Sunday, May 29, 2011

Benjamin of Greatness

Blogfriends, there is an emergency! Ben reports a concern that some of my HappyNashes posts might portray him in a negative light, most specifically his advice to me that I mention in "Boy," when he told me not to worry about feeling disconnected from C right after his birth, because it was just a little trick of nature. This simply will not do. When B is concerned about his online reputation, the only thing for a wife to do is counteract this by explaining, in great detail, his greatness.

Ben's greatness comes in the small moments, his daily faithfulness and acts of love and loyalty. I could tell stories all day long but I will pick a couple that stand out. Reasons he is awesome:

Reason #1: I scalded myself with tea, and instead of laughing he demanded a bag of ice from the Food Court Wendy's for me.

When we had been dating only a little over a month, I was gesturing wildly and somehow managed to spill an entire Venti size Starbucks tea (Ginger Peach!), full of nearly-boiling water, all over myself. I was embarrassed but he was so nice about it. I went to the bathroom to salvage my dignity, and while I was gone he sweet-talked a bag of ice out of the Wendy's employees for me to put on my scalded shoulder. Yes, I said shoulder. I don't spill hot tea on my lap or leg like a normal person. I spill it on my shoulder. He probably wanted to laugh at me. But he didn't.

Reason #2: He compliments dinner.

Ben has long work days, sometimes coupled with music practices right afterward, and often arrives home in a state resembling Wile E. Coyote crawling across the desert, tongue hanging out, seeing a mirage of water off in the distance. He pants, drops his briefcase, and collapses with a cartoon cloud of dust onto the floor. Okay, so maybe it isn't quite that dramatic, but let's just say, some days his work really takes it out of him. But when he eats dinner, he tells me it's good and rinses his plate and puts it all in the sink before settling on the couch to look through the ACME catalog. It might not seem like a big thing, but it's a consideration that I appreciate.

Reason #3: He takes care of the yard.

This is not a small thing either, but I can say that in five years of being married I have never once touched a lawn mower, edger, or weed whacker. I am semi-willing to do so, but I have never had to. Even in the dead of summer, when only snakes, lions, and prehistoric locusts venture outside, he risks life and limb, mauling, snake attack, dehydration, and heat exhaustion to take care of it.

Reason #4: He fights the snakes.

Sometimes we find snakes in the yard. I am not afraid of roaches, spiders, lizards, or other creepy-crawlies, but I am terrified of snakes. It doesn't matter to me the size, shape, genus, or species of the snake. If it slithers and has a forked tongue, I turn into a teenager in a horror movie, clutching the side of my face and jumping up on tables and screaming like a lunatic. I am even afraid of snake eggs, because in my mind there are tiny spring-loaded death-embryos waiting to burst forth and immediately kill and eat me. Hate them. And when snakes appear, even though Ben hates them probably as much as I do (although I will specify here for the sake of his reputation that he is not afraid of snake eggs), he always goes out to do battle, and doesn't complain about it.

Reason #5: Ambition.

I have a mild level of career ambition. There are things I want in my present and future work life. But Ben's ambition is like my ambition... on steroids. He is always looking for ways to move forward, better himself, move ahead, work harder, etc. His ambition has resulted in a stable financial situation for us, and an environment in which I can work part-time and stay home with the kids, without crippling anxiety about the monthly bill totals. The absence of the clenched-fist-of-money-worry in the pit of my stomach is a huge deal.

Reason #6: He has a bad memory, in a good way.

I can't tell you how many times we have had a difference of opinion, and I spend the whole next day worrying about the tense conversation we had. I talk to him and say, "I'm sorry the way our conversation went last night," and he doesn't even remember what I am talking about. I'll be snappy and mean about something and a half hour later when I apologize he just laughs and says, "Oh, that. It doesn't even bother me." He leaves the past in the past, which is a great skill, and one that I can learn from.

All in all, Ben is a great husband and father, and I still find lessons for myself in his personality. Since I met him I have become more relaxed, kinder, MUCH less sarcastic, more able to enjoy the big and little things in life, happier, better fed, gentler on myself, and in general a better person, and a better connoisseur of rare Scotch whiskeys. If not for him I would be trapped in an IKEA-decorated apartment watching Nora Ephron movies and trying to think of new sarcastic comments to say as I drank cosmopolitans.

Friends, I shudder at the thought.


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