively easy birth of her baby. She wants mother and child to be healthy and happy and to come soon. She wants her dad to feel better after his hip surgery. She wants her sister to come home now and stay about a week longer than she plans on. She wants our son, Thomas, to go to sleep without two hours of negotiation and re-tucking in. She wants her mom to share a glass of wine with her, and to breathe easily, without worry for ten minutes. I know she’s started to plan our next cars, next house, next child (?), but she’s mulling all of that right now. I’ve got a year before I know her thoughts on all of that.
I think from me this year, what she wants is for me to find some peace in the poetry I write. It worries her when I become maniacal about it. When I’m bent over the desk, beating the hell out of the keyboard, that gives her pause. I can give that to her. I can spend more time writing stories for our kids. I’ll get her a present she can actually unwrap as well, but more and more I think the best presents we can give each other are the ones that relieve any of the pressure we’re under. Adult is nice. Pretty is nice. Fun is nice. I want Emily to be happy though, and I want her to enjoy our tremendous life together. It’s a little bit of a reach to turn that into a gift, but I’d be foolish not to try.