Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm not pushing your buttons. I know me. I know what I like.

The time has come for me to blog about my husband and the strange things he has been doing the past few months. Slowly over a few months, he has been changing into someone that I don't know. Don't get me wrong, the changes aren't upsetting in anyway... just very drastic and different for him.

I have known Chris Vos for just over 14 years. I have loved him almost that same amount of time. We will celebrate our 13th anniversary next Saturday. To know and love Chris Vos is to know and love all the things about him. Even things that are a little annoying. When I was in YW, I made a list of characteristics that my future husband would have to have. I still have the list. Chris meets most of the characteristics. Funny, loyal, spiritual, Eagle Scout, RM, check...check...check...check...and check. However, I ignored one item on the list because it didn't seem relevant the more in love I fell with him. This characteristic was that of being an avid reader. Chris does not love reading the written word. As we courted, I realized that in high school he did not read books required by teachers. Pride and Prejudice...nope, The Scarlett Letter...ditto, anything by Shakespeare...again no. The last book he read was called "Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang," by Mordecai Richler. While this book is funny and rewarding, it's not the first thing that comes to mind when discussing classical literary works. Growing up, I had a very good friend (who happened to be a boy) that I also was completely enamored with who was an avid reader. We had the most interesting and wonderful discussions of literature and I wanted this type of conversation for my future life as well. However, my heart won out and I married Chris in spite of his lack of literary prowess. (You can ask him what he gave up to marry me. I'm sure the list is long.) During our 12+ years of marriage, I would many times read a wonderful book and long for Chris to read it so we could share and discuss. He did read during our marriage, however his choice of books left much to be desired. Some of his favorites: "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, "Awaken the Giant Within" by Tony Robbins, and anything by Steven Covey. Excellent books, perhaps, but not what I prefer on my nightstand. After finishing the final Harry Potter this summer, I sighed and wished aloud that he had read them so that we could discuss. This must have gotten the gears turning in his brain because last month he says to me, "Go downstairs and get me the first Harry Potter book. I think I'm going to read it." There was nothing he could have said to me at that moment that would have shocked me more. In fact, I was certain he was kidding and did not retrieve said book for him. He kept bugging me about it and so finally I went and got the book for him. Which he read!!! He read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. We had a nice little discussion and much to my delight, he asked for book #2. This has blown my mind. I. am. totally. blown. away.

Ok, change #2. Or should I say #"er." A few months ago, he says to me, "I think I'd like to learn to speak Chinese. Could you look into it for me at Schoolcraft?" I looked at him like he was speaking Chinese at that very moment. Am I understanding correctly? You want to take a college course to learn to speak Chinese? My surprise came from the fact that he didn't love school. Didn't really love college...not math or communications or really anything he had to take. He loved knowing where you could get the greatest burgers on campus at (Peanut Barrel). He loved listening to Duran Duran on the jukebox and eating wings at BW3. He loved using the IM's and working out. But the actual work of school...not so much. Knowing this about him, I was again blown away that he wanted to go to school and take a class. Like the book, I didn't take it seriously. I didn't look into it for him. He started to beg me to do I finally gave in and now he is taking a class called "Conversational Chinese." He loves it and is learning. Just in time for "Ni Hao, Kai-lan."

Ok, the last change is the strangest by far. As long as I have known Chris he has been an onion hater. Hate isn't really strong enough to describe his dislike of onions. Loathing, repulsion, horror, disgust: these are better. He loathes onions. My dad put onions in most of his cooking. Chris hated it. My dad wasn't one to cater to personal dislikes and food aversions. His philosophy was, "learn to like it or go hungry." Chris will go back to Taco Bell if onions are accidentally left on any of his items. He will tell waiters and waitresses that he is "allergic" to onions so they don't forget to leave them off his order. I once watched him choke down a dish made by some dear friends of ours entirely of beans and onions. Very strong onions. It was not pleasant to witness. So last night we are on a date and want some Chinese food. Our budget is limited and so we opt for a little dive where the prices are low. The dishes have some onions in them and he starts to pick around them. He says, "I really wish I liked onions. It would be so much easier." Pretty soon, I am witness to him putting large pieces of onions in his mouth which he proceeds to chew and swallow. "Not bad," he says, "I guess it's just mind over matter." For the third time in just 2 months, I have been left totally flabbergasted. Not a sound comes from my mouth. I cannot respond to the scene I have witnessed. We finish our meal and he continues to eat onions and trade Chinese pleasantries with the wait staff.

It was like an out of body experience. I am looking at my husband who I know so well reading books, learning foreign languages and eating onions. If I wasn't completely sure of his loyalty to me, I would be concerned about maybe a Chinese, book-reading, onion-eating mistress. I know this isn't the case however. I am learning some very important lessons from Chris' new interests. First, you can make changes to yourself to please your spouse. He is reading because he loves me and knows it makes me happy. Second, you can improve yourself in ways you never thought possible. Who knew Chris Vos would learn Chinese? It seems outside the realm of possibilities. Who isn't to say that one day I might possibly be Jennifer Vos, Certified Nurse Midwife. Or Jennifer Vos, writer of books. It could happen. Third, just because something is a certain way and has been that way for a long time, doesn't mean it has to be. I can change. Thank you, Chris, for teaching me. I love you.

1 comment:

Suzy said...

Great post! I am totally in agreement on the onion thing...hate them too! But after reading this, I will give them another chance...maybe. And I can totally see you as a CNM or an can do it!!

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