Sunday, October 26, 2008

Simple Gifts*

I woke up this morning with an incapacitating headache. We skipped church and I spent the day horizontal and growling at my children while The Man worked outside, replacing the offending fence. It's his birthday tomorrow and I feel bad that he spent the day laboring in the sun and periodically instructing Allie to watch the Weekids so they would leave their mama alone. I was supposed to help him but just going outside left me looking for a way to clamp my head into the wood-working vise. He didn't complain about working alone, though. He never does.

Last night we went out, sans children, to celebrate his birthday. We laughed and flirted and drank adult beverages and ate too much. We were every bit a couple happy in love. I can honestly say I still enjoy going out with The Man as much as I ever have. Our dates, while now limited to a handful of times a year, make me feel pretty and funny and valued. And miraculously that hasn't been diminished by the familiarity of being married for a dozen years.

The steakhouse where we went to dinner was peppered with kids going to the local homecoming dance. One young couple sat at the table across from us and I watched them playing grown-up. Fidgety and nervous and trying too hard to look comfortable. The girl was lovely, if a bit overdone in her cocktail dress. Thin and glowing with the natural diaphanous beauty of the young. I wondered, momentarily, how we must appear to them. An overweight woman in wedges and wide legged jeans chatting comfortably with a bald (sorry, honey) man, ever casual, in jeans and a t-shirt. In a culture that values fame, money and beauty I cannot imagine they saw anything enviable in our obviously average suburbanness.

But I remember being that girl: excited and sparkly and wobbling in strapy heels. Sitting across from a boy I didn't really know. Uncomfortable with what to order. What to say. Who to be. I remember being told that I was living the best days of my life. And I am so thankful that wasn't true. Because I wouldn't trade places with her for all the taught tummies, glowing skin and nights of 12-hour-sleep in the world.

I know now that this thing I have is enviable. More enviable, I'd even dare say, than fame or money. A happy marriage. Worn and comfortable as faded flannel, but laced with moments of greatness. Moments sprung from being loved completely by someone who knows me completely and still finds me - inconceivably - worthy. I have lived long enough to realize what a rare and fragile gift that is. And how little I have done to deserve it.

Tomorrow the Weekids and I will make The Man a cake for his birthday. At dinner we'll all present him with handmade birthday cards and small gifts and lament that he had to work so hard on his big day. Later we'll sing and eat bowls of cake and ice cream during our family devotional. It won't be a big or even particularly memorable celebration. But I hope it will be enough. And he will feel appreciated and loved. Just as I do...because of him.

14 comments:

Wendy said...

That's so sweet! I love date nights with my husband, too, although we don't have them very often. Would you like to come babysit for us?

Hope you are feeling better!

Cori@SAHMbles said...

Lovely post and you are so right, I would not want to go back to to ackward teenage years again.

karen said...

Sounds like you two had a good time out! I hope your head feels better today - getting through life with a headache is awful. Happy Birthday to Shane!

Kat said...

What a lovely post. And truly something to be thankful for. I just love faded flannel. Especially when it is mixed in with moments of greatness. The best of both worlds, I think.

Happy Birthday to your hubby. :)

*pab said...

A gorgeous post, Joy. My grandparents have been married for 65 years. They are 90 (Grandaddy) and 85 (Grandmama), respectively. When my Mama, Zane and I were there last week for the party celebrating their big milestones this year (90th birthday, 85th birthday, 65th anniversary), just seeing them interact...how they just KNOW each other, and how they just KNOW the other loves them completely and always, made me so thankful for their example and for knowing that such lasting, loving relationship not only is possible, but to be strived for. There really isn't anything about this life that you can take with you, except for the love in your life and your family. Kudos to you and your Man for creating such a strong relationship.

pinkmommy said...

Oh girl, amen to that. And happy birthday to the man!

About Janice said...

It is totally enviable! Nice post. I'm the one looking up new words now. Diaphonous?
There's a great song by Fleming & John called "Comfortable" that I thought of when I read your description of your relationship with The Man. You should check it out.

Lori said...

It's the stuff that dreams are made of...

I wouldn't go back to that time for anything. Honestly, I feel sorry for anyone who told you that would be the best time of your life. One should enjoy every season of life as much as possible, but the teenage years... the best? Really? I pray my children don't hit their peak nearly so early! :)

This was so beautiful.

Kyla said...

I started to get misty there for a minute! LOL. It is such a blessing, that's just how I feel about my marriage, too.

Happy birthday to your man!

Julie said...

Amen! I often look at my wonderful husband and think," God must really love me to give me such a gift".

painted maypole said...

the best gifts, indeed

ok... i'm sniffling...

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Make sure The Man reads this one!

Beck said...

This is a gorgeous post - and you're so right. I would much rather be me NOW then the younger, hotter me.

Tracey said...

Exactly. No thanks on being 17 again, though I do wish I could have just a SMIDGEN of that taught skin...