A Little Bit of Wonder is where I journal about the somewhat roundabout way that I have been working to establish a career and a strong sense of self--I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about "direction" and "identity." I have a Master's Degree in Literature, but I'm no longer working as an English Professor; I'm starting the next step in my life as I work to establish a career as a writer in the non-profit sector.

At my companion blog, Little Wonder's Recommended Reading, you will find reviews for both books and other blogs that I enjoy. The two blogs are inter-linked, so you can access my reviews and reading challenges from the sidebar on the left.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Wonder Years

Fun fact about Lauren: I love yellow roses.

I love yellow roses because when I was a kid, I used to spend every Sunday night watching Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman with my parents and my younger brother. Lois and Clark was my favorite TV show – Dean Cain was oh-so-attractive and Teri Hatcher was an awesome feminist role model. (And if you haven’t noticed from my tendency to occasionally mention Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have a thing for superheroes.) I wanted to be Lois Lane and have that muscled-but-sensitive Clark Kent fall in love with me; he was always doing sweet things that went underappreciated or even unnoticed by the brash and aggressive Lois. In one episode, he bought yellow roses for her, which he explained were a representation of friendship.

From that point on, I was in love with the symbolic meaning of yellow roses just as much as the thoughtfulness of Clark’s gesture. I looked into the meaning a little bit more and found that not only are they associated with friendship, but also with the warmth of the sun, with shared joy and delight. In many Eastern cultures, the color yellow represents not only joy, but wisdom and power. The idea that they were emblematic of friendship remained the most significant to me, though, and when I got married, I decided that I wanted yellow roses in my bouquet because my husband and I had first been best friends before we began dating. As I discussed this with my wedding florist and my mother, I found out that my mom had also carried yellow roses at her wedding, which added even more significance to my choice of flowers. Yellow roses call to mind all kinds of memories and associations for me, then – time spent with family, deep friendship leading to love, the excitement and fun of my wedding.

All of these layers of meaning came back to me on Monday, when my husband brought home a bouquet of yellow roses to congratulate me that I had been offered the non-profit job. We had both wanted this job for me so much – and I think he was/is as excited about the prospect of my new career as I am. To him, it is symbolic of “arrival” – now that we both finally have full-time jobs, we are adults. We will be financially secure, able to afford vacations and a home. I am already splurging on books and planning a trip to Seattle/Vancouver to visit friends, and his first indulgence was to buy me that bouquet of expensive yellow roses. This would have been a wasteful purchase on our grad school student budget, but now that we have two incomes, he can afford to spoil me a little bit more with things that simply “sit there and look pretty, then shrivel up” (his assessment of flower bouquets).

For the rest of the week, my husband has had a wider-than-usual grin on his face; he is certain that now we are beginning the best years of our lives. We have worked hard, nose to the grindstone (as he would say) as students, and the first five years of our married life have been We very difficult because we have had to focus so much on school. We have been incredibly lucky to have each others’ support while we were in school, but we haven’t been able to have much fun together. Our idea of a good time usually involved reading together, either in our big cushy bed, or perhaps out on our balcony during the warm weather. We had too much work to ever take a break for very long; we became really lame and felt very old – but now we are free of all that.

We were walking around the mall last night, and he started bouncing around a little bit on the balls of his feet.

“Are you dancing?” I asked him. He nodded, a shy look on his face. But he had a little grin, too, as though he were secretly pleased with himself.

“In public??” I said. Another nod.

This is a man who doesn’t even want me to dance in public most of the time (he’s not a big fan of street corner performances) – and if I start to sing to him in public, he’ll actually walk away from me.

(“What would you think if I sang out of tune? / Would you stand up and walk out on me?”)

But suddenly he’s doing a little shimmy on the escalator in front of Macy’s.

“Wow. Would you let me sing to you? Here?”

He gives me a funny little smile, then says: “Maybe.”

(“Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song… and I'll try not to sing out of key.”)

Then I ask him, “Would you go with me to a Broadway musical?” His answer has been a resounding “no” for several years running.

With another little shake of his hips, he replies, “It’s looking more and more likely.”

Wow. He really does feel free. He feels like he doesn’t have to worry any more – not about whether we have health insurance, whether we’ll be able to afford a house, whether we’ll be able to save for retirement. He’s even mentioned buying a boat.

He’s convinced that these next few years will be our Wonder Years. He senses possibility. Even when we were graduate students living off piddly stipends, I was able to dream about taking a cruise to Greece and owning a house by a lake or the ocean, but he never wanted to let himself think about things that he couldn’t afford at that moment. He didn’t let himself daydream.

Now he seems to be daydreaming, though. Daydreaming and dancing in public and looking for presents that he can buy for his baby nephew. He is happy expecting that these next few years will be wonderful, as we finally get to enjoy the fruits of our labor – but I’m already experiencing a little bit of wonder at the new man my husband has become.

I’ll know the transformation is complete, though, when he takes me to a Broadway show and actually manages to sit through the whole thing.


Tara said...

This post reminded me: I still have that little cat-plaque you gave me (a postcard embedded between two clear plates) with the explanation of the yellow roses on the back.

I never really knew that Superman had anything to do with it...I see it in a whole new light now :)

Little Wonder Lauren said...

I totally forgot about that... awesome :-D

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