growing up, there wasn't a sneeze in the house that wasn't immediately followed by a "God bless you!", "salut!", "ay, ay, ay...!", "bless you", or "geeeeeeez loiuse, are you okay?!". i guess one could say sneezes were an attention grabber, as well as an opportunity for someone to tell you they heard ya, were worried about ya, or just plain impressed! in any case, it seemed normal to me to hear a reaction to my sneeze, and i'd always follow with a, "thank ya!"
then i got married. and just like that, my sneezes went unnoticed. and let me tell you, people don't not-notice my sneezes. that'd be like not noticing an elephant stepped on your toe. but i would sneeze, and nothing would happen. hmmm. finally, (about a year later) i brought it up to josh. "babe, how come you never say 'bless you' when i sneeze? i always say it to you, and you sneeze three times in a row!" babe replied, "i dunno. i figured you knew i knew you sneezed. it's not exactly the silent, honey. i'm just not a 'bless you' kind of guy. why do you care so much?" aw bummer. "i dunno, i guess i just see it as a sign of...showing someone you care. so... sometimes it just feels like you don't care that my head almost exploded into a million pieces right in front of your eyes!" (i know, a bit dramatic, but what else is new?) poor josh is just blown away by this time. i can see it on his face. "seriously, honey?? um, okay..... would you LIKE me to say 'bless you' to you EVERY time you sneeze??" okay, that was plain sarcasm, and he expects me to say noooooooo, it's just.... so i say, "yes, please" with a sh*t-eatin grin on my face :-D "thanks, honey!".
i thought he'd push back, maybe say i was ridiculous, maybe continue with a more detailed explanation of why it wasn't important to say it every time someone sneezed, including me, and why i should just knowwww that he hears me and OF COURSE wants me to be BLESSED every time. but no, he just smiled, chuckled, nodded, and said, "alright, babe."
fast forward a few months and josh has NEVER failed to say 'bless you' after i sneeze. and i'm not kidding, i sneeze more now that i'm pregnant, so i'm rather impressed. he yells "bless you!" it from inside the shower. he'll pat my leg and say "bless you" when i accidentally sneeze in his ear while we're cuddling on the couch. a few weeks ago, i sneezed at 5am because i was super hungry (don't ask--different story, different day...) and i hear a half-asleep "blssyu" come from my right (your left). like, seriously!? you freaking ROCK, honey.
so, not only is every "bless you" followed by my "thank ya", but every "bless you" reminds me of how this guy DOES NOT STOP trying at our marriage. it may be a small gesture, but it's beautiful, and it only encourages me to try just as hard at the big things in our marriage, as well as the little things, every single day.
...josh is out of town this weekend. when i sneezed about 20 minutes ago, the silence was painful. i was reminded of him (yet again, for the 67th time this weekend) and just had to share my newfound appreciation of him and his sweet, sweet commitment.