I haven’t been shy in lamenting some recent marriage and family woes to you.
Today, I want to counter this and slightly elevate the conversation.
Back in 2019, as I took my step-son under my wing, you might say I went a bit overboard in used book buying.
eBay and I were quick friends and used book sets were my specialty. I bought the Children’s Book of Knowledge set, and all 10 annuals. (That’s thirty books.) I bought the Journey’s Through Bookland 10 volume set. And I even found a three volume Family Treasury of Children’s Classics set.
(That’s 43 books—he was 10.)
Anyhow, as my daughter, A-, who is now 2.5 yrs old, arrived, I began doing what I do, which is reading aloud from these classics.
The first volume of the Family Treasury opens with all—and I mean it is the actual collection—of classic nursery rhymes that we all struggle to find in Barnes and Noble’s.
A- is at the age when she is starting to talk and use multi-word phrases. Because I have a knack for these things, I began to test her the other day.
“Mary had a little-”
“AM” she concluded.
“Its fleece was white as-”
“NOOO!” she roared laughing.
Most of you have done similar and we should rightly be applauded.
The other day I came in from a long day of driving. My wife and step-son who, generally speaking, are opposed to learning are sneaking a quick movie since I wasn’t around to stop them.
Mission Impossible III is on the screen. One of my favorites.
I head to bed. I’m tired and not in the mood to point out that my step-son is still not ready for such a film.
The next day, my wife says to me out of the blue, “I didn’t ever know that’s why he said Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.”
To your ears, you probably would’ve heard her thick accent, and it’s very likely she didn’t even say what I wrote. But that’s what she meant.
Despite my having understanding of her meaning—regardless her actual words—I still had no clue what she was talking about.
“Huh?” I asked.
“What?” she asked.
“You said something about him saying Humpty Dumpty?”
Now at this moment in recent conversations, she will look at me and using all her feminine intuition do her best to determine whether I’m in earnest or whether I’m mocking her and usually conclude the latter by saying, “Never mind.”
But this time she said it again.
I still honestly had no idea what she was talking about. Like the Bible, she was not giving me to the antecedents I needed. Who was “he”, I wondered?
She finally said something that made me realize she was talking about the movie and then I recalled the scene was TC drops off the wall as a priest.
“Oh, you’re telling me that in the movie last night you finally understood why he said the Humpty Dumpty line, because A- says it all the time in our reading. Is that what you meant?”
Keep in mind the relationship is still on edge.
I then say, “That’s what happens to everyone the more we read, Mistiye (or “Mee-stee-yay” which is the phonetic spelling of the Amharic (one Ethiopian language’s) word for “my wife”). Every new book adds to every other book. Reading makes everything better. That’s why I am always telling you to do it.”
A normal husband would stop there, probably acknowledging he had gone too far already.
“That’s what school did to the Bible for me. When I hear Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, which has the infamous ‘For God so loved the world’ line, I can no longer NOT hear the book of Numbers. I can’t even see how it means anything unless it is involved in what Numbers says.”
The question for you, dear reader, is what precisely happened to my wife in the Humpty Dumpty MI:3 moment? She didn’t get wiser. She didn’t get smarter. It wasn’t an increase in her knowledge. What was it?