Monday, December 30, 2013

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My Wife Has Grown More Beautiful With Age

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1) I have been with Mel for almost ten years. I feel like she understands me more now than ever before. She knows that I hate condiments on my burgers, that my favorite color is dark green, and that I have difficulty sleeping when she is away. She knows a lot of silly little things about me. She’s invested a lot time in understanding me, as a person, and I find that really attractive, and it is only something that could have come through years of marriage.

2) Sometimes she sings in the kitchen. I first started noticing it last year. It’s always just under her breath, soft and smooth. She only does it when I’m not around, or when she thinks I can’t hear her, like she is just a little embarrassed by her voice, or something. It’s like she still has something to hide, like she still has a secret or two after all these years. I like to linger in the hallway, just outside of view, and listen to her sing, because it feels like I’m witnessing something intimate, sacred, and private, some mysterious part of her and I wonder what mysteries she still holds. 

3) On the flip side, I understand Mel more, too. I know that she hates getting up early, that she loves gardening, and her favorite color is bright green. I know that her weaknesses are orange soda, bacon, and gerber daisies (the same flowers we had at our wedding). I feel very comfortable around her, and that is sweet and wonderful and very attractive.

4) I work at a university, and most of the day I am around college girls. Yes. Many of them are young and attractive. However, most of them are bubbly, immature, and self-centered. I find it refreshing to come home to Mel, who is mature and understanding. She doesn’t bore me with the latest drama: how so and so is a bitch, or what’s his name isn’t giving her attention, or how important it is to have the latest iPhone. We talk about politics, kids, and making ends meet. We joke and laugh using inside jokes that only we understand. I feel like we are a team working toward a common goal, and that’s attractive.

5) Sometimes I look at the curves in Mel’s hips, maturity in her eyes, compassion on her hands, confidence in her stride, and realize that, somehow, she has grown more beautiful with age. 

6) I love my kids, and there is something really attractive about the way Mel cares for them. She listens to them and understands them in ways that I cannot. When I see her calm Norah down by listing to her and presenting her with a compromise I never would’ve dreamed of, or when I see her sit down and teach Tristan in ways that can only be accomplished by someone who knows a person inside and out, I realize that she is essential to our kids becoming something significant. And frankly, that is attractive. 

7) I know that Mel hates to be tickled. I know that she hates driving the car, rated R movies, when I don’t call and let her know I will be getting home late, when I put the toilet paper on underhand, and when I don’t separate her underwear properly. I know a lot about what she doesn’t like. Which means I know how to act when it comes to keeping us from arguing. And while some might see this as me admitting that I’m whooped, I find comfort in it. By knowing how to avoid a fight, I feel in control. It took me a long time to understand my wife (although I must say that each day I seem to learn something new about her). Not knowing what will and what will not anger a woman makes me uncomfortable, and not having to deal with that is attractive. 

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Clint Edwards is a tutor coordinator at Oregon State University. He is also the former co-host of the Weekly Reader on KMSU and a graduate of the MFA program at Minnesota State University. His writing has been listed as notable by Best American Essays, and has been published in The Baltimore Review, and through The University of North Dakota, Boston College, Emerson College, The University of South Carolina, and Minnesota State University.