Saturday, February 7, 2009

Brian gave me the go-ahead.

So as I was saying...

This weekend Brian is in Vegas to attend the funeral of his high school football coach--Greg Spencer. Not everyone would feel compelled to attend the funeral of a person by whom they had been coached 12 years ago--especially when it means buying plane tickets to do so. But Brian told me that in some way, Coach Spencer influenced every aspect of his life. I would guess that Brian's past coaches are partially responsible for his incredible work ethic--the quality in him that I most admire. That being so, I guess Coach Spencer--in a significant way--contributed to the food on my table and the roof over my head. I feel sad for his passing and grateful that Brian was able to attend his services.

Thinking about Brian's deep-rooted feelings for this and other past coaches reminded me that since I have known Brian, there have only been two occasions on which I have seen him really cry--and both times, the circumstances centered around sports. The first was at the conclusion of wrestling season our senior year of high school.
I remember that Brian had recently asked me to be his girlfriend and I had gone with Meg to watch him wrestle in the Zone Tournament. Brian had done well and needed to win his sixth match to qualify for State. His opponent was someone whom he had wrestled (and beaten) before, so Brian was hopeful of victory. Unfortunately, things did not go as expected and Brian finished his high school wrestling experience disappointed. My mother-in-law*, especially, was devastated for him and we all sat around him telling him how well he had done. He seemed to be handling it alright and we (well, at least I) left that day not knowing just how hard this situation was for him. But later that night, Brian took me on a walk to Angel park and there broke down in tears. I didn't know how to console him, as I had never seen a boy cry this way before. He described to me how hard he had worked for four years to be in that spot. He had never worked harder for anything, in fact, and had practically starved himself--all for such a devastating return. (I decided to add so many details because I don't know that Brian has ever recorded this experience, and seeing that it was something that definitely ended up shaping his life, I want my posterity to know about it.) So anyway...
The second occasion--as chance would have it--also concerned wrestling. This time, though, Brian and I were married and living on Spruce Street and Brian had dedicated a good many hours as a volunteer coach for the high school wrestling team. He came home one day, obviously upset, and I questioned him about what had happened. It turns out that this day ended up being somewhat tragic for me, too--because he began to tell me of something difficult that had happened at practice, and as I continued to question him and grill him about the details, he broke down in tears again, asking me, "Why can't you just listen and be supportive?" Oh, man. What I wouldn't give to do that day over again. I hope I will never forget it, and that if something like it ever happens again, Brian will give me another chance to be the wife I should've been that day...
At this point, you're all probably thinking, This is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with the differences between men and women? Well, it's just that when I think about the hardest times in my life--or the times when I have cried the hardest--I think about my first year of marriage, and about Brian. And that's not to say that Brian has done all these horrible things--rather, that because I love him so much, I care more about my relationship with him than with anyone else. And sometimes (because I am a girl) I get caught up worrying that if Brian really loves me, why do I not have the power to make him cry? Twisted, I know. But I also know that most of you girls are saying, "Oh, no. We hear ya." But I just have to laugh and remind myself that men and women (boys and girls) are just different.
And you know what? It turns out that this post has been somewhat therapeutic for me, because it has got me thinking that maybe there is more to this whole thing than just the difference between men and women. I'm thinking that maybe for some of you girls, sports have been the reason behind your greatest pains, too, and that maybe it has less to do with your sex, and more to do with what it is you have had to work the hardest at in life in order to be successful. I know Brian put every ounce of his physical (and most of his emotional energy) into his performance in wrestling and football. According to him, he was not a natural athlete, so he had to put in that much extra effort to compensate. On the other hand, it does seem that Brian is naturally a good husband to me, so maybe that is why being a husband doesn't lend itself to so many tears. And maybe because being the best wife for Brian doesn't come as easily for me, the work required to get there has caused a few tears. Hmmmm...interesting. That may not be quite right, but it's a lot better than thinking that Brian doesn't love me as much as I love him...
On a bit lighter note--I do have an example of how boys and girls are typically different. When I was in eighth grade, I liked this kid named Patrick Hutchinson. And, oh, man, guys--it was pathetic. I remember sneaking away into the office to call him on occasion because I couldn't stop thinking about him. Did he call me? No! So should I have been calling him? Double no! Should I have been calling a boy anyway?! No! Thankfully, by the time I was a sophomore or so in high school, I had learned that in general, it is not cool to call boys--that your luck will be considerably better if you insist they call you.** Still, I was pathetic when my first boyfriend broke up with me. I had maintained my dignity considerably well while we were dating, but I guess I didn't realize how much I liked him until after we broke up--because when he stopped calling me and taking me out, I crumbled and became a pathetic groveling mess. I would call him from time to time and invite him over and...oh, makes me sick thinking about it now. Two years later, when Brian and I had been "together" for a couple months, I decided to break up with him for various reasons. I thought, however, that if Brian really liked me, he would continue to call me, or at least respond to my invites to come over. Nope. That was not the case. If he had liked me during those couple months, you sure wouldn't have known it by the way he acted thereafter. He moved right on without a second thought. I would call him to come over and he would tell me that he couldn't because he and Justin were going to play Frisbee golf. Whaaattt? So it killed me, and I wrote in my journal every night how much I hated it. And you know what the outcome was? That I wanted him all the more, of course. And then after his mission when he told me that he wanted to marry me, I had determined at some point that I didn't think it was right. But then when he seemed to have moved on again, and didn't call me for a week, I decided that oh yes, it WAS right and that I could not live without him. (Thankfully, he did take me back this time.)
Anyway, the point is--girls tend to be much more pathetic in the way they pursue guys--and especially in the way they handle break-ups--than guys are. So it would do us all well to teach our girls to LET THE GUYS DO THE WORK and spare themselves their self respect.

* I want to say that just as my mom saved me by being my best friend through junior high school and the beginning of high school, Brian's mom (and family ) probably saved him in some ways in the way they supported him in his sports. I am so thankful to them for that.

**I did, in fact, conduct an informal study in high school and college where I questioned numerous guys about whether or not they liked it when girls called them. Do you know what almost all of them said? "Yes." But then I asked them to try and remember the girl whom they had liked the most, or for whom they had had the strongest feelings, and I would ask them, "Did she call you?" And do you know what they'd almost always say then? You guessed it: "Nope."


Janelle said...

Seriously cute pictures! It is so funny to read about boys you dated and crushed on because I can at least remember all of their names! Cracks me up and takes me right back in time!
Great post! Very insightful. I feel the way you do a lot. Especially about the crying thing. I don't think I've really ever seen Steve cry. It would be really nice though for him to cry at least once, it would make me feel less crazy about crying about him and our relationship all the time. Maybe it is harder for me to be the best wife for Steve too! Hmmm, good food for thought!
P.S. My adventures will not be complete until I have a trip to Florence under my belt!

Emily said...

love your pretty hair and pretty eyes and smile.
You look adorabley thin.
I love the sleeves on that blue shirt--charming, haven't seen any quite like that.
Adorable kid shots.
I had a thought but its fleeting me. Oh yes. I made a goal to crack my relationships and kid raising books occasionally and read a couple pages. Men are from venus/women mars I read that sports for men, are a way to healthily deal with their drive for competition. Playing them can take away the edge and pressure for their careers, to get that competition out in a healthy way watching or playing sports, thats less damaging to the ego. I was getting so fed up with BYU football and reading this--gave me some mercy.
Just think of all those whose lives Grandad may have touched too! Thats neat how that coach meant so much to Brian.
:) love you, Emily

Laura Hendricks said...

i love those pictures ann. and your blog. you described john and i perfectly...except opposite. i'm like the man and he is like the woman. gulp.

Audge said...

Hello skinny pretty sister. Those pictures are all really cute. And I love how in almost everyone of them Danin has this HUGE smile. She is so flippin cute. Yeah...I am kind of like Laura...I tend to have some major man tendencies when it comes to my relationships. However I am a typical girl in other aspects too. But yeah, my tom-boyishness lives on.
Oh and by the way...I think that is a very good should definitely do a "my favorite things" party. Hopefully her favorite things include lots of money. Bahaha. I sent her a text message while I was in class today and it said "We should go to Hunnington Beach for our girls reunion" and she didn't respond. Soooo I think that idea is out.
Ok peace in this nation.

Poodley Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew

Heather and Billy said...

I actually think you hit the nail on the head with why he doesn't cry about you and I was going to suggest it before reading that part. He feels secure with you. That should make you feel good. Billy cries about me because, despite my best efforts, he still feels insecure. You know this. It's his own issue. But Brian's insecurities are with his self-pride and sense of self involved in sports and that is why they make him cry. Your insecurities are with him- probably has something to do with that first year of marriage and also your dating pattern. That's why he makes you cry. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with insecurities. There isn't. I just think those are what finally pushes our buttons and makes us cry about things- especially when it turns out to be the silly little things.