The good Lord knows that too often, I'm absorbed in myself and my own desires. When I think about other people in relation to me, I'm sure it's too often in the negative sense of "how this person is not living up to my expectations" or "what is he or she not doing for me?." All those people who actually offer kind services and sacrifices for me - well, I'm afraid many of them probably go unnoticed, or unappreciated. And for this reason, the fact that I was so aware yesterday of all the many little sacrifices Tom was making for me leads me to suspect that has been really doing so much more.
But I do think there was definitely something intentional in his expression of commitment and love yesterday, and I am left with a vague wondering about it. But mostly, just feeling so grateful for this man who loves me as he does.
There were many little things I noted throughout the day. His asking for me to make a choice about some activity, and then always deferring to my advice; offering many little favors or doing useful tasks around the house before having to be asked...
He shaved off his recently regrown beard and mustache for me. He likes the facial hair, and had been turning down my requests for him to shave for weeks. But the other day, I hinted about it again, and he went right to the bathroom and did it. And yesterday, he cleared out all the weeds and debris from the garden patches so I'll finally be able to plant things this week. And he moved all the stuff that's been in the basement, making me almost trip everytime I do the laundry. All these little things I've been asking him to do for a while now, and I feel like he was on a mission to fulfill every last one of those requests in one day. I wonder...what prompted that?
Another one that really stood out was when Tom changed a very poopy diaper. It doesn't sound like a big deal - he's changed them before, of course. But usually, when Sly finds himself needing a major diaper change like that, Tom and I go back-and-forth briefly about who's "turn" it is, or make excuses for why we shouldn't be the one to do it. Usually such exchanges are pretty lighthearted, but it's still the way we decide it.
So yesterday all during Mass - and it was a LONG one. Tridentine High Mass on Palm Sunday - we were catching whiffs of the offensive diaper as we bounced Sly around, trying to keep him content. We had left the diaper bag in the car, though, so knew it had to wait until the end. We occasionally cast looks of minor dread at one another, then looked pointedly towards Sly's bum. It was clear that neither of us wanted to deal with the source of the odor; so I was convinced that at the end of Mass, it would have surely come down to something like rock-paper-scissors to decide who would have to perform the unpleasant task. But as soon as the recessional hymn ended, Tom volunteered immediately! Wow - okay, sure!
And then there was the sweet ending to a day of so many meaningful little acts of service. But this one will need a little bit of background...
So I gave up sweets, desserts, candies, etc. for Lent. It really shouldn't be such a difficult thing for me. I've given myself harsher penances in the past. But my sweet tooth is pretty demanding, and some days have been tough. So I very much look forward to my Sundays, when I finally get to eat something delicious and sweet. We've had a carton of ice cream in the fridge which I've been "saving" so that I can have a bit every Sunday. On Saturday night, Tom asked me if he could have a bowl of it (he didn't give up sweets!). I hesitated, wanting to refuse and selfishly ask him to eat something else, but instead said, "fine...just as long as you don't finish it!" He assured me that he wouldn't, and said there was still plenty left.
So yesterday evening after dinner, I anxiously broke out the carton to have the tasty dessert I'd been looking forward to. And inside, I saw that there was literally no more than a teaspoonful of ice cream left! And that only if you were to scrape the few freezer-burned remains from every side of the carton!
"What the heck?!"I complained, "you said you didn't take it all!!" Tom - even after peering in to the empty carton I was now holding right in his face - still had the gall to insist that he didn't take it all, and there was still enough left for "at least two spoonfuls." Humph. That's not what I meant at all when I asked him to leave some for me!!
I was kind of upset (but mostly disappointed). I think he felt a little bad, though. He probably realized that his assessment of the ice cream situation had perhaps been a tad off, the night before. Or maybe it was all a part of whatever resolution he seemingly made that day about how he wanted to serve me more. At any rate, he offered to go out and get me more ice cream! Yay!
When he came home 15 minutes later, he was not only holding a fresh new carton of cold, creamy, chocolaty goodness, but also - THESE:
This is huge. Tom never gets me flowers. Ever. Okay, there was one time. After a year of very strong hinting (Actually, it was much more than hinting. I had to set out elaborate arguments over the course of many separate conversations, trying to convince him that I really did like flowers, and not just because society had programmed me to believe that I should like them, because I was a woman), he got me flowers on our first dating anniversary. But not a single time since. And he still made a big fuss about it every time I dropped hints about liking flowers, and insisted that they were the most pointless gift ever.
Until last night!
He explained that as he walked into the supermarket to get the ice cream, he noticed another man walking out, holding roses. And Tom was struck with what a nice gesture that was for the lady that man was going home to. And so he decided to emulate it. Thank you, man at the supermarket!
(And this is why we need more good gentlemanly-men to serve as role models for the others!)
So...yeah. I don't think I should mention to Tom that I've noticed this sudden increase in his commitment to pleasing me. But I should certainly make sure to thank him and let him know how much he is appreciated, and to do my best to reciprocate.