Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wife Rule #141: Love the Little Things

She screamed at me last night, and was still sobbing when I shut the door, leaving her alone in the dark. It didn't sound to me like a sincere cry, but one of those meant only to manipulate another into giving in.

I wouldn't give in, for her own good. But I still hate ending a day that way.

This morning, as I was shaving, she tentatively opened the bathroom door. When she saw me glance her way approvingly, she entered in, all smiles and sunshine, like a fresh, morning breeze. She never spoke, but she communicated plainly. Her blue eyes connected with mine, a look of pure love shining from them, her mouth drawn into a wide, beaming smile. She was happy, so happy, to see me--just as I was to see her again, after a whole night apart.

As I turned to comb my hair, she reached into the drawer. When I next glanced down at the counter, the toothpaste tube had been placed carefully next to my toothbrush, waiting for me.

She is always anxious to serve.

She never holds a grudge.

She melts me with her smiles.

And she is barely two years old.

I love being a dad (and I have my wife to thank for it).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wife Rule #140: I Like Your Sweater

"Heya Loose... nice...sweatah"

So goes one of the least effective pickup lines ever read by an actor on the big screen, as masterfully delivered with a thick Brooklyn accent by Joe Fusco, Junior, in the classic 90's movie While You Were Sleeping. The object of his affection was Lucy, the pretty protagonist as played by Sandra Bullock. Poor Joe Junior, with his greasy undershirt and overextended gut, never had a chance.

This line came to mind as I was in our closet this morning and noticed a cream-colored sweater lying neatly folded on one of my wife's shelves.

When I was making my first lame attempts with my future wife to begin some type of relationship, or to just try to have another conversation, or merely to "get a foot in the door" in her attentions--you know, the part in the love story where the nerdy guy tries desperately to come up with something to say to the pretty girl, when in fact, his mouth has gone dry and his knees are wobbly and his mind is completely blank--I unwittingly channeled Joe Junior and out popped a compliment about her sweater. Never mind that I had not yet seen the movie, nor that her sweater was actually rather plain (as she laughed about with her roommate later that day). It was the best I had at the moment.

For the record, it was a burgundy, textured sweater with a high neck that did bring out the blue of her oversized eyes and the glimmer of her golden locks, and she did look great in it.

But in my spluttered compliment I undoubtedly gave too much emphasis to the sweater. It was really her. It was always her.

Nonetheless, a sort of "sweatah thing," however ill-conceived it was, was born. I always enjoyed the way my wife-to-be looked in a nice sweater. So naturally, after my wooing attempts proved successful and she had promised herself to me for life, it wasn't too long thereafter that I bought her a sweater.

It was my first--and last--attempt to ever buy her clothes.

After twelve years of marriage I am now wise enough to know that it is entirely possible that I could seriously mess up the simple task of buying her socks (what's wrong with men's athletic tube socks? I wear them every day). It's Barbie's job to dress Ken, not the other way around.

But in my honest-to-goodness newlywed naivety, I did buy her a sweater. I did. I liked the color. I think it was even on sale.

She has given it a token wear a few times over the years, but I don't think she ever took to liking it much, any more than Lucy ever took to liking the idea of a romance with Joe Junior.

But she still has it. She hasn't yet been able to give it away. It stays there, folded neatly on her shelf, a constant, sweet reminder of our first months and years together--a token of that precious time when we didn't have much, but we did have each other, and we did have love. And our honest attempts to show that love, however flawed they might have been, were as sincere and as pure as anything we have ever done.

And because of that, my love, I still like your sweater.