365: Body, Mind, Spirit | Week 12








I could be generalizing, but in my experience, Hispanic family members tell you to your face what they think about your shirt, boyfriend, house, and thighs under the assumption you have waited for their opinion for most of your life with baited breath. My mother, for example, had no problem smiling at my new college boyfriend upon meeting him, chatting him up, and after wishing him a good day and closing the door, turned to me and said, “¡Por Dios, no! Es un salame.”

And that, was that. (Except for the recounting of the many, many, many examples of said salame-ness. That took a while.)

The other day I went over to my parents’ house wearing my compression pants–because that’s all I ever wear now, sadly–and I felt like all eyes were on me. I waited for someone to say something.

Well! Those are some work out clothes, huh?

Are those pants you wear all the time, or just inside the house?

You know, Jules, did I mention I still have a Sports Mart gift card I have never used?

Oddly, no one said anything. I could tell my dad was thinking of saying something. I could see him weighing the pros and cons and ultimately deciding against saying a word. Smart move. Two hours later he called, which I predicted. It’s impossible for him to hold his opinion on anything, ever. Luckily, I don’t have that problem.

[pause for laughter]

“You know, Jules, I saw you in your work out pants today.”

“Yup, I’m sure you did.”

“Well, I just wanted to say that I can tell you’ve been walking. Good job.”

Huh. I wasn’t expecting that one.

Of course a 10 minute conversation on the importance of exercise followed, complete with a detailed account of his own routine plus some suggestions for other ways I may want to work out if I ever get bored with walking now that I have such fancy pants.

I think this lifelong exposure to an overabundance of words is what attracted me to the Mister like a bee to honey.

Unlike every single person I’m related to, he’s more of a still waters run deep kind of guy. It’s not that he isn’t affectionate or loving–quite the opposite. He’s a great guy I’m lucky to have married. But he’s not a guy who’s going to surprise me with two tickets to Paris. Those elaborate birthday presents you hear about, with the trail of clues that leads to the 1st edition book of poetry that reminds him of when you first met? Never in a million, trillion years. I get 3 presents every year (one of them a book), and he puts them all in one box if we have one the right size. If we don’t, they all go in one bag from the birthday aisle at Target. I get three cards. One serious one, one funny one, and one from the boys.

What he lacks in romantic spontaneity he more than makes up for with loyalty and kindness. If I have a headache in the middle of the night, he’ll get up and make me an ice bag and bring me Tylenol. He helps around the house without me having to ask and encourages me to write daily. He’s involved with the boys, and not just with all the fun stuff. He cares about raising responsible, good men and teaches them life skills like how to pick weeds or fold shirts; how to wash a car; the best technique for shooting paper wrapper bullets from straws in restaurants; and which rules are worth following and which could use a little bending.

He would never, ever say one negative word about my weight or appearance. Never has, never will. He knows I do enough of that in my head (drives him nuts), but even if I didn’t, it’s not his style. He not a man of many words, and certainly not ones that hurt. He won’t say anything, really, unless he means it and unless he’s sure.

I was adding one of my daily walk pictures to instagram last week when he walked into the kitchen, covered in grass and little bits of dirt from yardwork, to pour himself a glass of water. I made room for him at the counter and played with filters while he stood there drinking and refilling. Finally he put the glass down, gave me an affectionate pat, and as he walked away in a cloud of freshly mowed lawn tossed over his shoulder those three little words every wife wants to hear.

“Your butt’s smaller.”

And that, was that.

Song of the Week

Classy GirlsThe Lumineers (Nico loves this song.)

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    Oh Jules! I come from an Hispanic family too, y’know, so I totally get it. Every time I see my mom, I wait for the comments about my hair. Every. Single. Time. (Good when it’s short, amd bad, like now, when it’s longer & thicker.) I had to click over for “salami” though — must be Argentinian Spanish? My mom doesn’t use much Spanish, but it would be “pendejo” for us. (Or worse.)

    What a nice surprise from your dad — and your husband, too. Your guy sounds a whole lot like mine…with a few extra presents thrown in. 😉

  2. Sarah says

    I thought that “You’re Right” were the best words in the English language, but ” Your butt’s smaller” might just take the lead.

  3. says

    Sounds like you have an amazing husband and dad there! My husband has also made comment of my shrinking parts, but usually with disdain. Turns out he likes the bigger butt, and is sad to see it go. :-) I, however, am looking forward to fitting a bit less snugly into my pants, so for now, a little here and there has to go!

    My parents were quite the opposite of yours when I was growing up. They were very much the “Let her figure it out” kind of people. I brought home my fair share of salames, but they always kept their mouths shut about it. I knew my husband was good with them the first time he came over for Thanksgiving. He doesn’t like turkey, and after finding that out, my mom cooked him chicken…special, just for him. She NEVER did that. Every year since, she has done it…just for him. I guess she felt he was worth keeping around enough to make sure he didn’t leave the house hungry. :-)

  4. Jill says

    Love this! I am fortunate enough to have married a “still waters run deep” kind of guy, and our son seems to have inherited the same personality–when we met with his kindergarten teacher last year, she used that exact idiom. I was beaming. I too am from a family that tells it like it is (in their opinion) and I am the same, perhaps a little less so, but that could just be me hoping, wishing, and telling myself that I’m not THAT bad. Anyway, all of this to say, still waters do run deep. A woman lives to hear those words. What a smart man you have.

  5. says

    I also come from a family of too many words when it comes to this subject. I do my best when nobody says a peep, because even the affirmation can quickly take a downturn for me. And I love that your husband sounds like mine; no false praise or endless commentary on my struggles. Last week I made the comment, “I think my workout efforts are making a little difference.” Instead of an expected, “Good job” or “Nice!”, I got a, “Well, I can feel a difference. I’m proud of you.” and I was like YES YES YES YESSSSS! =D Am I still on the beginner levels of my little routine? Yes. But the important thing is that I’m going to keep going.

  6. Susie says

    *Happy sigh* I love a good story, especially about a sweet husband who takes time to say and do the things that count. This reminds me I should thank my own sweet husband today for who he is and what he means to me.

  7. Val says

    Haha! Excellent! See, I come from a family of severely reserved WASPs, so there’s a whole other set of issues when it comes to family relations. I quite enjoy being married to a loud-mouth. He also would never, ever, ever say anything negative about my appearance (mama didn’t raise no fool), but he is generous with the appreciative whistle or the “Damn, woman, where did that dress come from? Go buy three more of them!” Nice when you come from a family that is too polite to notice that you just cut off 8 inches of hair.

    And please God, don’t let my husband ever say, “Your butt’s smaller” to me. That would mean that my NoAssAtAll Syndrome has reached the terminal stage. But congrats to you, on your excellent man and your excellent rear. :)

  8. amy says

    Thank you for your beautiful writing. Love the story, love the way you told it, and love following this journey you’re on.

  9. frances says

    I could echo everyone else’s comments about your sweet husband and father, or I could compliment your lovely storytelling, but instead I will just say – I love that song, too! I am literally listening to the album right now.

  10. Susan G says

    LOL while reading the comments. Seems you attract a large share of big-mouth ethnic women married to those reserved still deep waters types. I’m one of them – WAY too much sharing of opinions, personal information, and everyone else’s personal information in my Jewish family. I married into a stereotypical Yankee family – it took us all a little time to get used to each other.

    In my family the guy would have been a shlimil, or worse. :)

    • Susan G says

      By the way, I finally finished Oscar Wao yeterday. It took me WEEKS – and I found it very confusing (I was never sure which generation I was reading about) but then I started This is How You Lose Her and really enjoyed it. I read it in a few hours last night – it had an easy flow to it the first one was lacking. So thank you for “making” me read this. :)

  11. says

    I think my inlaws and your family would get along fabulously. The two hours later call would be inevitable, IF she/they didn’t say something at the time. But that has never happened, at least not that I can remember.

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