December 29, 2013

The Memory of a Lifetime...and he got a toaster.

When we bought our house, the front door was a perfectly respectable color:  a nice, stately black.  A little faded, yes, but otherwise nice.  Just nice.  It didn't scream at you if you drove by. It matched the shingles.  Perfectly fine, but so not me.  Shortly after moving in, I painted it red.  Red seemed like the perfect color on that particular day, and I lived with it for a bit until it wasn't the perfect color anymore.

It must be stated at this point that my mother is the queen of all things color.  It's like some weird sense only few people have, like the ability to see auras. At least I think that is also an amazing skill.  I truly believe her color thingy trumps Martha Stewart's or any other gazillionaire decorator.  

So, Mother and I decided it was time to move away from the red and onto new frontiers.  She brought over her chips (I must tell you at this point she has at least 15 boxes ~ those clear shoebox size ~ full of paint chips, all organized in ways only art people would understand, which is to say I don't.) and we found this color of green and declared it the "perfect" shade of green.  And it is.  Perfect for all seasons and any color of flowers should I ever get off my lazy arse and actually plant flowers.  

Upon arriving home to find the front door area covered in plastic and painter's tape, my husband asked exactly why I needed to change the color. We promptly explained the concept of the "perfect" shade of green.  It doesn't scream at you; rather, it invites you to sit on the (matching but horribly painted by a pissed-off 12 year-old) front bench, but watch for the stray nails poking out here and there.  It says, "This door opens to a happy house." (Most of the time, but never at the nasty homework hour.)  It reminds me to frolic about and not be so serious.  Mother can read colors, but they speak to me. They do not, under any circumstances, speak to my husband.  The door has become the butt of all jokes:  "Is that the perfect pair of shoes, like the perfect front door?"  and so on....

So what has my amazing front door got to do with anything?

Well, let me tell you...

I should have known there was a plot brewing because my better half was very sure to remind me several times how he was waiting until at least December 21 to shop, and it might possibly be December 23.  Let me clarify right here.  He is a liar.  As I was explaining to him we should not spend much on each other and I had only gotten him two small things, and quite unglorious gifts at that, he already had my gift.  Did I mention he was a liar? He let me carry on with my heartfelt conversation about saving money and such, all the while knowing his gift was snugly wrapped up and tucked away. Liar.  But I heart him for his lie because his gift was a once-in-a-lifetime, glorious, exquisite and joyful thing from the bottom of his amazing heart.

I was given a box, a quite nice Dior white leather box, from my mother. I knew something was going to happen and that something would make me cry, so I went ahead and started before I opened anything.  I like to be proactive that way.  While I had started my crying jag, I opened the box to find a sweet pale pink hankie with a note:
Are you crying yet?
I never have a hankie or a tissue or anything remotely appropriate when I cry. I pinch the snot and wipe my eyes with my hands because in my head I'm not a tender-hearted mush.  I'm a tough broad, and yet I cry at every inappropriate moment...

At this point, Niagra Falls is a tiny creek barely an inch deep compared to the waterworks I am providing.  My husband tenderly passes me a box and I manage to open it.  Inside I find a CD the perfect shade of green. When I open it, I find a CD with a picture of our most recent family photo.  I look up at him and asked him if he had bought the digital rights to that photo session.  He said we should watch it and show the family, so I took my spot front-and-center on the couch while he hooked up everything to the TV.  With children on each side cuddled up, we watched...

My husband, in cahoots with my parents and our wonderful friend/photographer Jessica Sharpe, had compiled a biography of my life, complete with songs special to us and notes from him.  It starts with my baby pictures and Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" and ends with our family photos from this fall with Shania Twain's "You're Still The One".  In between those two songs was the song we danced to at our wedding, "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascall Flatts, which sums up our road perfectly.  

It contains pictures of my precious Aunt (of Stripper Dip fame) and my beloved grandparents, three of whom have passed on.  It was full of funny photos of my high school days, including all my bestest friends.  There were plenty of our children from the days we brought them home from the hospital to their current ages.  It is 39 years of memories placed lovingly together just for me.  That's love, ya'll.

To give you an idea of what they have pulled off, my mother dug through boxes of photos I didn't even know existed.  She pulled together somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 photos!!!  The whole time I've been accusing my better half of wasting his days off, he was patiently scanning pictures and working with Jessica.  Remember that perfect shade of green from the start of this blog? He took a picture of it, emailed it to Jessica, who then color-matched it for the CD case.  It's that detailed.  For real.  They pulled off the gift of a lifetime.

I am blessed.  I am loved.  I am thankful.  And he got a toaster.