Yesterday, Jim called me on his way home from work (as he usually does to check in and see if there’s anything he needs to pick up on the way). But this time, after “Hello”, he opened with “Life is hard”, to let me know he’d read my blog. I smiled to myself. Not just because he had read my blog (he reads everything I write at some point, either before I submit it or once it’s up), but because it occurred to me once again that he had bought my chairs.
In case you’re wondering how we got from my blog to chairs, let me explain. In the 1996 movie “Phenomenon”, the main character, George Malley, buys chairs made by Lace Pennamin, his love interest. Chairs, incidentally, that most people in the movie do not find all that appealing. Later in the movie, another character (the doctor) explains, “Now George has a love at his side and she’s sticking with him. You know why? Because he bought her chairs. . . Every woman has her chair, something she needs to put herself into. You ever figure out what [your love’s] chairs are and buy ’em?”
That metaphor has stuck with Jim and me over the years and occasionally one of us will refer to it, either in regard to our own marriage or someone else’s relationship. We both feel it’s important to find out what each other’s chairs are and invest in them. Right now, in this point in time, this here blog is my chair. And in taking time out of his busy day as a teacher, a day in which I know he barely has two minutes to actually sit down and do anything non-work-related, he showed me that what’s important to me is important to him. Not that I was surprised (as I said, he always reads anything I write and supports me in anything I want to do), but it suddenly hit me how touched I was.
I believe that in relationships, buying chairs is a two-way street. Jim has a couple of different chairs and they converge in the school at which he teaches. His first chair is his teaching itself. He puts himself into it fully and takes a lot of pride in being creative and getting the material across to his students. His second chair is technology, which he uses mostly to further his teaching. He likes to tell me about new technologies he found and how he used them in a lesson. He also likes to show me videos and the like that his students have made and posted online. And I love to hear about all of that. I will admit, though, that sometimes I have to force myself to slow down and really show him how interested I am, in between helping Emerald with her homework, reading with Sapphire, and tending to all of the other family things we have going on. I know that sometimes I don’t do as well with this as I’d like, and I’m sure Jim would admit to the same. But we both make the effort and that’s all either of us can ask.
Figuring out our children’s chairs and buying them is also important in showing them how important they are to us. With them, at this point, it mostly involves spending time with them, listening to what they have to say, and supporting them through their triumphs and challenges. Again, this is not to say we’re perfect with any of this, but identifying and buying chairs for them, too, is something we strive for — and sometimes actually achieve.
In fact, with all of these chairs around, we may just have to add a porch onto our house just to have somewhere to put them. Metaphorically, of course. 🙂
What are your chairs?