Little Bitty Things Make Big Love

My wife deserves a massive rock.

Not the ones made of petrified dirt. No, I mean a diamond. A big one. One of those 50-carat specials so big she’d need to keep her arm in a sling just to wear it.

She deserves a massive house with an even bigger swimming pool out back. Susie deserves a fancy new car, and maybe an extra Jeep just for her entertainment.

She didn’t get a big rock. She didn’t get the big house with a pool, and she’s driving a 10-year-old vehicle that needs a new paint job.

It’s all her fault. She’s the one who agreed to marry a guy whose biggest financial accomplishment was going more than 10 years without bouncing a check.

If I had tons of money, Lord only knows what all she’d have. Everything her heart desires and some stuff she’s never even considered.

If I had tons of money. I don’t.

Somehow, she still loves me. It’s enough to make me think real love doesn’t actually come with a price tag, no matter how many times those commercials try to direct me to the nearest jewelry store.

Can’t buy me love? That oughta be a song.

I’m fortunate enough to live a real-life love story. I’m crazy about my lady, and she seems crazy about me. I know so many couples just like us. They don’t have any more money than we do, so how do they even manage in a world where it seems there’s a price tag involved with everything?

Actually, it’s a very simple math equation: Lots of little bitty things add up to one big love.

Couples who love each other do stuff for each other. Every day. Tiny gestures that to the outsiders may seem insignificant, but in reality are constant reminders of how we feel about our partners.

My stuff seems weak at times. I’ll warm up her car for her on cold mornings. I’ll run by the grocery store on my way home to pick up whatever she needs so she doesn’t have to get out. I’ll do my part around the house (largely because I love her, but mostly because the biggest messes are mine). I’ll buy her some flowers for the heck of it, and not just to get out of any trouble I’m in. When we can get our schedules to align, I’ll run by and snatch her during her lunch break and drive to the nearest park for a short picnic. Thirty minutes ain’t much, but it’s worth it every time.

Want a definition of real love? It’s staying in the same spot until your arm’s lost all circulation, just because she fell asleep on your shoulder, and you absolutely refuse to disturb her. You’ll let that arm fall off before you even think about moving.

And because she never asks for much, I try hard to fulfill any requests she might have, whether it’s taking our vacation together or just heading out to accompany her on one of her shopping trips.

None of this sounds like a lot, but she appreciates everything, and that’s more than enough reason for me to try.

Susie? She’s a master of filling up my days with little reminders that she actually likes me. She’ll keep me stocked with my favorite snacks (we have a magic fridge that never runs out of my preferred candy bar or beverage). She checks my weird schedule to see what nights I’ll be home, and she cooks the stuff she knows I love the most. She’ll notice I’m running short of clean laundry before I do (I’d wear stuff until it rots off of me), and she keeps me smelling presentable.

When we’re finished doing things for each other, we do things with each other. Little things. My favorite activity in the world is sitting with her on the back porch at the end of our day. If I’ve got work to do in the evenings, I sit next to her while I do it. She bought me a little laptop desk for that very reason.

It’s one of the sweetest gifts I’ve ever received, and it cost nowhere near a Jeep.

Little things. Big love. It’s awesome to see.

While talking to my daughter Jaime recently, she told me about something my son-in-law did for her. Terry, my SIL, works his butt off to provide for his family. Long hours, few days off. When Jaime was planning a baby shower at her home, she casually mentioned that she wished they could do something about a damaged windowsill in their living room. It was nothing major, and she probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to it had she not invited people over.

A couple of days before the event, Jaime came home to find that Terry had completely replaced the entire fixture — after he’d gotten off work from another long day. Not because the window bothered him, but because his wife had spoken a simple request.

That’s some big love right there.

But I don’t know if I’ll ever top the elderly couple I once knew. The wife loved roses, but the couple was retired and living on a budget. Roses are expensive. The husband’s solution?

He planted her an entire rose garden in their back yard. He found types guaranteed to bloom at different times so she’d have roses nearly every day of the year — not just on Valentine’s Day or on their anniversary.

To him, digging those holes and planting little bushes was no big deal. To her? He was showing some mighty big love.

I’m a lucky guy to have married someone who doesn’t expect down payments on her love. I’m beyond blessed with a lady who sees my efforts for what they are and shows her appreciation. She’d drive that Jeep, but only if she knew I wasn’t going broke trying to pay for it. She doesn’t seem to mind that the only pool we’re likely to have is one of the temporary ones we put up in the summer. To her, water doesn’t need a fancy wrapping.

And that big rock Susie deserves? Something with more carats than a vegetable garden and priced in the millions? She wouldn’t wear it anyway. She’s not into big bling. If she had one, it would sit in her little jewelry box I got her for Christmas one year.

The wedding ring she chose instead has even more meaning. It’s got five small diamonds, and she picked the ring because she said those little diamonds represent each of our five children. With all the additions to our family (grandkids and in-laws), it’s a matter of time before I’ll need to find her another one (or two or three) just like it.

Any ring I get her won’t be any bigger than the one she has now, but she won’t care.

Those little bitty things have sure added up to one big love.

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