Normal

“Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon.” - Percy Bysshe Shelley

A few years back my wife, who was at the time my girlfriend, gave me a Starbucks tumbler. I know I have received many great gifts over the years, least of which are the countless wool socks I have received since my feet first poked out of my footed pajamas and felt the ground with a layer of rubber in between. Those wool socks were not quite as appreciated when I was younger. Now I could nearly fill a whole drawer with them. Neck in neck with my socks for greatest gift ever was my first Starbucks tumbler. As with the socks, years before I probably wouldn’t have thought much of such a gift. For a sophomore in college whose addiction to appreciation for coffee was quickly developing, it became a close personal friend. I could fill it with scalding hot coffee at 7:30 in the morning, struggle through a morning class, sit in a cold chapel service for an hour, and still have a wonderful hot beverage waiting for me when I took my seat in whatever unfortunate class fell around lunch time.

Since this day, I have received another Starbucks tumbler from my amazing wife, and in turn I gave her a diamond ring. While it does not have the same heat-containing abilities, she seems to like it. Despite her obvious appreciation and love for ring, I have always known there was a hole in her heart that could not be filled with anything less than 8″ x 4″ of double walled stainless steel magic. Therefore, when my parents wondered what Ashton could use for her birthday, I leapt at the opportunity to help them bring closure to her subconscious yearning for such an item. I did some research on the Interwebs, found an acceptable tumbler, and passed on the information to my parents. Days later, after discussing if any of us was man or woman enough to order the Angry Dragon, Ashton was presented with the mug and (I’m certain) felt her life be changed forever.

This is where my reason for writing begins. Apparently the other women at Ashton’s work upon laying eyes on her tumbler immediately gained awareness of their own emptiness. Ashton explained that I had done some research about the mug since the one she previously used recklessly allowed its contents to lose temperature within an hour or so. Their response is what shocked me. “Awww, that was so thoughtful of him!”

What?

Perhaps I am overthinking this. Perhaps I am even misremembering (thanks Roger) exactly how they responded. I hope I am. I hope that their response was simple acknowledgement that I had done my duty as Ashton’s husband, which is to look out for her best interests and pour out love for her in each area of life. I hope that their responses don’t indicate that my actions are outside the norm of what they see to be the behavior of men in their life. I also hope that I do not allow actions like this to fall outside the norm of the type of husband I am for Ashton.

Ashton and I have only been married for about 8 months. I have already found that it can be incredibly easy to slip into laziness when it comes to showing her how much I appreciate her. People have always said marriage takes hard work. Guess what!

It’s true.

Our wedding was an incredible day. The reception was more fun than I could have imagined, and our honeymoon was the most relaxing week of my life. 8 months later, those things are still true. However, now we are working full time, taking classes, building lesson plans, and fighting colds. It was easy to do something thoughtful when I had all day on a beach in Jamaica to think about it. It is harder now when I am thinking about student loans, papers, and what we are going to try not to burn for dinner tonight.

It’s still important, if not more important. I hope that I continue to get better at this. I hope that I continue to work hard at it. I hope that it becomes normal.