Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Many Splendored Thing


There's a little boy in my son's kindergarten class who has a hard time being nice. Henry comes home with accounts like the following: "Today in line, Fred* said, dude! if you cut, i'm gonna have to punch you." (Incidentally, Fred says Dude! a lot, which Henry is catching on to. Drives me nuts!) Not surprisingly, he's earning a reputation as 'the mean kid.'

In spite of the prickly threats, I have a soft spot for Fred. Really soft. I suspect his bullying stems from pain and lack somewhere deep. So when I help in Henry's class, I make a special effort to be kind to him. I pat his back and compliment him on his work. I give him a little wink when I notice he's using nice manners. I tell him what a good guy he is, how smart and great and capable he is. And he just blooms under the warmth and praise.

Sometimes I catch him looking at me during work time. He stretches and strains to make sure we make eye contact before I leave and he always sends me off with a hearty goodbye. He rides Henry's bus, too. And every morning when I put Henry on the bus, Fred shimmies up onto his knees and looks out the window so we can wave to each other. Every single time.

I love him. And he can tell. That's why he likes me. That's why he sneaks those little looks. That's why he waves to me. That's why I'm his favorite parent helper (he told me :) I don't share any of this in a spirit of self-aggrandizement, any number of you would do just the same for Fred, more and better probably. I share it to make a more universal point about, believe it or not, marriage.

And that point is this: Husbands are pretty much just like Fred (hopefully without the excessive Dude! usage and predilection for threats). They just want to be noticed and loved. And accepted. And told they're good and smart and capable (and not in a patronizing way, but in a deep, meaningful, sincere way.) They want to be touched, and winked at, and reassured. Husbands and Freds and everybody else the whole world over.

So, on that note, and because I'm all about getting personal...

Nate, if you're reading this (I know you're not, but I'm going to make you log onto Bloom today 'cause there'll be a li'l something waiting for you...)

I notice you. I appreciate you. I think you're good...really good. And smart (I mean that) and capable (like Super Man). Thanks for working so hard for our family - I know we are reasons one through four on your list of reasons to work hard. Thanks for being steady and kind. Thanks for telling me I'm pretty. Thanks for hanging things that require the use of a drill. Thanks for killing the spiders and ironing your own shirts. Thanks for inspiring me to reach after a better version of myself, again and again. Thanks for telling me my bread is the best in the world and saying the curry we had for dinner tonight was the most delicious you've ever had. (I know you're prone to excessive superlative use, but I still fancy the compliments.) Thanks for counting in Spanish while you brush the kids' teeth (they love that). Thanks for showing Henry a sterling example of manhood and giving Lily a standard to measure her Prince Charming against. Thanks for making me want to be where you are.

Thanks for holding my heart; every bit of it is yours.

And now I'm going to sign off this silly computer so I can come kiss you. (wink! wink!)

Love wins,
Em

*name changed to protect the accused :)

14 comments:

Natalie said...

What a perfectly true parallel. We all have a little Fred in us, and we all need love. Thanks for the reminder. I think the husband/wife relationship is one that we forget to talk about sometimes here in the blogosphere. :)

Sally said...

Just what I needed to read today! Thanks for the reminder Em!

Kimberly said...

Excellent reminder!

Erin said...

How lovely. You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

Rae. said...

Beautiful. Needed to hear it.

Rae. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joan said...

Lovely, lovely! I'm sending my honey a love note right this minute! You've inspired me today, Emba :) Thank you.

Melissa said...

I love this post! My husband, years ago while we were discussing my own need to be appreciated, told me that he didn't need to be told what he was doing well or to be praised at all. I kept thinking that that was a total falsehood because everyone needs that. But he was so confident that I went against my nature and stopped telling him. Gratefully, I have since decided he's going to hear it anyway, and I tell him and thank Heavenly Father for him and his hard work when we say our family prayers. He never mentions it nor does he give up the praise for me. He doesn't give me praise or tell me when I've done well, and although I already know that I have done well, it makes me sad that he doesn't think to say it. Each of us needs to know whether we think we do or not. I appreciate this reminder today and will refocus my efforts. Oh, and incidentally, the Lord has blessed me with a multitude of loving friends who are angels in my life and who, on occasion, tell me that I'm doing well. ;)

Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com said...

Great post - makes me wanna give my hubby a big thank you hug when he gets home (late) tonight.

jeanine said...

This was a beautiful post... thank you Emily! What a great reminder... especially during this "month of love". In fact, I wrote a little note to my husband this morning.

Abbie said...

Awwwww! Love does win!

S said...

I, like Melissa, do not have a complimentary husband. Sometimes I envy my sisters and friends who have husbands that sing their praises. However, my husband is the kindest person I've EVER known. He's handsome, hardworking, good (on so many levels), inspiring, and I could go on. Sometimes I remind him that a compliment or two wouldn't hurt here or there. He appreciates the reminder and I enjoy the praise. He isn't the kind of person who needs/craves praise, but I am. We try to meet each other's needs on this, but it doesn't come naturally. I have learned that he is too wonderful to complain about the lack of praise and I've also learned to find the praise that I am seeking in his facial expressions and mannerisms. It's there. Also, if I just ask him, then he tells me just what he thinks. No sugar coating. That makes a compliment from him so much more valuable than from someone who is so free and giving with their praise.

Allison said...

I just love this post. Thank you for taking the time and thought to share this with us all!

k a t y said...

This was so beautiful. You put it so perfectly.