This is the time of year when I try in earnest to figure out what men really want.
Let me restate that: This is the time of year when I try to figure out what my husband really wants.
Hmm. Well, let me clarify further: I mean I try to figure out what he wants, beyond the obvious.
The obvious being: He wants the Angels to get another World Championship in his lifetime, preferably in Mike Trout’s time, preferably by kicking the snot out of the Dodgers. He wants his beloved Green Bay Packers to win the Superbowl. (He harbors a not-so-secret man crush on Aaron Rodgers, as if I don’t know.) He wants yet another classic Ford truck to add to his growing collection (much to my frustration). He wants short ribs, Memphis barbecue style, and collard greens. For dessert he wants any kind of cobbler you want to make. He wants to reread all the Vince Flynn novels he’s already read.
But what does he really, really want? Which is to say, what does his heart yearn for?
This question becomes pressing because this time of year is the season when I have to figure out what to get for his birthday, then our anniversary, then Christmas. And as anybody who has been married for a while knows, gift giving gets harder every year. You can’t keep repeating past successes. For instance, that fancy grill with the wood smoker was a hit back in 2010, but giving him another one would be a sure giveaway that not only have I run out of ideas, but that a bigger issue lurks underneath: I have stopped seeing him. I have stopped noticing the subtle way he has grown and changed, as we all do, inevitably. And I have stopped being attuned to that which he years for.
For instance, he was once a hard-charging rockabilly guitarist, playing gigs and recording music. That’s half a lifetime ago now, before the kids were born, before he needed to settle down, before he turned that hard-charging mentality into a career as a political operative.
But late at night, I can hear him strumming his old…