Tradition is fine and dandy.

But when it comes to gift-giving in the Lee household – especially from husband to wife – tradition goes out the window.

Apparently, silk or linen is recommended as the traditional 12th anniversary gift. The pearl for the more modern gift-giver.

But our 12th anniversary brought me a more, ahem, practical gift from my adoring husband.

A concrete slab, to be exact.

Yes, always one for practicality, Craig decided to gift me (and the kids) with a new wash rack to celebrate a dozen years of marriage.

What is perhaps crazier? I’m excited about it.

You see, we’ve been trying to improve our small property each year, as our kids’ Hereford herd gradually increases in size. This year, we’re adding more fencing and this romantic wash rack.

Bit by bit, we’re getting there. And somehow, my gifts find a way of working into the yearly plans.

It didn’t start that way. And actually, it’s now a running joke among our friends: the progression of our anniversary celebrations.

Year 1: a weekend getaway to Atlanta, complete with a meal at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. The servers greeted us with anniversary wishes and made us feel as if we were the only couple to have ever reached the one-year milestone. It was glorious.

Year 2: a trip to our local Red Lobster, then a romantic venture to Lowe’s to choose the paint for our soon-to-arrive first baby’s room. I don’t think the paint mixer acknowledged our anniversary, but my swollen ankles and pregnancy fatigue prevented me from noticing much of anything at that time.

Year 3: Craig delivered Dairy Queen directly to our kitchen table – the meal eaten alongside our nearly 1-year-old son playing the “pick-up game” with his bits of fries and chicken strips. And my husband excitedly telling me to look in the bed of his truck for my gift: a push mower. Yes, a push mower.

The romance doesn’t end with anniversaries. I’ve received new luggage for Christmas.

Birthdays have brought a garden tiller and, the pinnacle of all gifts, a manure spreader. Nothing says, “So glad you were born!” like a piece of equipment with the sole purpose of spreading manure.

Noticing a trend here?

Oh, I do have to give him credit. He’s done a pretty good job of sprinkling in a piece of jewelry or a bouquet of flowers here or there.

But for the most part, my husband is the master of practicality.

And really, isn’t that often the standard mode of operation in many show families?

Family vacations revolve around junior nationals and state fairs. “Winter breaks” include a trip to the National Western Stock Show – and maybe a day of skiing, if time permits.

And often, the needs of the family (and its livestock) find a way of coinciding with holidays and the related gifts.

I suppose a traditional gift would be nice.

But I am fairly certain the memories built with this new wash rack will far outweigh any silk or linen item Craig could have found.

The kids and I will be spending many hours on that concrete slab in the years to come. Maybe (ok – definitely) a few moments of sibling bickering will occur.

Above all, though, this wash rack will lead to time spent side by side, achieving a common goal. And to see my kids in that scenario? Well, that’s just about the best gift of all.

(But, I won’t turn down some flowers or jewelry, if the feeling strikes, Craig.)