Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.
– Emily Brontë
It’s in the little moments. It truly is.
And in the scheme of things…these are but a few snippets.
“Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments. You must experience each one before you can appreciate it.”
― SB Breathnach
The alarm goes off at its usual weekday time of 5:30am. The chimes begin; literally, the alarm is the soothing sounds of chimes…that will get louder if we ignore them.
He moves and reaches over to turn them off.
As I feel him settle back down I sleepily say, “Hi.”
He cuddles in close for a couple minutes before going for a run, and says the magic words, “Good morning, beautiful.”
He calls me beautiful…just like it’s my name.
Now we all know that it’s 5:30am folks, and he can’t even see me anyway as it is still totally dark. He isn’t commenting on my outward appearance. He isn’t even directly complimenting me.
But he finds a way to make my heart smile by calling me this every day, and to me feeling loved is everything.
There’s a great scene in a film from 1996 called Beautiful Girls, that has always stayed with me. Two characters played by Timothy Hutton and Uma Thurman are walking along in the evening, talking.
Tommy: He makes you happy?
Andera: Yeah. I look for that in a man you know. The ones that make me miserable don’t seem to last.
Andera: You know there are fours words I need to hear before I go to sleep. Four little words. “Good night sweet girl.” That’s all it takes. I’m easy, I know, but a guy who can muster up those four words is a guy I want to stay with.
Me to him, “Do you think I over-think things?”
He stops and hesitates for half a second. We’re standing in the kitchen; he’s about return outside to work in the yard.
Leaning back against the counter he folds his arms across his chest, and in the millisecond it takes me to guess his answer, he lets out a mini laugh and I start thinking he might be about to reassure me (read: fib to me) that of course I don’t do that; instead he replies with,
“Ooooohhhhhh yeah. You do.”
This makes us both laugh. He looks me in the eye and tells me that yes, I do that, but it’s okay. It’s how my mind works, he says. He smiles. His eyes smile.
We laugh again. I shake my head at him.
Then later in the car on our way home I bring it up once more.
“It’s exhausting sometimes, all the over-thinking I do,” I say.
Without missing a beat he retorts, “It’s natural.”
“’It’s natural?’ What do you mean by that?” I groan lightly.
“It’s a natural tendency for you. You’ve always been an analyzer,” he states this matter-of-factly.
I challenge, “Isn’t that a bad thing?”
“No, not as long as you don’t take it to an unhealthy level; anything can be bad if you take it to an unhealthy level, right?”
“Don’t you think I do that?”
“You mean like you’re doing right now?” he shoots back in a mock-sardonic tone.
And once again we laugh. Yep…after more than two decades, he knows me oh so well.
I’m not ashamed to say that he calls me Doll and Doll Face. In fact I love it.
Actually, I have thought about it though, wondering if other people would find it offensive or demeaning that he uses that term. Or if they might be aghast that I’m rather more than quite fond of it.
As my husband and I sit here in our shared office, which is also our guest room, I decide to try a Google Search for “calling a woman Doll”…
The first response at the top of the results is Urban Dictionary ― Doll: a term of endearment used to talk about/to a pretty girl; dollface.
But it’s the fifth return that for some reason I expand, largely because the url is:
Jan 1, 2012 – It used to be a common expression to call an attractive woman “a livingdoll“, and then it was shortened merely to “doll“. The rest of it can remain …
And the top answer, the one captioned Most Helpful Opinion, is this one from Palek, reading:
“It’s a contraction of “living doll”. You can either take it as a compliment or toss a womens lib fit and get your panties all up in a bunch. ; – )”
When I let out a bit of a gasp-y breath it penetrates my husband’s focus and he looks up quizzically. Of course I have to tell him what I’m up to and then read the quotation to him.
He laughs heartily, a deep bubbling laughter erupting. Both of us are cracking up now.
“I don’t know what I expected, but I guess it should have been something like that”, he finally manages to say.
It’s funny to us because it’s just silliness; a joke. It’s not trying to address a more significant issue, and we are both very aware that sexism exists and is very damaging. (*an important subject for another time, perhaps)
However, when he calls me Doll or Doll face he does it with such sweetness and sincerity. He says it in a way that acknowledges our level of intimacy and deep connection. It’s consummately a term of endearment.
Admittedly, I find myself looking forward to hearing it said with such affection…
We’re on our way to a movie. It’s a date night that started in the afternoon. The day has turned out to be beautiful; warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. By the time we come back outside it will be dark and cooled down.
About thirty minutes ago we enjoyed a delicious meal, some March Madness basketball and some local brew. Oh, and we split a piece of CHOCOLATE STOUT CAKE Four layers of dark chocolate Stout sponge cake, fudgy ganache with hints of malt & coffee. Can you say amazing?
Now as we leave the car and walk toward the theater he puts out his hand and asks for mine. I slip mine into his larger grip and he clasps it tightly. He says contentedly,
“Ahhhh, it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve done this.”
I frown, slightly miffed; I know I’ve held his hand recently. At least I think that I have. Haven’t I?
So I ask him, “What do you mean, it hasn’t been that long?”
“No, I mean it’s always in a glove or a mitten lately. Or it’s been too cold for even that. I meant to actually be able to feel your hand in mine.”
“Oh,” I say happily as I smile to myself and the rest of the world fades into the background. Right at that moment nothing else is wrong, not one concern exists; nothing even aches or hurts or bothers me. Not a single thing.
It’s Sunday evening and we’ve just had a great meal. He’d grilled two teriyaki marinated pork loins to perfection, and I’d added a colorful garden salad, as well as I’d made fried basmati rice with fresh pineapple, broccoli and sautéed mushrooms.
Our younger son had just returned from a full weekend away in Richmond, we hadn’t laid eyes on him since saying goodbye Friday morning before he’d left for school. Somehow he seemed older, even after just one weekend away. Soon he’ll be off to university.
Our older son, and his lovely girlfriend, had just arrived before we sat down. They live in town and I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like as we live a bit outside of town and of course they have their own lives, with their careers and their adventures that keep them busy, and so they should.
After a delicious dinner and great conversation, the brothers start discussing the younger one’s upcoming camping trip. His older brother does a lot of hiking and camping so they are strategizing about what he’ll need and where he and his buddies should go.
I take this opportunity to take a few photos of the three fabulous young people sitting around the open laptop and the Appalachian Trail books on the table. I guess I was smiling as I did so, because from a few feet away my husband says,
“You’re so happy they’re all here, you’re grinning as you take pictures.”
I turn to look at him inquisitively, he who is grinning from ear to ear as he gazes at them discussing and planning. “It’s great having them all here, isn’t it?”
As I lean into him feeling contented, we look back at the kids, and I agree wholeheartedly, “Yes, it most definitely is.”
“Honey,” I say to get his attention. We’re just driving along the divided highway that leads into town. Armed with a list as long as our forearms, we’re on our way to conquer it.
“Ehhmmm,” he says as he signals to change lanes as we come upon some traffic.
I can’t believe how swiftly I am overcome with emotion as I attempt to choke the words out, “It was so hard to watch you leave the rehab center*** when you had to go home at night.”
Then I can’t believe how swiftly I see his entire demeanor change, his profile tenses up like a taut elastic that could snap at the touch. He inhales deeply, then exhales slowly.
“You have no idea how hard it was for me to leave you there each night.” He says this with such raw emotion that I can’t help but hear his heartache. Of course I knew this; we’d talked a little about it when it was happening almost two years ago.
In fact that two year anniversary of the scariest night of our life together is coming up. At this moment though you’d never know how long ago an event it was for either of us, for I am feeling just as raw at the memories.
He goes on to say something that I had never known, “I tried really hard to be all upbeat and reassuring, saying goodbye with confidence, and I’d keep smiling and trying to make you smile.” I immediately recall his tenacity at reinforcing that I was going to be fine. He really had been very convincing.
Then he falters a bit when he admits that after leaving me, after he’d dragged himself away, he’d get into his car and just break down, at least a little, because he was a little scared in the beginning and he felt so awful leaving me alone in there. He’d hated every single time that he couldn’t just pack up me and my stuff and bring us home.
“When the day finally came that I could go get you out of there, I could barely get there fast enough. It was such a great day, and I was so glad it was over,” he tells me emphatically. “I remember thinking, ‘I can’t even imagine any other scenario than bringing you home again.’ I mean I, I can’t.”
We both snap back into the present, maybe a little more connected now having shared that moment. He takes my hand and we literally move forward into what will hopefully be our long future together.
“some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.”
― Charles Bukowski, (War All the Time)
Raina K Morton March 24 2015
***[HealthSouth: a medical/inpatient OT & PT rehabilitation center]
“I’ve always believed in savoring the moments. In the end, they are the only things we’ll have.”
― Anna Godbersen (The Luxe)