Tim Bohlke » // writings

The Journey of the Cactus

I should be better at this by now! But the last few months remind me of what a tricky time of year this is for me. Valentine’s day, anniversary, Mother’s Day. Even after all these years of marriage, I am still not sure how to do these things well. Here I am again in the middle of it, and I feel a little lost. I  am still not sure of the right move, the right gift, or the right words for this particular moment. Especially since we are at a very different stage on the parenting journey.

Last week, while going through my desk, I came across the small, lame, yet completely awesome vase. I have kept it all these years. It serves as a pretty great reminder of what can happen when you space off the gift thing and miss key moments.

So it was the very first Valentine’s Day after my wife and I started dating. I had just graduated from college, and was, well generally clueless on some things. But I did set up a pretty good date night. When I went to her house to pick her up, she came out of the door with two or three nicely wrapped presents, and an excited look on her face. At that moment I knew I was in big trouble. I had nothing! I mean nothing. No card. No gift. I just did not think about it. The only thing I could come up with, was to say that I had forgotten her gift back at my apartment. As I drove back, all, all I could picture I had in the apartment was this giant stack of Mountain Dew cans that my roommate and I had created. I searched frantically. All I could find was a very small, mostly dead cactus, in a small vase. To this day I have no idea where that thing came from in the first place, but it represented my best shot at a “gift.”

So I put it in a sack and gave it to her as the “big gift” for the night. The crazy part was, I actually thought I could pull that off. It is a story that I have never lived down, and a story that makes us laugh to this day… well, actually it makes others laugh at me to this day. No doubt my wife showed amazing grace that night, and likely many times since.

I have heard history repeats itself.  I better stop writing, and start thinking about what to do for Mother’s Day. Actually, I need to prod our kids on this one. One thing I know; I will never live down the story of the dead cactus.

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