Today is an unusual day. I try to be a person who unabashedly lets others into my world, allowing them to know the real me. However, as most people of my gender, the level to which I reveal myself is usually somewhat guarded. But, today is an unusual day. Today I am going to lift my robe and reveal something about myself that may change the way people think of me but I can’t avoid it. It must be done! But first a little background.
People need people. We are relational beings. One of the main ways that need pans out among humanity is through the institution of marriage. People get married all the time for a variety of reasons, all of which boil down to a desire for relationship. I am no exception. I need people. And once upon a time, I met a person. She was 12 years old at the time and over the course of the next several years we became friends. Nearly a decade after meeting, she had morphed from a lanky, pimply, straight haired, knocked kneed little girl, to a downright hottie. So, in my need for “relationship”, I up and married her.
The Global war on Terror has presented many challenges to our world, our nation and the men and women who currently find themselves away from friends, family, and home. One of the larger challenges faced by today’s American soldier is the fact that many, like myself, are married. As such, much work must be done to maintain the quality of those marriages in the face of extended separations over many important days. Holidays, birthdays, graduations, and promotions are days regularly missed by our uniformed service members. And in the realm of marriage, wedding anniversaries in recent days are being spent continents apart from one another. Online chat has of necessity replaced pillow talk among soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines deployed in support of the war. But these great men and women are resourceful, to say the least. And the advent of the Internet has helped bridge the distance between separated husbands and wives on this, one of the most important days of the year.
Today marks the 17th anniversary of my marriage to my wonderful wife. She is a simple woman who doesn’t require much and yet makes the most of everything she has. She enjoys the decidedly feminine things in life and at the same time mows a mean lawn. My brothers call her “a pioneer woman” because of her ability to take covered wagon surroundings and turn them into a livable and enjoyable environment for her family. And we, like many others have spent our fair share of anniversaries apart from one another. But I have discovered a way to ease the pain of separation while at the same time, causing me much emotional grief and making this such an unusual day. So it is that with that background information in mind, I lift the veil and expose myself.
This year, in my efforts to do something nice for my wife, I went to the source of gifts for nearly all deployed service members…the internet. Man, you can get anything and have it sent right to your house (in a beautifully gift wrapped package) as if you had gone to the local mall. Well, my bride loves comfortable, workable pajamas. She loves flannel and cotton and silk. She loves long sleeves and long pants with pretty drawstrings. You know, the kind of things that give guys hives. But she likes em…a lot. So this year, I struck gold. I went to a well from which the waters of wedded bliss can be drawn with impunity. I went to www.pajamagram.com. This was the move of all moves. They had exactly what I thought she would like. Flannel and flowers, drawstrings and daisies. I have ordered from them before and will again. If you like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, I’d encourage you to visit this wonderful company. However, DO NOT try to surprise her. This is the exposure I alluded to earlier as this is precisely what I tried to do. I figured, “Hey, I’m millions of miles away. I’ll find something I think she’ll like, take a guess at her size, and place my order.” To the casual observer this may seem like a good plan. However, if said casual observer is a guy, he is in trouble. You see guys, women don’t wear small medium or large. They maintain their power in the universe by wearing sizes designed to confound the average human male. Sizes like 22.8GYT or Purple19S or XPR5Dog. Didn’t the Packers use those last year? So, I picked out a lovely pair of overly comfortable pajamas with a lovely bamboo pattern and clicked on the pull down tab to select her size. Given that I didn’t have my Packers playbook with me, I had to guess. As the law of averages dictated I guessed wrong. I have no idea what the size was called but I knew I was excited for her to receive my very thoughtful gesture of love on this our 17th Anniversary. When she received her beautifully gift wrapped package I called her from across the cosmos and begged her to open it even though it was several days before our day of glory. I could hear the box opening and the paper tearing and the excitement in the air. Then I heard the laughter. She thanked me as best she could for her lovely new pajamas while chuckling under her breath. Then the horror. Her lovely new pajamas were of a particular size so that our whole family could wear simultaneously.
So today is an unusual day because I have the honor of celebrating my 17th wedding anniversary and because my wife is the proud owner of a brand new, bamboo patterned, silk tent.