Many of you know that I shaved my beard completely off after Christmas. It was for personal reasons.
Before the holiday season started, I had told my wife that I was considering shaving off everything but my eyebrows after Christmas. She had commented that it had been quite some time since she' seen "the man she married" and that she loved my beard, but, if I were to shave it off, I had to leave the mustache. I told her that I would consider her request. I knew that I would look so much younger without the beard and 'stache, but perhaps leaving the 'stache would not make it where I looked drastically younger. And I told her that I was only shaving once with it starting to grow back immediately to be in the best shape possible for the 2016 holiday season.
Like everyone else, my body has changed over time. What was underneath my face frock now? That was my motivation to shave. So I did it. I came back from handing out presents at the hospital on Christmas Day morning, removed my outfit, put on some shorts and went into to get the trimmers. In an effort to surprise Reana, I had said to her in the prior week that I was reconsidering whether to just trim back or completely shave. She had replied each time that it was up to me. So when I passed her to get the trimmer, I told her that I was just taking off the head hair and trimming back the beard some. She was in conversation with her mother but said, "Okay" and went back to their topic. I went into the bathroom and closed the door, locking it to finally make sure the surprise was possible.
Then...it happened. I cleaned up, packed up the trimmer, broke out the razor and shaving cream and smoothed it out. "Holy crap," I thought to myself. I looked like a stranger. Lets see what my queen had to say. My mother in-law was the first to see me and her mouth dropped open. Reana had her back to me as I walked into the kitchen and she did not see the look on her mother's face, either. When she heard me walking up behind her, she stopped talking. As I do often, I stopped and put my hands on her shoulders. She reached up with one hand for my face and then looked up at me. Her mouth dropped open and she began crying. I came around in front of her and she buried her face in my smaller tummy and just caressed my face (I'd lost 22 lbs during the holidays). Then she said, "Why?" I told her that it was my plan all along and I what I said was an effort to surprise her.
Boy...did that work or what?!
I'm as vain as the next person. My mother would have said that I was more vain when I was a teenager. Vanity is about ego and I have tried to live my life with the character of St. Nick without ego. It is not easy. It takes work at putting others before yourself. It is something we all should do in our everyday lives. I call it the "Claus Effect" and its something every single person who chooses to portray the Jolly Old Elf should know & experience first-hand. If you don't, then you should consider your motivation. It can be life changing.
An unanticipated observation of this entire thing...the Claus Effect mindset did not leave me. It never crossed my mind before. But it makes sense. It is who I was all along but never really had anything to put it in the forefront of my daily thoughts like the Claus Effect had done. God knows what he is doing. Never doubt it.