Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Precious Porcelain

If you knew him at all you knew words were primarily useful to him, seldom abundant. He wasn't the sitting around, share your life story, kind of guy. (Surely you recognize the irony of me blogging about that). What got him to talking was an afternoon at the beach, or sitting on the back deck of the cottage. A few beers often coaxed some sharing, as the ease of that particular spot always brought out the vacation in him.

The mistake you might make (and I did, more often than I care to admit) was thinking his quiet signaled indifference; that his reserve implied detachment. The truth was, he was an observer and what he saw, he saw wholly-with his mind, his intellect and his heart. I came to truly trust his gut, even when I could not fully trust my own.

When you spend your time with someone whose words are, well, sparse, what is shared inevitably carries greater weight. There is a sort of leaning in to catch it and a clutching to the chest when it's through. I once remarked about the exuberant way he entered the house each night. Pulling into the driveway, getting trampled by the kids, it would begin. Daddy's home! Hugs and kisses all around! After which I, slightly rivaled, then asked, "Why don't I get that kind of greeting?" To which he replied (pause now, for emphasis...think Mr. Miyagi to Daniel-son) "Heidi, it's easy to give your love away when someone comes running towards you with open arms." Ouch.

Four months later, do I have regrets? Every. Single. Day. I regret fighting with him the night before his race. I regret not begging him to come with us that weekend. I regret presuming I knew all there ever was to know about him, instead of remaining curious. Most of all, I regret not making more of our life together. We human beings feel so damn entitled to time! It renders us careless, irresponsible...

Lest you think I am altogether mired down in 'what if's', I recently discovered a pardon. Last week I found a Valentine's card I had written several years ago. It was an extensive list of all I loved about Paul. I suspect there will be some regret lacing every memory I have of him, but this list helps me remember that I did what I could do. I loved him as well as I was able. In the end that is all any of can do, this side of heaven...

Here's a sample:


Thinks I am just as beautiful at 5 a.m. as 5 p.m. (most of the time lies convincingly)
Let's me be myself
Believes in his own abilities and skills
Rubs my back even when he doesn't want to
Goes outside in the cold with Maya so Mom won't have to
Makes perfect egg sandwiches
Is worth waiting by the window for every night
Cleans up after parties without being asked
Has a good and pure heart
Thinks of me at the grocery store
Holds my hand in public
Is quick to apologize when he's wrong
Politely refuses telemarketers
Forces me to do things that are good for me
Let's me off the hook sometimes
Is good to my family
Gives me directions whenever I need them
Never cringes at my stretch marks
Believes the best of people
Knows things will work out okay in the end
Doesn't quit when things get hard
Can do nearly anything he sets his mind to
Is not the same man I married...he's better

Someone once told me we should hold onto each other like valuable china; beautiful yet delicate and highly fragile.

So make your own list. Then give it away. Hold close your own precious porcelain.

1 comment:

  1. Heidi, you are amazing. We each need to make a list like this. I'm going to go make my list....and remember daily, to be grateful for what I have.