June 17th is on the horizon and that means another birthday for me which gets me to thinking about the best birthday gift I’ve ever received. It was a waffle iron. However, it didn’t exactly start out that way. In fact, it led to nearly a decade of marital sniping. But I have discovered that a waffle iron, like a fine wine, gets better with age.
I confess, I’m an annoying “landmark” birthday person. You know, highlighting birthdays every five and ten years, then giving special attention to “Golden Birthdays” when the day, month or year numbers coincide with your age. Irritating, I know, still it’s always meant something to me and despite floating in my orbit since 1986, my husband has remained blissfully unaware.
The day I turned 35 I was looking forward to a special morning. Though I don’t really know why, knowing my spouse’s powers of oblivion have seemingly passed on to our two children. Sitting down to our traditional cake breakfast (I also believe all birthdays should begin sweetly for the entire household) -- I was happy to see shiny silver and lavender paper that gave the impression of something feminine and delicate hiding underneath. It lied. Excitedly, I tore the paper away to reveal: a waffle iron.
Don’t get me wrong, I was not totally ungrateful – we didn’t own a waffle iron and now in front of me sat an eight inch round, non-stick, easy clean grid (another lie, I found out later), compact waffle iron with a ready light. A completely useful, efficient 24 dollar kitchen appliance reduced me to tears, as though I’d been severely poked in the nose and I fled the room.
My darling, Spock-like logical husband was baffled and remained that way for next decade, never understanding why it was always the one kitchen product that landed on the counter a bit louder than the others when I removed it from its evil perch under the knife drawer (no mistake, I assure you). His confusion lingered, despite my many, loud and long diatribes about never giving a woman an appliance on her birthday and how it could only have been worse had it been a bathroom scale. Repeatedly, I’ve explained it’s perfectly acceptable to give a cooking or housework gadget on just about any of the other 364 days but THAT one. You could even wake me up in the middle of almost any night to tell me you’ve had a late-night internet compulsion to purchase the Dough-Nu-Matic that forms, fries and drains delicious mini donuts in under 60 seconds for $129.99 and I’d probably be fine with that, but not on June 17th.
Over time, the waffle iron has come to symbolize the difference between us, how we’re not wired the same and may never see eye-to-eye on many subjects but instead we compromise and move on to another day. Making waffles now and then reminds me of that. Just not on my birthday.