My Funny Valentine

I’m trying to decide how to properly cherish my husband for Valentine’s Day. It seems like the holiday is more geared to shower gifts on women than men. Brent could give me a number of things: jewelry, flowers, candy. What to give to him? I could cook a nice meal but how’s that much different than what I (attempt) to do most every night of the week? Picking out a Valentine’s greeting card is as much fun as going to the dentist, especially if I have my kids with me. “Why’s that man only wearing tiny undies and why’s he so greasy and why does the card come with paper one dollar bills?” are not a questions I want to answer when they check out a birthday card for a woman celebrating her fortieth.

Brent and I are both painfully practical most of the time. You’re never going to see a picture of us hugging in front of a Lexus trimmed with a giant bow posted on facebook. We don’t live extravagantly so we don’t gift extravagantly either–at least not to each other. It may be a popular notion that women are focused on diamonds and roses and we’ll pout if we don’t get them but that stereotype isn’t very flattering.
Brent will recognize Valentine’s Day with something special because he’s thoughtful of my feelings and his mission is to build me up but it’s not necessarily going to be a balloon ride or a trip to Venice. The thing about Brent is he spends the other 364 days of the year bestowing small gifts on me. When we’re watching TV at night, he’ll ask if I need something to drink and get it for me. On Monday nights, he helps me sort the dirty clothes and on Tuesdays, he helps fold them. He always leaves me with the understanding that he is here to serve and care for me. That’s better than a million diamond tennis bracelets. When he listens to my tediously detailed stories about that day’s grocery shopping or my frustrations with the most recent episode of a Sister vs. Sister Cage Match, he’s giving me the most amazing gift of all–his attention.
It reminds me of the 90’s movie Singles. Bridget Fonda’s character is just looking for a boyfriend who says “Gesundheit” when she sneezes. (Although she prefers “bless you.” It’s nicer.) She realizes that good looks, lots of money, and charm is nice but it’s the little consistencies and considerations that make a difference.
So here’s my gift to Brent: Gesundheit, Baby and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Finding My Inner Introvert

After reading an article about shyness recently, I came to an astounding revelation: I’m an introvert! I know that some people would doubt this claim, but allow me to prove my point…

1. I frequently have to force myself to answer the phone even if the person calling is someone I like talking to. Once answered, I will have to: a) stop what I’m doing, b) pay attention, c) say something relevant, d) eventually end the conversation in a natural way, not just with “Well…bye…” I also don’t like making phone calls. I’ve needed to call my dermatologist’s office for over a week now to ask about a prescription for something other than the $700 cream he prescribed that my insurance won’t cover. Apparently, I’d rather have acne than talk to a receptionist for three minutes.

2. I get nervous talking to 98% of people I encounter daily. I start sweating profusely and talk too much. I say fifty words when two would be sufficient. When I went in for my annual GYN exam Monday I found myself asking my doctor questions just to fill the silence. (I don’t really want to know how an IUD works) And take it from me, when your doctor asks: “Is intercourse painful?” she doesn’t want anecdotal data to support your claim that everything’s working like clock-work in that area. She’s willing to take your word for it.

3. I’m exhausted by big groups. I prefer to spend most of my time alone or with a small group of people. When I came home from volunteering at school today I did a Mr. Rogers. I took off my jacket and shoes and put on a cardigan and slippers. I reveled in the solitude of my house. I was thrilled with the opportunity to iron Brent’s shirts and mend Knox’s jeans. I am officially the Most Boring Person in Murfreesboro.

One of the bright spots to the article was that many people are “ambiverts”–they can switch between introvert and extrovert. I guess that’s me. I can use which ever “vert” best suits the circumstance. Which led me to wonder if I was “ambi” in other ways. I know I’m not ambidextrous. Maybe I’m ambi-dessertous: I can both create and eat desserts with equal expertise. I’m not ambi-cleanbedous: I will faithfully wash all the bed sheets in the house every Saturday but just don’t look under the bed.

I guess it just goes to show you that you can’t put anyone in a box. Our intricately crafted personalities defy simplified labels and I like this about us. In an un-introverted way, I enjoy that surprise!