Leading up to Christmas, Mike was growing increasingly concerned that his gift to me would not be here in time. It didn't matter how many times I told him not to worry, that I was an adult and could wait until it arrived, he continued to fret. He knew how upset I was to spend my first Christmas without my family; he explained that he just wanted me to have something to look forward to opening.
On Christmas Eve, as I was busy pushing our tiny oven and KitchenAid mixer to their breaking points, I heard a little yelp and then the hurried scuffing of his slippers across our hardwood floors, followed by the door slamming shut. A few moments later I heard the turn of the doorknob and him demanding, "Stay in the kitchen! Don't even THINK about turning around!" Soon he emerged from the bedroom, suddenly curious when I would be leaving the apartment to run the last errands of the day.
On Christmas morning, we snuggled up in the soft leather of our couch and began opening an impressive collection of gifts for just two adults. We sipped coffee and admired the gifts our family had chosen for us. We saved our big gifts for each other until the very end, with my small envelope for Mike looking quite puny next to an enormous box. I started opening the paper, unleashing the tape from the shiny wrapping paper, wondering what could possibly be underneath and where we would possibly have room for it in our apartment.
Suddenly I was staring at the box for the brand-new, wasn't even supposed to ship until January, 27-inch iMac. I fumbled for words and tears welled up in my eyes; Mike knew what was coming next and motioned for me to sit next to him on the couch and put his arm around me. He soothed the pit in my stomach, telling me to stop comparing the costs of our gifts to each other. He explained that more than a gift, the computer was his investment in me, in my budding photography business. It was a means to replace my 13.5-inch Macbook that I had pushed to the limits, especially over the last year.
With just an hour before we were set to leave to see his family, I started baking brioche rolls for breakfast and Mike ventured into our bedroom to begin setting up the computer. He cleared off his desk that previously housed his own laptop and had served as his command center for studying and applications over the past year. We got it up and running in no time at all and then checked-in with my family over Facetime.
I have had the past two days off from my job and have enjoyed setting-up the new workspace. There just isn't space in our cozy 750 square foot apartment for two desks, let alone an actual office, so it is now a shared space, where I can work, blog, and edit photos (at lightning speed!) and Mike can remote into his office when needed and read his favorite sports websites on this huge, crystal-clear screen. Mike's small Batman figurine (his good luck charm) watches over the desk.
I absolutely adore my new computer and have loved working in our bedroom, as it is the only room in the apartment that receives sunlight. I have hooked up the monster external hard drive my parents gave me, meaning my photos are now not only backed-up properly, but they are also off the hard drive, ensuring this computer stays super fast. My parents also gave me a Wacom Tablet for Christmas and I am looking forward to adding my handwriting and doodles to some of our photos this year!
Though I have only had it for a few days, my biggest concern with having a desktop - feeling as though I was removed from Mike when I am working - hasn't really been an issue. Instead, it has made me recognize a stopping point in the evening and turn off the computer so I can go be with Mike. With my laptop, I always had it on and was always working or reading blogs, even if I was sitting next to him, meaning it wasn't actually quality time together. The past few nights, after I have turned off the computer, we have either played a game or read - actual books! I am hoping this remains true once we are back on our normal, non-holiday schedule.
I feel like the luckiest girl in the world - not only to have this beautiful new machine to work on, but mostly to be marrying someone so thoughtful and sweet, someone who believes in me and everything I dare to dream.