Sunday, March 7, 2010

Getting the Best of Me

My family (husband, three kids) and I sat down to watch nearly ten years worth of home movies the other day. A love marathon. It began with our wedding, and then moved quickly on to the kids. They appeared magically into our lives one by one, growing bigger and changing before our eyes by the minute. It was a sweet time for us, reminiscing and laughing and waxing poetic about chubby cheeks and funny firsts. But I was also faced with an ugly reality. In many of the videos, I noticed myself giving irritated glances to the photographer (aka my husband), as if his meticulous documentation of these wonderful years were somehow putting me out. Sure, we women worry about how our hair looks, or if we need a touch up on our lipstick, or the ominous unflattering angle. But to see myself from the other side, giving quick little huffy eyes to my husband, well... yuck.

I turned to him on the couch next to me. "Am I always such a turd?"

He attempted a quick smile, "Well, yeah." Then quickly thought to ease the blow, "I mean, sometimes. But I love you."

After I smacked him a good one, I softened. "I'm so sorry."

Why do I do that? I know we all do, sometimes. We give our best away, and leave our crappy, raw selves for the people we love the most. Over the next few days, I thought about who I was at home, and what a different person I can be with my friends. I started to wish my husband could see how sweet and caring and hilarious (and humble, too) I am around others.

Isn't that idiotic? Why do we give more to those, who -- quite frankly -- mean less? Why wouldn't my husband get the smoothed over, even-tempered, lovely and charming version of me? Even if only SOMETIMES. I know we get to be 'ourselves' around our spouses. There's a beauty in that, don't get me wrong. But we need... I need... to be careful not to abuse that private privilege. Sometimes, I need to give him -- and my kids too -- the 'me' that I use to charm my coworkers, acquaintances, and even strangers. Imagine that.

Think about it. I am willing to spend the extra fifteen minutes getting ready for a lunch date with a girl friend, and even after the most horrific morning with the kids (c'mon, it happens), I can somehow manage a winning smile and a funny story. So how hard is it, then, before my husband walks in the door after a long day, to at least do a quick fix-up in the mirror and put my attitude in check? It just might remind him that I'm a person who puts out a little extra effort for the ones I love. I do love him so dearly, after all.

And I'm sure going to remember it the next time it's recorded for posterity!

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