Love Goggles

20140713-020246-7366419.jpgToday marks the second year anniversary of my husband’s passing. In his honor, my daughter Melanie came up with this brilliant idea of people sharing their favorite memories of him. I was married to this guy for almost three decades, so understandably I have chockfull of stories to tell, and the following is one of my favorites…

One day I came home from work to find him excitedly waving a shopping bag in front of me.

“I have a surprise for you!!!” he teased. My husband was a big kid who loved to buy me presents, and he was usually the one who was more excited than me. I quickly opened the bag to find a sexy pink halter top inside. Size: small. I gulped.  Through the years, my weight has gone up and down like the stock market, with my self-esteem inversely proportional to the numbers on the scale. At that point, I could try to stuff myself in a size small, but I would not be able to guarantee that the results would be pretty.

“Dada, pa-igo kaha ni nako?” (Dada, do you think I can fit into this?”)

“Of course!” was his confident response. “When I saw it, I knew gyud, angayan ka ani (You’ll look good in it.)

I gulped again. Somehow, my image of myself in that pink halter top did not quite jibe with his.

Then he told me the story behind his purchase. He said to me in our dialect, “I was in the mall today, and I happened to pass by the Guess store when I saw this outfit on the mannequin. The minute I saw it, I knew I had to get it, because I know it would look good on you. ”

Ngek! I listened to him with amusement.

He continued his story, still talking in our dialect. “So I went inside, pointed at the outfit on the mannequin, and told the sales lady I wanted it for my wife.”

“The saleslady said, ‘Sir,this is the last one we have. It’s size small. If you want it, I’ll have to take it off the mannequin. Do you still want it?’l

“‘Of course,” I told her.”

“Then, gihibuan gyud nila ang mannequin, Mom.” (They really undressed the mannequin, Mom.)

I cringed listening to his story. “Ayy, Dada. Good thing I wasn’t there, or the saleslady might take a good hard look at me, and think you’re either blind or crazy!”

My husband valiantly protested. “No, Mom, oy. Angayan ka lagi ani!” (You will really look good in this!”)

I looked at the halter top in my hands. Sigh. It did not look like it had enough material to cover every square inch of what it needed to cover, but I had to try it on anyway so I wouldn’t hurt his feelings.

On my way to my room, I ran into my eldest daughter, Chessa. I told her, “Chess, your dad keeps buying me all these sexy outfits. Does he really think I’m that sexy, or is this his way of telling me I need to lose weight ?”

My daughter looked at me with surprise and said, “Mom, don’t you get it? Dad has love goggles.”

“What? What are those, babe?” I asked, perplexed.

“Mom, when you look at yourself, all you see are your imperfections. That’s not what Dad sees. When he looks at you, he sees the woman he loves, and you are beautiful to him no matter what size you are, with or without makeup.”

I laughed out loud at this foolishness. “What! That’s crazy! Is that really true, that love is blind? Geez! Poor guy!”

I felt emboldened by my daughter’s words so I hurriedly put on the pink top. When looked in the mirror, I squinted and squinted, turned every which way, trying to find the foxy lady my husband saw, but she was a no-show that day. All I saw was the result of that extra heaping of rice, that yet another coke can and that brioche from 85 degrees bakery that I couldn’t resist. I stuck my tongue out at my reflection. Blehhh!

I went out of the room looking dejected. When my daughter saw me, she announced, “Dadddd, your sexy momma is heeeere!!!”

I groaned. I felt anything but. My husband turned around in his chair. When he saw me, his eyes widened, his mouth hang open, and he let out a long “Wowwww…”

I looked at my daughter, shaking my head at love’s folly. “Seriously?” I said.

My daughter just smiled and said, “Love goggles…”

I went over to where my husband was sitting and I sat on his lap. He was a simple man who did not know any fancy words nor was he openly demonstrative in public, but he whispered into my ear, “Angayan kaayo ka, Mom. ” (You really look good, Mom.)

I laughed out loud and shook my head in disbelief. Hurray for love goggles! I put my arms around him and asked, “You love me, Dada?” to which he replied, honestly and simply, “Very.”

That moment, in the arms of a man who loved me unconditionally, I felt
like I was, indeed, the most beautiful woman in the whole world, thanks to this wonderful thing called “love goggles.”

Then my love handles got wedged in the arms of the chair, and as I wiggled my way out, any illusions of Victoria Secret babeliciousness went down the drain. Oh well, back to reality, but I was happy knowing that at least, in one man’s eyes, I was as close to perfection as there ever was.

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