A Thing That You Do

I started taking piano lessons the summer between 5th and 6th grade. My piano teacher told me that it was very important that I keep my fingernails short. So I did.

It was a thing I was supposed to do.

Now, when I say, “so I did,” I mean, “Given my general lack of attentiveness and indifference to such matters, I would, when pressed, remember that I was supposed to keep them cut short, and act more-or-less accordingly,” — which is a much weaker sentence. More accurate, but definitely not as strong as saying “So I did”.

As I gradually grew into whatever level of attentiveness came to represent my maturity, I lost the discipline of keeping my fingernails short. I started keeping them short again after I got married, for reasons I will get to in a moment.

Unlike the stock photo that accompanies this piece, I have usually cut my own nails. I will admit to having gone through a period of my life where I got manicures, but the pandemic ended that, and I’ve never started back up again.

A lot of things have “never started back up again” since the pandemic.

I am thinking of all of this because I cut my fingernails just before writing this post. And I do it now, not for piano playing reasons, but because my wife likes the way my fingers feel on her skin. She likes the feel of fingernails less.

So it is just a thing that I do, because when I touch her, I want her to enjoy it. And once she has told me what she enjoys most, it is important to me to remember and act accordingly.

Much of love in the long term consists of what are commonly called “little things”, or what I am calling “just a thing that you do”. They are not dramatic or earth-shaking; they are just decisions that you try to make and then not simply unmake.

In the same way, much of bettering love in the long term consists of noticing and acting on other such things. My wife finds these things for me often.

And it means a lot.

Love is a paycheck, not a bonus; 
It's not the rain, but more the sea --  
Love is like breathing more than running; 
Best seen and showed in its 


5 thoughts on “A Thing That You Do

  1. Truly lovely! Thank you for the reminder that love is about the little things! You’re a good man, my friend 🌺

  2. Pingback: The Little Things – Read and Write Here

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