A life's lesson on giving

As Father's Day quickly approaches, I am once again faced with the dilemma of what to buy my husband aka Geek-Father of my children. Every year, he knows exactly what he wants, and tells me directly I would like "item A" and/or "item B". I'm not a big fan of this idea. I love surprising people with gifts they adore. I'm the type of person who wraps every gift, and ties enough ribbon around them to make Houdini shudder. I've came to realize my method does not always please everyone.

In 2007, my husband wanted the Wii game "Mario Party 8". The item would have taken up my entire Father's Day gift budget for the year. 1 expensive gift = no fun. Multiple crappier gifts = more unwrapping and a "Father's Day Game" thrown into the mix. Propping our living room table on its side, my daughter and I crouched behind it with a laundry basket full of miscellaneous "el cheepo" gifts. Geek-father, sat on the other side, grasping our broom, which had a rope tied to the tip of it with a clothespin on the end. He held the fishing rod over the top of the coffee table and "fished for gifts", as our daughter giggled relentlessly each time she clipped a gift on the end of his "fishing rod" and got to say "Looks like you got a big one Daddy". Did I have fun....of course! Did our daughter....tons! Did Geek-father? Well, he did, up until the point he realized there was not going to be a fish of the "Mario Party 8 genre" attached to the end of his fishing rod. He didn't say this, nor did he hint at it. Wives can tell by a small little downward twitch in the corner of our husbands' mouths when they're disappointed. I did not understand this twitch, and assumed he simply did not have enough gifts to unwrap.

In 2008, Geek-Father wanted the Wii game "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess". Yet again, the item would have taken up my entire Father's Day gift budget for the year. Geek FatherInstead, I visited the discount bin at Wal-Mart, and purchased an older PS2 game, "Avatar", that had received fairly good ratings a couple of years prior. This was joined by the same "el cheepo" gifts theme as in 2007, with a few extra thrown into the mix. Planned out to the nines, the amazing Father's Day game of the year was a treasure hunt. The first rhyming clue led him to the first station which included an "el cheepo" gift and a rhyming clue to the following station. The game went on for a couple of hours, as our daughter insisted on guessing where the following station was about 40 times, until Geek-Father would convince her to let him guess. The game followed suit until the last station, where the jackpot "Popular PS2 game from 2006" lay in wait. While Geek-father unwrapped it, the anticipation built up, as he held the videogame shaped box in his shaking hands. As the gift was unveiled, the mouth twitch was accompanied by a hint of a body slump.

I believe this year I finally understand. Every Father's Day, my plans for Geek-Father include things that I would like to be done for myself. I would love a well thought out game planned, accompanied by a variety of surprise gifts to unwrap. Geek-Father always asks me exactly what I want for Mother's Day, and he purchases exactly what I tell him. Am I content with my gifts...of course! A small pinch of disappointment is always present though, somewhere on the bottom right-hand side of my heart. The element of surprise is absent. I now know that Geek-Father would not experience this pinch. This pinch is void in the hearts of Geek-Fathers if they receive exactly what they want.

As my Father's Day plan of action changes this brain in headed in new directions. Will there be a game? Perhaps... (Our daughter thoroughly enjoys that part) This year I am given the choice of either purchasing Geek-Father : "Fear 2" for PS3, or a fishing tackle box. I feel my heart pinch shouting "Don't do it! He won't be satisfied if you get him exactly what he wants!" This year I believe I will think with my brain and not my heart...

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR - My birthday falls approximately two weeks before Father's Day. Perhaps this article has a dual purpose? Perhaps it is meant as a hint to the wives of Geek-Fathers everywhere, but also a hint to my Geek-Father himself. When asked what I want for my birthday, I specified "The Sims 3". After writing this article, I realize Geek-Father may receive mixed messages about what I would like for my birthday. I really would like to avoid the dreaded "heart pinch" this year, but would also like to steer clear of the "mouth twitch" or "body slump". I love surprises...however I also consider myself a "Geek-Mother"'s Geek-Father's turn to do the math...