100% Polyester Love

Ten years ago this week I was a glowing bride-to-be. We were caught up in the hustle and bustle of preparing for our December 7th wedding. It was a whirlwind three-month engagement and I was head over heels with it all. I enjoyed just about every second of the planning and preparing. Our wedding, complete with its sparkling Christmas touches, was a dream. My favorite moment was when I was on my Dad’s arm and the doors to the sanctuary opened and I could see Kraig’s face as I walked toward him down the aisle. His eyes never left mine and he wore a huge smile above that rented tuxedo. There was no doubt he was in love with me. And I was so in love with him.

This week we’ve been in a hustle and bustle of a different sort as we’ve led up to our 10th anniversary. The term whirlwind can now be used to describe our three little tornadoes who breeze through the house and who have swept us off of our feet. We plan and prepare now for their Christmas activities and gifts as well as extended family parties, work get-togethers and 2nd grade holiday shops.

It’s been a busy time, but Kraig has done something to make the week leading up to our anniversary extra special. Starting last week, ten days before our actual anniversary, he gave me a gift. He gave me a note as well that explained that for the following ten days I’d be receiving one gift a day leading up to our 10th anniversary. Even more, these gifts would be themed based on the traditional symbol of each year’s anniversary. So for example, the first anniversary is paper, the fourth flowers, the tenth tin, etc.

Each day I’ve been enjoying the anticipation of receiving my note and gift from Kraig. But so far, the second day has been my favorite.

The second anniversary’s traditional symbol is cotton. Kraig gave me a pair of pink pajama pants. I really like pink and comfy pajama pants are great… but that’s not the best part.

As he clearly explained that these pants were for our “Cotton Anniversary” I read the label largely displayed on the tag. 100% Polyester.

Yep. Not a fiber of cotton in them.

I looked up and saw Kraig’s face. That same smile I saw 10 years ago as I walked down the aisle was there. We may both look a little older and weathered a bit, but those eyes and that smile still tell me that no matter the fiber in the pants, that man loves me with every fiber of his being.

I can’t wait to see what else I get this week. But cotton, polyester, tin or diamonds it doesn’t really matter. I’ve already got the real treasure.

The Popcorn Bowl.

What do I think of when I think of true love, commitment, and romance? You’ll probably never guess. Ok, maybe if you read the title of this post you’ve got a good idea. Otherwise, would you believe our popcorn bowl is what triggers reminders for me of how much I love my husband?

Yeah, it sounds crazy. But I’m going to let you in on an intimate detail of our marriage. Here goes. My husband loves to eat popcorn in the evenings. When he’s done with his snack, he leaves the popcorn bowl, full of kernels, on the counter. This irks me. …Yep, that’s the intimate detail.

This has been going on for years now. Can he not just throw the kernels away and wash the crazy bowl by himself. Yes, he very well could. But he doesn’t.

Now, we have a pretty traditional marriage where I do almost all of the cooking and cleaning. I’m good with this and enjoy it, for the most part. But the difference has been that I don’t usually actually use the popcorn bowl myself as opposed to when I make dinner and use the dishes for all of our family. So for some reason, the popcorn bowl feels different. Like it’s sitting there…just one more thing I’m expected to do before I head to bed.

This has gotten me a little steamed inside… and eventually my inner kernel popped! I finally voiced my displeasure one night asking why he expects this bowl to magically become clean and appear in the cupboard for his next salty rendezvous.

His response? He hadn’t even thought about it. He wasn’t intentionally leaving more work for me to do. To him it wasn’t any different from any other dish we used in our home.

Really?! Did he not realize I didn’t use the bowl and I instead felt used myself because he just expected me to put it away. This was news to him…

So how does this story end? Has something changed? Does Kraig now wash the bowl every time and return it to its rightful place in the cupboard? Yes, something has changed… but it’s not anything Kraig does. What’s changed? My perspective. When I realized he wasn’t intentionally trying to get my proverbial goat, I decided to change how I viewed the popcorn bowl. Now I see it as a round, shiny, salty, and silly little labor of love. I know, it’s weird. But, it’s a regular reminder to me now of how much I love this man.

I know he could easily wash it himself, and he’s even offered. But now for me it’s a tangible way to remind ME of how much I love him. And I’ve realized this doesn’t work if I do it with a bad attitude. But if I think of washing that bowl as a way to express how much I love Kraig, I even sometimes smile while scrubbing that thing clean.

We’ve got wedding rings and three kids to remind us of our commitment and history together. They are great reminders too. But on a regular basis, I’ve got a popcorn bowl to help me with this kernel of wisdom: I love the man who eats the popcorn. And when I think of all he does for me and for our children, I can season the menial tasks of my day with a proper perspective. And, that has made the popcorn bowl a savory symbol of romance in my eyes.

Now, if I could only do the same with the clothes hamper.