July 6, 2007

Only The Essentials …

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the day I asked Brittany, my squishy pride and joy, to be my girlfriend. It was a magical day that would change my life forever. She used to be a timid girl, wearing baggy clothes and an eyebrow ring. Now she's not so timid, her clothes fit (sort of) and the ring has migrated from her brow to her finger—picking up some diamonds along the way. But one thing certainly hasn't changed: She still finds new and exciting ways to ignore me.

For the past 4 months I've been nagging Brittany to pack her bag for the hospital, and for the past 4 months it's laid on the floor empty. She says that she wants to use a suitcase, as if she's going on a trip. But women on TV and the movies don't take a suitcase, they take a duffle bag. They always take a duffle bag. It's essential to the baby delivery process.

"You're taking the duffle!"

The only duffle we owned was an artifact from our years of soccer. It was old and showcased two holes surrounded by a pocket of used tissues. The zipper had a dirty sock dangling from it, much like a tree-shaped air-freshener hangs from a rear-view mirror. And, unlike my favorite softball jersey, it was only covered in a thin layer of Dorito crumbs. It was perfect.

"I'm not taking the duffle," she said.

"Why not!?"

"I can only handle one smelly thing while I'm delivering this baby."

Hmm…I think that was a shot at me.

"That was a shot at you."

After an intense battle of rock, paper, scissors, we compromised and agreed to get a new duffle that was devoid of soccer stink. We also agreed that there's no way in the world that paper beats rock. Nothing should beat rock, except for maybe a gavel. Gavel could definitely beat rock.

The days passed and the duffle still sat in the baby's room. Empty. It drove me crazy. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't watch Will & Grace (though that really had nothing to do with the empty duffle). I couldn't stand not being prepared when the baby could pop out at any minute, so I decided to pack the bag for her.

I rummaged through the house grabbing all the essentials. An item here, an item there. I was careful and meticulous, packing only what I thought she might need in the hospital. Nothing more, nothing less. The duffle was filled to the brim.

I set it on the bed and called Brittany into the room. With a smile, I told her what I had done—how I had helped her prepare for the moment; how it was one thing less that she'd have to do. The look on her face said it all. And what it didn't say, she said out loud:

"Where are my clothes? Where are my toiletries?"

Clothes? Toiletries.

"I only packed your essentials."

"Essentials, eh?" She rummaged through the bag. "Why in the hell do I need a bathing suit, a pound of bologna and a picture of Rod Stewart?"

See fellas, women don't know anything.

She tossed out everything. From bologna to Rod to "Scrubs" season 5. Nothing I packed was suitable. She replaced it with pajamas and underwear and a pouch full of bathroom products, including a toothbush, toothpaste and comb. She explained why these items were far more important than the "junk" I piled into her bag.

With that, she zipped up the duffle and set it next to the bed. It was finally packed and ready to go. I couldn't have asked for a better anniversary present.

Other than maybe a gavel. It definitely beats rock.

(Happy anniversary, love.)