If you are even slightly paying attention you will begin to notice that there is something so powerful about Christmas that people who ordinarily may not be big on conversing are suddenly overflowing with conversation. I absolutely love this aspect of Christmas, it seems to bring out the most inner thoughts that people have on almost any subject. Even those who may not actually be celebrating Christmas seem to get caught up in this aspect of the holiday.
Our home is under construction right now (Yep right smack in the middle of the holidays), and as I was leaving for work yesterday I stopped to ask our builder to please lock up everything when he was finished for the day. This gentleman is completely “old school” hard-working, nose the grind type who on an average day I’m guessing prays under his breath that home owners will be way to busy to stop and engage in idle chatter. This day was different he climbed down from his ladder and his words began to flow.
He said “you know my wife and I have been married for almost 50 years, and we have raised five children, and we have twenty-six grandchildren.” He had my attention as soon as he had stepped off the ladder. My mind was immediately thinking about what he was going to say next. He had said this with half a smile and a look that conveyed deep concern. He told me that his father had died when he was just two years old, and his mother had to work day and night to keep a roof over their heads. He knew from day one he wanted a wife who would stay home, and raise their children, even if it meant he had to work two or three jobs. He was not a chauvinistic man he just loved the idea of a family life he himself had wished for as a child. He had found a woman who wanted this life too, and he had no regrets about his choices.
Then he told me that his mother-in-law had recently moved in with them in order to makes sure that his wife was not alone. I found this to be very curious, in my mind I had jumped to the conclusion that the mother-in-law would be the one in need of help. His eyes were filled with sadness he told me his wife had a mini-stroke. He was with her when it happened she suddenly lost her ability to speak, her ability to walk was impaired. Seeing her like this was horrible for him! He then looked me straight in the eye and said she always takes care of me. She doesn’t have to do these wonderful things for me but she does it anyway. He smiled, and said that on holidays they go to their families homes, that she will hunt him down, and bring him a plate already prepared with his favorite foods.
He told me how his mother-in-law was a good guest, but that having her in their home changed their life style in a way he could not explain. He said that he appreciated that she was there with his wife, then he nodded his head and climbed back up his ladder to work. I understood his feelings. When you happily share your life, and a home with another person for so many years a subtle dance forms. You move together in a way that’s kind of like a beautiful slow dance, life in tandem a dance that can not be done with anyone other than your life partner. I knew this was the first time in his life he had actually realized how much this dance was a part of him, and how it wouldn’t work without her. 😉