I’ll admit it – I like candles. A lot. I like them dotted all over our bedroom. I like them lining the sides of the bathtub. I like them in the center of the dining table in big, glass hurricane holders and I like them scattered all over my bookcases. Heck, I’d probably even put one in my car if there was somewhere to stash it. I love the damn things. Just having them around makes me feel relaxed. They make me happy. I don’t need to explain any further, okay?
Now, for the record, my lovely hubby really dislikes candles. He absolutely hates them actually (and that’s putting it mildly). We don’t bicker over many things, but the topic of candles is always sure to get his knickers in a twist.
Every time I bring (or sneak…to be more accurate) a new candle into the house, we get into an ‘animated debate’ about how he thinks that I have far too many candles around the house and how I think that he’s wrong (because he is). The debate usually goes something like this:
HUBBY: Is that another candle over there?
ME: Umm, no. We’ve had that candle forever.
HUBBY: No, it’s new. I know it’s new.
ME: Fine. It might be new.
HUBBY: You might as well just take a twenty-dollar bill and burn it out back.
ME: It didn’t cost me twenty dollars.
HUBBY: You couldn’t pay me enough to have that candle.
ME: That’s nice, Honey.
Or sometimes the discussion goes like this:
HUBBY: Why do you need to buy more and more candles if you never actually light and burn the ones that you have?
ME: I do light some of my candles!!
HUBBY: Oh, really? Which ones?
ME: The scented candle in the kitchen that smells like freshly baked cookies. Whenever people stop by, they always mention how lovely our house smells! (This is the point when I usually give him one of those smug ‘I told you candles are marvelous’ grins.)
HUBBY: Why don’t we just bake some cookies, rather than buying a candle that imitates the baked cookie smell? Why fake it?
ME: You’re missing the point.
And here is my favorite candle discussion with him:
HUBBY: You know, if the electricity should suddenly cut out for…oh, I don’t know….a decade, we’d have more than enough candles to light up our house. And the neighbor’s house. And the house next to that.
ME: Well, that just proves how practical my candle collection really is.
ME: And it proves just how fortunate you are to have a wife who’s so prepared for a major power outage. You never know when an emergency will happen. You’re lucky I’m so on top of things. So forward thinking. I could save our family from darkness.
HUBBY: You could save the entire city from darkness with all of these candles.
ME: So which do you dislike more….my decorative candles, or my decorative sticks? (I may or may not have a few…okay, quite a few…decorative sticks scattered around the house in pretty vases. But we’ll talk about them some other time.)
HUBBY: Both. I dislike them both equally.
ME: So you’d rather have no candles and no decorative sticks around here?
HUBBY: And no throw pillows.
ME: Now you’re just being ridiculous.
The nice thing is that when it comes to interior decorations, our kids never really seem to notice anything. Unless it’s covered in Star Wars characters, can be assembled like Legos, or comes with a remote control, it doesn’t even enter their radar. I always thought that if someone asked them how many candles their mommy has, they’d probably just stare at you with a clueless look on their faces and ask if you were talking about birthday candles (because they notice anything associated with cake).
But I’ve noticed lately that the boys are growing more and more observant. They seem to notice things that they never really cared about before. And they seem to have more and more opinions about practically everything, which I usually find very exciting. I love getting into a good discussion with them and finding out exactly what’s going on inside their heads.
Until they brought up my candles, that is.
One night after bath time, Fin walked over to a collection of pillar candles in our hallway, pointed at them with a confused look on his face and said “Mom, why are these here?”
I looked over at them and said “They’re for decoration, Honey. Aren’t they pretty?”
“No, not really,” he said, brushing some dust off of the candle holder. “They just look blah.”
Blah?! My candles don’t look blah! I felt immediately defensive…and shocked.
“Well, I think those candles look really nice. And calming. I find them very calming,” I said.
“You don’t seem calm,” he commented. Cheeky. Very cheeky.
“Well, I am calm. They make me calm,” I insisted.
“But you never light them. Candles are supposed to be lit. That’s why they have those strings sticking out of them,” he insisted, twisting the wick on one of the candles.
“You mean the wick? Well, yes, you could light them I guess. But I don’t light those candles there. I just like to look at them.” I could feel my cheeks starting to burn up, the way they tend to when I’m put on the spot. What’s so wrong about putting candles around your house? And who says that you have to light them? Is there some unwritten rule that I don’t know about?
“Well, it’s weird to have candles and not light them,” Fin said, raising his eyebrows ever so slightly. He looked just like his daddy. He was starting to sound like him, too.
“No, it’s not weird,” I insisted.
“Yes, it is.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yeah, it is!”
“No, it’s not!” As the words flew out of my mouth, I suddenly remembered that I was arguing with my eight year old son. This maybe wasn’t my most mature moment, but whatever. He was picking on my pretty candles.
Gregor came waltzing out of our bedroom and gave me one of those ‘I told you so’ smiles. I glared right at him. He just kept smiling.
“I agree, Buddy,” Gregor commented. “Mommy’s candles are totally weird.”
“Were you talking to him about my candles?” I asked him.
“Nope, never mentioned a word,” Gregor claimed. “He brought this up all by himself. Looks like I’m not the only one around here who doesn’t like candles.”
“Yeah, I don’t like ’em,” Fin commented, grinning at his father.
And then Gregor and Fin did a fist bump right in front of me. Clearly they have formed some sort of anti-candle alliance.
All of a sudden, I heard two little voices yell out “Yeah, Mommy’s candles are SO weird!” Cal and Ro-Ro came running out of the bathroom and gave Gregor the biggest, most enthusiastic fist bumps that I’ve ever seen. The little traitors.
I looked over at Gregor and he was absolutely glowing. He shrugged his shoulders and tried to act as though he wasn’t thrilled about this little turn of events. He’s awful at hiding his true feelings. He was eating it right up. I rolled my eyes at him as a victorious grin spread across his face. If he thought that this little revolution was going to make me get rid of all of my candles, then he was very, very wrong.
For the first time ever, I realized just how outnumbered I am around here. Even the dog is a boy!!! There’s testosterone flowing absolutely everywhere and there’s only one thing that I can do about it….
Buy more candles.