Each Christmas for the past 20 years, my husband has given me a gift from Victoria’s Secret. Typically, it’s an assortment of practical underclothes, plus something a little sexy. I always look forward to this gift. To me, it affirms that in his eyes, I’ve still got it.
That’s why I was surprised, and a little dismayed, when this year instead of a lacy bra or negligee, I pulled a pair of flannel pajamas out of the VS bag.
“Is this what it’s come to?” I asked my husband.
“I thought they were kinda cute,” he said.
He meant it. He was truly tickled that the pajamas had tiny champagne glasses scattered all over them.
I thanked him, but inwardly I was concerned. It seemed we were crossing a new threshold in our marriage, one in which comfort and coziness and cuteness was superseding passion. I envisioned hot nights ahead in our bedroom; as in me sweating under the covers in my flannel pajamas while he snored beside me.
If only this were the worst of the story.
The next day, while balancing our checkbook, I saw the carbon copy of the check he used to pay for the flannels. Written on the memo line was Mom.
Mom! This was how he thought of me?
For a moment, I considered that maybe he’d intended to buy the pajamas for his mother, but decided at the last minute to give them to me. She and I were roughly the same size. Then I remembered he’d also gotten me the usual practical items, so the “mom” in the memo had to be me.
I reasoned that perhaps because he’d been shopping with our teenaged son that day, he was too embarrassed to buy something racy. That could also explain why he was thinking of me as “mom”.
That night, emboldened by a glass of wine, I asked, “Did you mean to buy the pajamas you gave me for your mother?”
He looked confused. I explained about the memo.
“No,” he said. “It was crazy in the store that day. I don’t even remember writing that.”
This I could accept. Once I had referred to him as “daddy” to my mother instead of by his name. Probably it was because I was so used to referring to him as “daddy” to the kids. At the time, I was horrified by the slip. Now I’m glad for it because it’s helping me understand the memo.
But there was still the matter of the flannels.
“I wanted you to be warm,” he said. “You’re always complaining how cold you are.”
Not wanting to sound like a complete ingrate, I didn’t point out that I’ve been complaining about being cold in winter for 20 years, yet only now is he buying me flannels. Perhaps he was growing more thoughtful with age. That or he’s tired of me cranking up the heat at night.
I found a quote that’s helping me see this episode in a more positive light:
“The most romantic story isn’t Romeo and Juliet who died together, but Grandma and Grandpa who grew old together.” ~Unknown
Probably it was a man who came up with this quote. Some Nicholas Sparks type who buys his wife flannel pajamas for Christmas.