Saturday, June 15, 2013

Real Love is NOT a Big Diamond

The other day I was working a booth recruiting potential employees from the graduating high school’s senior class. As each candidate visited my booth I gave them a quick overview of what my company offered, then gave them a referral card and a lollipop. As the day progressed my presentation got shorter as did their attention spans. As I handed one young woman a card, she grabbed my hand exclaiming that she LOVED my wedding ring. “It’s gorgeous!” she gushed. “And big! Your husband must really love you!” And then she moved on to the next booth.

Oh, honey! I thought. The things you have yet to learn about real love!

First of all, my real wedding ring is a cubic zirconium. And I don’t wear it much because it means the world to me and the prongs are wearing thin. My husband bought it for me the first Christmas after we got married, as we’d used every spare dime we could scrape together to buy out his former wife’s share of the equity in our home. As mature adults, we realized the house meant much much more than a glittering third finger. And really, I’m not a diamond or a name brand kind of girl. I like being able to spend $30-$40 a couple of times a year to sport a new ring I really love. I never have to tire of the style of just one ring. Also, after the movie “Blood Diamond” I don’t have to worry about who or what is sacrificed for my piece of jewelry.

And to those of you who bought into the “This is an investment” sales pitch that I did in my first marriage? Wrong! I ended up getting about a fourth of what it was worth when I sold it for the down-payment on my bright red Chevy Beretta.

Enough about rings. Now let’s get to the down and dirty of real love. Little girl, Love is NOT the size of a ring or the cost. Love doesn’t have a thing to do with money.

I know because I have more than my share of the first, and very little of the second.

The girl was right about one thing though: My husband does love me. Very much. Here are some of the ways I know:

He always drives the rattier car. He drives all summer with no air conditioning so that I can drive the car where A/C works. He once spent every spare hour for a whole summer rebuilding the engine in my car to save us money, when he would much rather have been doing other things. He taught himself how out of a book. Now that’s love!

He always makes me feel like the most valuable thing he has. He spends every spare minute with me, preferring that to other activities. He will go to the mat to do anything I ask of him. If I say I’d like a certain book or CD, he remembers. And someday, months later, I’ll come home from work and that particular item will be on my pillow. He surprises me with flowers the same way. If it’s Valentine’s Day or my birthday or one of two anniversaries: he always remembers. Once he came home from work without telling me, hid the car, left flowers on the porch and rang the doorbell. When I opened it no one was there. I picked up the flowers and he stepped out of hiding to tell me he took the day off just to spend it with me. Another time when money was extra tight, he took a few dollars out of his weekly discretionary income to make payments on some angel figurine bookends. He did that for a whole year just so they’d be a surprise since it’s me that balances the checkbook and I’d have known otherwise.

And he always tells me how beautiful I am.

He does things few other men would do. Like I’m always telling him he has a beautiful singing voice and that someday for a gift I’d like him to sing a song for me. So a year or so later he sent me an email of himself singing a romantic song via a computer file because he was too embarrassed to do it in person. It was beautiful. He wrote me a poem once too, which is pretty brave as I am a writer who reads a lot of it. He did a great job!

When I was hospitalized for a blood clot this spring, he rarely left my side even though he was terrified. When I got nauseous, he got sympathy nausea. He wants me around for a long, long time.

Another way I know is that he loves dogs more than people. He doesn’t care if they pee on the carpet or stink up the bedspread. But he knows I care, and that I don’t like them all that much, and so he will agree to have his beloved pets only on the bed a couple hours a day, and cleans up dog messes like a trooper.

He’s not much for housework but often surprises me by cleaning something because he knows I am feeling overwhelmed by life. He loves all of our children, taking on some pretty big challenges when he took me as a wife. Not once has he been anything but an amazing and patient father.

 He is loyal to a fault, and boy can that man make me laugh. And if anyone tries to hurt me, look out! He is fiercely protective. He really loves me.

So, young almost-an-adult who thinks a big ring means love? I hope you find real love, and that you quickly learn it’s not measured by the carat, but by the caring.