A Middle-Aged Woman on the Hunt for the Perfect (or Any) Gift
By: Mary Fran Bontempo
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It’s that time of year again. My husband’s birthday arrives this week and as usual, I’m scrambling.

You’d think that after over 30 years together, I’d know it was coming. Yet, every year, June 6th sneaks up on me, like a surprise attack, kind of like D-day, which it is. Except this time, I’m on the losing side.

Right around Memorial Day, I start to get the uneasy feeling that something’s coming that I should be prepping for. However, I’m usually down the shore, opening the house and getting ready for the annual invasion of holiday guests. (I’m sticking with the military imagery and yes, we Philly people refer to the South Jersey beaches as “down the shore.” I have no idea why.)

I get through the holiday weekend, let my guard down long enough to catch my breath, then–BAM! There it is, June 6th, and I’m running for cover.

I’d love to view my husband’s birthday as purely cause for celebration, but honesty, it gives me a stomach ache.

Wait, that just sounds wrong. It is a cause for celebration. He’s a great husband, father, friend, etc., etc. He deserves a great day, and a great gift, which is the problem. I never know what to get the guy.

Try as I might, finding the perfect gift, or just about any gift for my husband turns into an annual quest for the Holy Grail. It’s not that Dave is particular. In fact, it’s more that he’s not. He covets nothing.

Like most men, he used to want the latest technological gadgetry, until he realized that not only was he unable to master even a cell phone, he apparently gives off a weird magnetic field which short circuits every device he comes within ten yards of. Even watches stop working after a week of exposure to his wrist.

You’d think clothing would be a safe option, but with a closet and dresser full of Nike and Addidas sports gear, I mean, what else does a soccer coach need? Anything of the non-athletic genre gets relegated to the “I might wear this someday” pile, which currently consists of several sweaters, shirts, pants and jeans with price tags still attached. He even has an unopened Christmas gift (I happen to know it’s an article of clothing from his mother) wedged next to the hamper in the closet. In other words, forget clothes.

Nor is he big on outings, or rather, anything planned, preferring to “grab a bite” somewhere or catch a movie on the spur of the moment in lieu of scheduling an event.

So I’ve got nothin’. Throw in Father’s Day two weeks after Dave’s birthday and our wedding anniversary on June 20th and I’m exposed as a gift-giving poser along the order of Arnold playing a faithful husband in his next movie role.

This year, though, I think my daughters surprised and delighted their father with his birthday present. They filled his car with gas.

Hmmm. Maybe I’ll go pay the cell phone bill. That should put a smile on his face. Happy birthday, honey!

What are your gift-giving ideas for the man in your life? Click comments below and share!