She doesn’t like bean sprouts in her fried rice.
I remember the first time we went out for Chinese food. I sat across from her just staring, though this time not at her small dimples or the way she wrinkles her nose when she laughs. No, this time I sat staring as she picked out each and every bean sprout in an entire serving of fried rice. Turns out it’s a texture thing, at least that’s how she explained it. I’ll never forget her face the next time I brought over Chinese-hold the bean sprouts. She gushed about how thoughtful I was; I reveled in how happy I made her.
Fast forward ten years and, although I’m ashamed to admit it, bean sprouts stopped mattering to me. So did bringing home her favorite flowers from the grocery store or taking her SUV to the car wash. It wasn’t long before other things stopped mattering, too, like holding her hand while we walked or kissing her goodnight. I’m sure you already realize what it took me a long time to admit-she stopped mattering to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her. I always did. In some way I always will. But somewhere, somehow I lost sight of what mattered. I forgot about the little things and soon forgot about the big things, too.
I saw her a few weeks ago. We chatted for a few minutes. She gushed about her life and her happiness, both of which you are a part. For the first time since our separation, I felt good. I felt at peace seeing the smile behind her fierce, brown eyes and the wrinkle of her nose, things I hadn’t seen in a long time-long before we separated.
I hope you know the look in her eyes and the wrinkle of her nose that I’m talking about. I hope you’re picturing them now and smiling yourself, knowing that you make her feel that way.
But more than anything, I hope you never stop noticing her. Never let the little things or the big things or, worst of all, her stop mattering. Don’t forget the flowers and the kisses good night. Don’t forget to tell her you love her. Better yet, don’t forget to show her. Don’t forget to make her leave behind the baggage she thinks she carries, the pain from those who have come before you.
Love her. Cherish her. Grow with her.
And don’t forget about the bean sprouts.