Me: What do you want for Christmas?

Levi: Coal.

Me: No seriously.

Levi: Lots and lots of coal.

Me: Don’t be difficult.

Levi: No wait, oil. Oil futures.

Our “what will you have” conversations aren’t going well. I told him I wanted a purse and some new makeup and he asked me if I thought that Christmas was going to make me a new person or something. “What are you going to do with makeup?” he said. Note that I said nothing when he mentioned he might like running clothes. He’s been exasperated with my inability to come up with a list of viable options. But really: I don’t know what I want.

He also said he would not replace the pair of earrings I lost as then I would “never learn my lesson.”  He gave me the original pair of earrings four Christmases ago. He had been dating me for two weeks (I had been dating him for two days), and over dessert he pulled out the little blue box. Despite my apprehension about this new relationship, I happily wore those earrings nearly every single day for the next three years. Then, in an effort to haul baby and luggage and keep my place in the taxi stand at JFK, I lost one.

That first Christmas I knew Levi though, that was magical. He took me on our first date the first weekend in December. We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Angel Tree and then, after dinner he took me to the Mandarin Oriental for dessert. When it looked like it would take too long for us to get a table, he handed me the coat-check ticket and suggested we try somewhere else. Of course, we hadn’t actually checked our coats. Levi the try-hard was up to something: he had left Christmas gifts for me at the coat check earlier that day.

I was so embarrassed by his earnestness that I tried to hide the gifts from my roommates and swore I’d never go out with him again. But the next weekend he took me to hear opera and then, one week later—New York waylaid by the transit strike, we walked all over Manhattan, in the snow, my hands too cold to stay in my own pocket.

I loved the attention. I didn’t really want to date him—he wore a bowtie—but I wasn’t used to men who told you everything. So I kept saying yes—all the while planning to break up with him. Until again I ended up at the Mandarin Oriental for dessert. This time, it was a warm summer night. Again, he had a coat-check ticket in his pocket and a nervous hat-check girl had a diamond ring at her station.

So I mean it when I say I don’t always know what I want. But how I love it when I get it.