When Mr. Wonderful and I met, I was 23 years old - almost 24, and he had just turned 30.
We married when I was 26 and he was 32.
Believe it or not, Mr. Wonderful wasn't always so wonderful. He has always been sweet and kind and a lot of fun...but sometimes his irreverence and his humor could go a bit too far.
We've been married almost 22 years and I have been working on him all that time!
(There is absolutely no reason for this picture, except that I just found it and it made me laugh! This is me a few days before The Boy was born. And, by the way, that is a bathing suit under that big ol' muu-muu. I look like I swallowed a beach ball. An 8 lb. 1 oz. beach ball.)
Mr. Wonderful hasn't always gotten the concept of birthdays and anniversaries. On our first anniversary he gave a single red rose and promised to give me a rose for each year we were married on our anniversary. It was a very sweet and romantic gift. And he did get me a rose each year on February 13th - our anniversary. Until it started to get expensive (think a dozen roses the day before Valentine's Day). My anniversary roses started coming later and later (usually after much nagging and sighing in a martyr-like fashion by me). One year I didn't get my anniversary roses until May. He meant to do it sooner - but he IS Dutch and you just can't argue with those
cheap frugal Dutch genes!
One year when Mr. Wonderful was gone for my birthday, he came home from a trip to Paris. He tossed a balled up t-shirt from the Louvre at me and said, "Oh, here, Happy Birthday" as he walked away. I responded with, "Are you kidding me?" and he, looking baffled, said, "What?"
I tried to explain my annoyance, "Seriously? I've been stuck here with two little kids...making lunches and wiping runny noses and YOU WENT TO THE LOUVRE?!! And you just tossed me a flipping t-shirt and think THAT is a birthday present?"
And then...then HE said, "What's the big deal? It's just a birthday."
That didn't go over very well with me.
I admit that it's possible that I may have been a wee bit hormonal. I might have been tired and slightly cranky from being stuck at home with two young children. It's true that there may have been extenuating circumstances...but I was extremely annoyed with Mr. Not So Wonderful.
I created a "bill" with a list of everything I did and the equivalent cost - housekeeper, taxi driver, cook, nanny, etc. I gave it to him and said, "Really? You can't even get me a gift for my birthday and ACT like you care??" Mr. Not Very Wonderful At All...laughed at me.
I didn't speak to him for almost a week. After about 5 days, he finally figured out that I really was angry and hurt. He called my best friend and explained the situation (which, naturally, she already knew about) and asked her what he should do. She told him that he had really screwed up...and it was going to cost him.
The next day a very contrite Mr. Wonderful gave me a lovely pair of earrings and a gift certificate for a spa day. He was loving and sweet and told me how much I meant to him and promised to never ignore my birthday or make fun of it again. He made me a card and signed it, humorously, "Mr Wonderful."
And he is. He ALWAYS remembers my birthday and our anniversary...now. He ALWAYS gets me a gift - and puts a lot of thought into it...now. It may not always be a gift of jewelry (I'm really not a big jewelry person, anyway!) - but it is always something I've mentioned that I like or want. Mr. Wonderful is a good gift giver. Now.
Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?