Monday, February 13, 2017

Who Needs Diamonds?

I walked into the office yesterday, my son Eric was hunched over the computer with my husband. They were whispering fiercely, their voices stopping the instant I entered the room. I peered over the vast expanse of the desk and asked, "What, you're buying underwear?" My husband looked up with a pained expression. He hates shopping of any form. He rolled his eyes at our son, who wouldn't meet my eyes. "What are you looking for?" Neither answered. "Can I help?" I asked. They both shifted uncomfortably. Eric and his older brother Michael had bought their wives a Valentines Day presents.

at our engagement party 44 years ago

I think it bothered him that both my daughters in law would receive Valentines's gifts and he knew my husband had not planned to get me anything. He was trying to help him pick something for me. While there is nothing my husband would deny me, he is not one to shop for a present. We've been together for 46 years now, and my mom was his main source when buying me presents. Every piece of jewelry, scarf, or even night gown, was purchased for him to give to me. I think it meant more to her than either one of us. When she passed away, celebrations were too hard for us to enjoy without her, so we stopped exchanging gifts. It wasn't important to either one of us. 

twenty years ago in Greece

While I was incredibly touched by my son's concern, don't think it bothers me. I have a rich history with my husband. I met him when I was sixteen and the minute I saw him I knew we were meant to be. He taught me how to drive, we built a successful business together. He was alone, his parents lived half a world away from us. He adopted my entire family as if they were his own, sharing everything we had with them. He employed most of them, took them on vacations, cooked a never ending barbecue every Sunday where my siblings brought their new extended families into our fold. It wasn't all peaches and cream. 

David and me eight years ago

He's an only child, he has very specific ideas and can be a hard sell, yet he allowed my family to influence him as well. Twenty years or so ago, we took both my parents and the kids on a cruise to Greece. We had a lovely time. It was a trip of a lifetime. We got to Santorini and took the cable car to the top of the cliff. When we arrived at the summit, our driver met us explaining the only way to the van was down the steep incline. We all walked, I asked nervously how would we return to the port. He explained we had to climb the cobbled hill and take the cable car back. I could see my father pale. He was in his sixties and huffing from the effort.He was frail and had had a bypass a few years before. He didn't walk much and I worried about him. Both he and I failed to enjoy the black sand beaches, or the blue domed churches that dotted the hillside. All we were thinking about was that arduous climb back to the cable car. We had lunch on a boardwalk that jutted out over the remains of sunken ruins the villagers claimed was Atlantis. They pulled the fish right out of the ocean, cooked it specially for us. I knew it was delicious but the entire meal I ate tasted like dust to me. All I could think about was how was he going to climb that mountain. My husband disappeared while I moved the food around my plate. 

My dad and me on the rescue boat in Greece. Look at the way I'm looking at him and look at his relief. 

My father, mother, and I dreaded the return trip from the scenic town. My husband was gone for quite a while. I got up and went looking for him. I heard a horn blast from the ocean in front of me. My husband was in the stern of a fishing boat, a wide smile on his face. He jumped off the boat onto the dock as soon as he moved closer. "Go finish your meal, maybe now you'll enjoy it!" he told me. "What?" It seems, he had spoken to the restaurant owner and rented his boat to take us directly to to the cruise ship. I saw the relief on my Mom and Dad's face. All I could think was that my husband was my hero. To me that boat was a white horse and he rescued not only me, but my parents as well. We all sat down and enjoyed the rest of our meal. We got a special tour of the "other" side of Santorini on our fishing boat and for me an unforgettable memory of true love. My life is filled with a treasure chest of moments like that when he did something I never even knew I needed. Who needs diamonds when you've have a lifetime of memories like that?

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