T: Amazing Husband ST: Three-year-old Wonder Prof. G: Advisor I Prof. C: Advisor II Julie: Stylish Sister Rob: Awesome Brother Belle: Our Cat Bill: Grumbling BIL Rita: Uncomplicated SIL SMU: Smallish Midwestern University Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
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Quote of the Day
Friday, July 21, 2006
I've had a few melancholy days, and I know why: my last post. Whenever I have a chance to think about those kinds of beautiful times in my life, I look at my current life and think, "What happened?" Mostly, though, I look at T and silently wonder why he isn't more like the men that are featured in some of my favorite memories. In my mind, I am comparing him to them and it's unfair: he doesn't know them, doesn't know how they made me feel, and doesn't know how to act in any other way than what is normal for him.
The last time this type of memory-induced melancholy set in was almost exactly five years ago, when we moved into this house. I was at home sorting through boxes in the garage all by myself, deciding where to put everything in our brand-new house. My parents, who had helped us move in, brought with them some boxes I had stored in their attic, full of childhood drawings, yearbooks, and letters. I made the mistake of reading through the letters, including those from Peter and those from Jim, my best friend from high school. Reading those sweet letters was exhilarating: both Jim and Peter thought I was beautiful and wonderful in every way, and their letters were dripping with compliments, plans, and romance. As I sat, sweaty and dirty on the floor of my garage, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
I am, of course, not the beautiful, smart and all-around fantastic girl portrayed by Peter and Jim in those letters. And I know that Peter and Jim, for all of their excellent qualities, could never have sustained the romance they began in letters over the long-term. I know that, had I ended up with Peter or Jim, I would eventually complain about how there were always dirty clothes on the floor, how someone always smudged the bathroom mirror, or how someone neglected to put away the items he used to make his lunch. I know that they would eventually have seen me in a bad mood, with bad hair, or making a stupid mistake. In short, I understand that the reason these two men are so much a part of what is beautiful about my past is that they were only part of my life for a relatively short time. There was no time for flaws.
I have been married to T for seven years. He has seen me at my best and at my worst. He is really a fantastic husband in nearly every sense: he helps out a lot around the house, is a very hands-on and active father, ensures that we have what we need and most of what we want, treats me with respect and requires that others do the same, etc. The only thing T is lacking, however, is a sense of romance, and that's what I mourn when I get into these memory-induced funks. T is too practical for romance, and I can be, too. He doesn't believe in buying what he calls "useless" gifts, for example, because he doesn't value them himself. I will never receive jewelry or flowers from T because he hates those things. And for the most part, I don't want those things, either: I don't wear jewelry (and my ears aren't even pierced) and I don't like cut flowers (give me a potted plant any day!). We don't do spontaneous things because we're both planners. No jetting off to Paris for dinner for this couple, that's for sure. Now that we have a young child there's even less of a chance of doing anything spontaneous, less time for romance.
I'm not even sure what I'm craving when I lament this romantic deficit in my life. Maybe just a sweet word from him, an unexpected compliment? (He is good at giving compliments, but they're mostly about my cooking.) A quick kiss out in public? I don't know, but I do know that I'm longing to feel like the girl who received those letters years ago, the girl the letter-writers wanted. And I wonder: is the girl T got still that girl, and is she as easy to love?