I am married to a swarthy Sicilian. He is dark and handsome and.... hairy. All his hairs look the same: short, dark, coarse, and curly.
The other day I opened the camera on my phone while it was pointed down at some vintage Fire King coffee mugs that my mom gave me. I liked the way it looked, so I snapped the picture.
Later, I took a closer look.
Aren't they awesome mugs? Let's just ignore what I'm going to assume is a beard hair on the kitchen table. Okay?
We all know my husband, Curtis, is fabulous. Even he knows it.
He sends me flowers and rubs my feet.
He writes me the sweetest notes and puts up with my incessant picture taking.
Not to mention, he's the greatest dad in the whole world.
Just look at him. How could you not love him?
He really is a doll... no REALLY, he's a DOLL.
Okay, so the outfit is not quite right, but slap a Heineken t-shirt and a pair of baggie shorts on this guy and it's totally Curtis!
Also, my new friend, Stacey, at Blogs Tea & Me is giving these dolls away!
I've entered to win one and I get an extra entry for writing a blog post about her contest (not that I wouldn't have said all those nice things about Curtis, anyway). If you want to enter to win one of these dolls yourself, go here. (If you win, you can always give it to me as an early Christmas present, if you want, because that would be kinda weird for YOU to have a Curtis Doll propped up on your shelf or lying on your bed.)
I brought Curtis flowers for his birthday. He's not the kind of guy you'd think would like flowers. I mean, look at him.
This guy wants guns and ammo and scotch, not flowers.
But we have a thing about magnolias. He would like to have a magnolia tree in our yard. I would not. He has fond memories of his mother picking magnolia blossoms, putting them in a bowl of water and letting the smell fill the room. Being from the North, I have no such memories (unless you're talking lilacs… oh, I miss lilacs). All I know about magnolias is that they come from huge trees (like take over your whole yard huge) and they drop large leathery leaves all year long (what is known as a "dirty" tree).
For his birthday, though, I decided to pick him some magnolias. Mike helped.
We put them in a bowl of water, just like old times. I even put one on his bedside table, so he'd awaken to the smell of sweet memories.
First of all, he didn't even notice the huge bloom and bowl by his bed when he woke up. I had to point it out.
"Oh. A magnolia." [sniff] "Thanks."
His enthusiasm was underwhelming, but he just woke up, so I'd give him a break.
Not much later, I asked, "So how did you like your magnolias?"
Still underwhelming, so I persisted, fishing for enthusiasm... something... "Smell like you remember?"
"They don't smell the same. Maybe they aren't ripe enough."
"Ripe enough? We aren't talking about fruit here. These are flowers. They open; they smell; they die. They are about as "ripe" as they are gonna get."
"I'm thinking maybe it wasn't magnolias that my mother used to get, after all."
Actually, as it turns out his mother used to pick gardenias, not magnolias. Happy birthday, anyway.
Thanksgiving Day this year didn't go quite as I had planned. Curtis had to work until 3pm (shame on all who fly on holidays). It was also King's dad's year to "have" him for Thanksgiving, but he and his wife had graciously invited us over to their house for Thanksgiving dinner. Not exactly a "traditional" arrangement, but Curtis and I would be able to spend the holiday with both of our children: a complete family (and then some).
The only truly traditional happening was that our family was playing that old holiday favorite: "Pass-the-Virus". Curtis and Mike had cought a cold. Mike woke up Thanksgiving morning barking like a bull seal. I was valiantly trying to fight off the bug by downing immune enhancing fizzy vito-mineral cocktails. My plan was to get as much rest as possible before Curtis got home, then pump Michael full of cough supressant, so that at least he wouldn't be spraying his germs quite so violently around the holiday table.
I woke from my nap to find Curtis home and Michael hacking away, worse than ever. I laid out my "plan" for Curtis, to which he responded:
"What are you talking about? Do you hear Michael coughing? We can't go!"
[NEEDLE SLIDING OFF RECORD]
I will spare you all the ugly details of my reponse to this proclamation. Let it suffice to say that it culminated with me spitting out the utterly unhelpful question:
"So, what, we just cancel Thanksgiving then?"
Curtis was right, of course. We were invited guests to someone else's celebration - guests that were supposed to bring beer and pie, not a heaping helping of the rhinovirus to share. In my mind, however, Thanksgiving was ruined and I proceeded to make sure it remained ruined, no matter who I took down with me. While Curtis was trying to salvage our day by trekking out to Ruby Tuesdays to pick up some $9.99 Thanksgiving Turkey Specials (no cranberry sauce... grrr) and Double Chocolate Cakes (no pie... grrr), I was plotting to remove the last semblance of Thanksgiving tradition: football. I flipped through the channels and decided upon "The Fiddler on the Roof", which was just starting. In my semi-concious effert to punish the messenger, the bearer of Thanksgiving Day gloom (i.e. Curtis), I had landed upon the perfect weapon... a Jewish Musical!
Poor, Reb Tevye. He had built his life on traditions and they were all crumbling out from underneath him.
"Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions our lives would be as shaky as, as... as a fiddler on the roof!"
Oh, how I could relate. My "traditions" were slipping away from me, too.
"Who should have her children with her on Thanksgiving?
Have some turkey with cranberry sauce and pie?
The Mama! The Mama! Tradition!"
I have learned over the years, that nothing sends me down the drain faster than a special day being treated like any other day. This is why I always make sure I plan something for myself on my birthday. Forget all that coyness, waiting to see if people remember, which only leads to dissapointment. However, considering the current situation, all my efforts to keep special days special can be thwarted easily enough by... well... real life.
So who's really to blame for this Thanksgiving "disaster"? Let's start with the usual suspects: me trying to control things I have no control over and setting my hopes on them. Time to shake off my tiara and stop worrying so much about how I am going to make the holidays sufficiently jolly and focus a bit more on what makes the ordinary days, not quite so ordinary. Traditions are not bad, but they are only worthwhile if they point me to the goodness that can be found in regular time.
Things to be thankful for on days other than the fourth Thursday of November:
- My husband still has a job, even on holidays.
- My eldest son has two whole families who love him.
- I have a roof over my head, food on the table, a family to love, and all the wonderful, ordinary things that go along with them.
- My God loves me enough to tear down my faulty foundations once in awhile in order to turn my heart back to Him.
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed." Isaiah 28:16
A little over two years ago I was sitting on my bed holding a pregnancy test which told me I was expecting my second child. I had been divorced only ten months and had been dating Curtis for eight. Not exactly the fairy tale you dream about as a little girl. For my second wedding I think I'll wear a maternity dress and I'll have morning-sickness so bad that even the catered potatoes will taste like bile. But this was reality and I was seriously scared.
I was still feeling like a failure from my first marriage and I felt especially guilty about my son. I had taken his daddy away and now I was plunging him into this situation. How many lives can one woman screw-up in the course of a year?
I looked over at Curtis, then twenty-six years old, and he was smiling. SMILING!? Was he crazy? In shock? Does he not understand what this means?
You know, I think he would have asked me to marry him that night if he had thought it wouldn't put me over the edge. He was faced with marriage to a divorcee, six-and-a-half, sometimes seven, years his senior, who already had a child by another man and he never even flinched. With that smirk on his face he pledged his never ending love and loyalty to me and my son and he hasn't looked back since. He plowed into this instant family with instant problems like it was the mission he had been training for all his life. I was floored then, and I am amazed today.
You know what was really wrong with those fairy tale dreams I had as a little girl? I wasn't dreaming big enough. The things that God wanted for me and had planned for my life were better than I could imagine. There is absolutely no way I would or could have gotten to this place on my own. You can try and try, and work your hands raw arranging your life the way you want it, but it will always fall short of God's desires for you. We simply cannot dream that big.
God took my wreck-of-a-life and said, "You are my sweet daughter of light. Even though you cannot see your worth, I am going to give you a glimpse of the place you belong." God's grace and mercy on me have been overwhelming. I asked for a way out, but He gave me a way home. His greatness and faithfulness have turned my colossal failures into little stones on a path that leads toward a magnificent kingdom.
Happy Anniversary, Curtis.