I admit that as each year passes, it gets harder to know what to buy my wife for her birthday. I've celebrated over forty of her birthdays during our long marriage, and I always like to buy her something new each time. The usual thought process goes something like "well how about a necklace?" - followed by "but I bought her one back in 2011 and she still wears it today". It doesn't help that she's such a simple soul and is perhaps the least acquisitive person I know (and I love her for that).
Well, last year I broke my rule of having to buy a new category of gift. I had already considered buying her a dress, but of course, I couldn't because I bought her a dress in 1987, and I wouldn't want her to think I wasn't trying! And so I had decided on buying her a hat, replete with a fascinator. She loves watching the horses, and her new birthday gift would be perfect for a day out at the races. I was on my way to a boutique store feeling good about how I'd kept my "streak" of originality intact when it came to birthday gift ideas, when I was struck by what I saw in a shop window I was passing. I couldn't quite believe me eyes. I'd already forgotten about hats and horses. I went in and said to the shop assistant "do you have that dress in size 10?". They did, and I bought it. I'd gladly broken my rule.
Upon opening her birthday gift, she looked at the dress, looked at the print on the dress, and looked rather nonplussed...then recognition...then tears. "Fire Lilies" she said as tears fell onto the dress.
It was 1977, and we were on our first date. I took her to Kew Gardens. After talking with her for hours, I felt like I knew her very well and I was bold enough to say, right next to the Fire lilies "you're as rare as those Fire lilies. As inappropriate as this will sound on a first date, I hope to hold onto something as rare as you for the rest of my life".