The Little Things You Do

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. “Enjoy little things in life for one day you ‘ll look back and realize they were the big things…”

Today husband and I celebrate our 18th year together as a married couple.  This post however, is not an outline of what makes our marriage successful; rather, it is an enumeration of the little things that my dear husband does that make me love him more everyday.

  1.  He is very prayerful and has deep faith in God. He prays when he wakes up, and prays before he sleeps.  Before we go out of the house, we pray together for protection. Before the kids go to school, he reminds them to say a prayer.  Before he or I travel, we would pray. We pray before meals.  We go to Church when he is home; he goes to Church when he isn’t home…When problems threaten to overwhelm us, he’d remind me to pray and trust in God’s providence.  I remember one time when the kids were in vacation in Manila and had to go back home soon for school was just a few days away and we didn’t have enough money  for their airfare.  My in-laws aren’t the thoughtful kind [at least, according to my standard]; it pains me to say that there were so many instances we sought their help and they often turned us down. And to think that the kids were there to visit them [sigh].  Anyways, I was already panicking. Then one night, at about 10 PM, he called me.  The first thing he said was that God is really good to us.  It turned out he won Php 60,000.00 in a three-digit lottery that night.  A colleague has shared with him these numbers and in desperation, he bet on them.  So we were able to book the kids plane tickets, buy our eldest a mobile for her birthday, and send money to my in-laws to pay for the electricity bill incurred because of their grandchildren’s use of the AC [another sigh].  When the sex was really good, he’d say “thank you Lord for this”, just after he tells me he loves me.  I have no idea if other men do this but I’m just saying my husband DOES!
  2. He always helps me around the house. Yes, he can be really bossy.  But he seems to enjoy cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning the appliances or cutting grass, not to mention bathing the dogs.  He always senses when I’m exhausted so he’d tell me to just rest and he would do all the housework.  This after he has traveled uncomfortably almost six hours in the middle of the night to get home.  I say uncomfortably because his free bus ride is on those slow, non-air conditioned, unlimited-stop trips. But then again, just about everything in this country is lousy and sucks like hell for poor people.
  3. He is considerate in the most unexpected ways.  When we go to sleep, and he is uncomfortable with his position and wants to turn his back on me, he would tell me, asking permission if he could do so.
  4. He is a dedicated cop. He would go on street duty for 12 hours straight, on a night shift, standing up most of the time.  He studies laws on traffic, drugs, crimes and criminal procedure and follows them studiously.  I remember someone bringing him to court and falsely accusing him because he was upholding an ordinance.  An ordinance! For him, all laws, big or small, have to be defended. Then there were times he would call me to ask for right terms to put on the complaints he is filing.  He passed all police-related examinations and was one of the top ten passers of a national police commission examination.
  5. He is a loving father and husband.  As a dad, he is sweet and solicitous with his daughters.  He would patiently take care of them when they get sick;  rub ointments on their backs when they have cough, spend time trading jokes and stories with them.  And he commands obedience from them with little effort, something I have never succeeded in.  He is affectionate but firm. He calls every night just to check if the kids are home from school or if we have eaten dinner. He never fails to call several times a day to make sure we are alright, to say goodnight, and of course, to assure me he loves me.

Yes, these things may seem little.  But now I’m recalling them, I realize they are the big things that make a woman most appreciative of her man <3.

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Her Kind of Romeo

He is not the most romantic guy by any standard but he’s got a way with him that is strangely endearing. For instance, he’d book them at an expensive hotel in town coz he doesn’t want any bug near her, but would take her out to dinner at some cheap roadside grill where her eyes would sting and liquefy, not only from charcoal smoke but also from smoke-belching vehicles. Worse, they’d have to attack those charred, cholesterol-dripping chicken breasts with their bare hands. Smelling of exhaust and barbecued meat afterwards does not improve matters for her either. He isn’t someone who’d open doors or pull out chairs for her but he’d gently pat dry her sweating back or wash her hair. He’s never brought her flowers; he thinks it’s predictable, unnecessarily expensive, and silly. However, he’d supply her with all kinds of food supplements from omega 3 to slimming tea to vitamin E. He doesn’t dig action movies that are like religion with her but he’d pass up a great comedy in favor of Terminator just to make her happy. With his head resting comfortably on her shoulder, he’d softly snore through the loud crunch of metal and deafening explosions lighting up the screen. She doesn’t mind though, knowing he rode four hours after going off duty at 2 AM, just to be with her. And then there’s his volcanic temper that never fails to upset her for days. And he could be insensitive and rigid at times, domineering and violent, jealous and obstinate. She had long stopped counting the many times he’d hurt her feelings. But he exerts superhuman effort to learn from his mistakes and he remains optimistic in the face of tribulations. And his sense of humor? Downright crude, corny and cheesy. Yet, hearing him laugh at his own lame jokes causes her to laugh just as hard and as foolishly. He does not talk much either, content to just nod on cue or grunt the expected “really” as she monopolizes the conversation with her inane topics. It is only on very rare occasions when he has drunk past his booze limit that he allows her [unconsciously of course] a glimpse of his deepest thoughts—thoughts that reveal a surprising passion for justice, for family, for humanity. It sometimes amazes me how they lasted this long, seeing how different they are […or are they?]. I guess it’s a great mystery how one can love unconditionally — with total acceptance and without unrealistic expectations. Which reminds me of this quote I read in Melissa’s blog: “True love does not come by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”

“The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart” and Other Stories

I went to the bookstore two days ago, as usual, looking for books on sale.  Books are my passion and no amount of budgeting difficulty will cheat me out of it.  And I was very happy to come across one by one of my favorite writers, Alice Walker.  I was saving up for her award-winning The Color Purple which sells P400 more or less at the popular bookstore but I did settle joyfully  for The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart, (Random House, 2000) which sold for P50.

It is a sad, moving autobiographical work about an inter-racial marriage that did not work out and the ensuing heartbreak its collapse caused,  challenging the age-old dictum about love being the A-all and the B-all in life, that sometimes, it is not enough to see people through, specially people trapped within a divided, prejudiced society.    I do not feel surprised though, that the marriage fell apart, the protagonists being a Jewish lawyer and an African-American writer.  To the jaundiced eye, the dissolution of the marriage  is but a matter of time, for the strain of  social and psychological pressure will surely catch up with them and ruin their paradise and mutual absorption.  In the author’s words, they simply got tired.  Defying and scorning society has a price uniquely its own.  But more than a parable on love and relationships, the book  portrays one woman’s journey towards healing and  self-discovery, without the attendant bitterness and disillusionment.

Walker’s prescription is a simple, unvarnished truth: the way forward is with a broken heart.  It is the only way to move on, to find joyful acceptance.