Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What the Dickens! It's Mr. Husband.

I was married once before. A terrible mistake that was revealed to me at every turn. Very short. Only nine months did I stay; shorter it would have been were I the woman I am today. Today I have a voice. Then, I did not. It’s good to grow up and discover oneself. My Mr. Husband likes to be the explorer who discovers me time and again—the one who knows me and strives to keep knowing me and helps me continue to realize and know me. The ex did not. I remember our only Christmas together when I opened my gift from the ex to find that he’d attempted to purchase Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for me but ended up purchasing a children’s book instead. A comic of some low sorts. (Not graphic fiction. A child’s book in truth.) I was so disappointed and the realization slapped me on both sides of the face—he doesn’t know me and does not wish to know me.

Knowing someone is so very important. Hearing the other person speak about their hopes and aspirations. It’s important to listen and be listened to. So very. My Mr. Husband listens, knows, and understands me.

Today, we celebrated our Christmas together before we venture to the in-law’s for our Big Family Christmas. My Mr. Husband always picks out super sweet and sentimental gifts. He is a thinker, so it is fitting that he thinks hard about gifts. He purchases gifts that have meaning and sentimental value like the wooden popcorn bowl he had personalized with the phrase, “make me popcorn”—my phrase. But, the most sentimental and touching gift that he gives me every year is a book. He listens to me and finds the most beautifully bound books with good sturdy paper and dark black ink. The font is most readable and there is always a ribbon for marking my place. This year was no exception.

Last year, he gave me a beautifully bound copy of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. We often laugh about how I sat down to read both Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary in the first year of my marriage. Well, I laugh and he just kind of looks uncomfortable. Anyhow, the book is what I wanted and he accompanied it with a lovely collection of Shakespeare’s Sonnets with the inscribed message, “To Sensibility from Sense.” We often laugh about how we are so not alike. We do a lot of "often laughing" when no one is looking. You see, while I feel, he thinks—we mimic a Jane Austen novel but we’re not sisters and we’re totally not wearing dresses all the time or looking for husbands. Anyhow, I digress. It’s funny. Really. It is. Trust me.

Oh, come and often laugh with us. It feels good. Throw your head back. Do it. Laugh. Be often laughing always.

This year, my dear husband spoiled me with lovely leather-bound Dickens: I unwrapped Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities to my screaming excitement. (Or, A Sale of Two Titties … for Monty Python fans.) The paper is so very fine and yet sturdy. The ink dark as dark needed and the binding is classic with a splash of leather to show off the title and announce to the neighbors that Dickens is here for dinner.
I will feel luxurious while reading my Dickens—novels that I’ve never before delved into. I will dive and feel good and read good and be happy. My Mr. Husband did a fantastic job.

We had other gifts exchanged between us, but the books where the gift that made me cry a little. They are the gift that reminds me that, yes, he’s listening and, yes, he knows me. That is more precious than any concrete gift.

In a couple of hours, we head to the in-law’s to enjoy our big family Christmas. The youngest brother, Chris, has been calling me all day to find out if what he’s looking at for this sibling or that is a good idea. He’s so cute. He’s, like, the best shopper in the family, but, yet, he still questions himself. He’s conscientious and cares. It’s nice to have that in a family. The Stewarts are a good bunch. We’ll go to candle-lit service at 7:00 and then play Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit while watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. All eight of us with two dogs and a cat will sleep in the same house and wake up tomorrow morning to see what Santa has brought us! It’s excitement. It’s family. And we are so very thankful for this great discovery.

1 comment:

Kari Jean said...

I was just catching up on your blog and read this post.... and it made me cry a little, too! That is so entirely awesome. Jeff is a great guy. Isn't it great to be with someone who loves you and understands you that much!? Steve gives me books, too, because I once told him that books were better than gold to me. And, I think that A Tale of Two Cities is probably one of the most wonderful, valuable books I've ever read.

Anyway, keep up the great blogging! I enjoy reading. :)