Most Precious Gifts
happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've
decided to look beyond the imperfections.” —Anonymous
Faramir looked around his table with warmth and pride, and leaned over
to whisper to Eowyn: “Is it not a lovely sight tonight?”
Eowyn, a little less poetic than her husband, took another look to see
if she had missed something important.
Just across from her, on Faramir’s immediate left, sat Elboron, their
eldest, pretending that the knife in his one hand was dueling with the
spoon in his other hand.
Next to her elder brother was Theowyn, five years old, and just
tall enough that her eyes showed above the table in a full sized chair.
This fact, of course, made it so that she begged and pestered to be
allowed to leave her “baby” seat. Even now she was looking enviously at
her brother, and Eowyn felt that at any moment she would either poke
him for no apparent reason, thus causing a tussle, or ask once again to
have a big seat just like him.
At the end, in a very high chair, sat little Beren, a perfect
nobleman’s son at only two years old. Perfect, that is, if it were not
for the fact that he was using his fork to stab his chair in what he
thought were interesting patterns.
And Turion, the new baby, was drooling resolutely on the sleeve of
her gown and reaching for more mashed apples. Eowyn deduced that he
still did not desire them to eat, but to continue his various projects
with them: using them to test gravity, seeing if it was more fun
drooling them on his mother’s clothes, putting them on his fingers to
paint the table, using them as makeshift facial cream, or even
mischiefs yet unimagined.
Then she looked back at Faramir, and caught the quiet humor in his
eyes, and laughed softly. “Yes, very lovely.”
“Did you ever imagine it might one day be like this?” he asked.
“No,” she said fervently. “Not once.”
He laughed. “I did not mean the drool and mashed apple, of course,
but the fact that we are together, in peace, in our own house, with a
family; and the fact that our children do not have to worry that any
moment their father might be called away to war.”
Eowyn looked up into his eyes with a quiet appreciation. “I know,”
she said, reaching for and squeezing his hand. “There are moments where
I forget how lucky we are and how heartbroken I would be if I lost my
wonderful, exasperating family. Inexplicably, though they drive me out
of my mind during the day, every night I can do nothing but thank
whatever power is ruling this world for the fact that they are able to
cause trouble, not having to find comfort in each other’s arms for the
loss of loved ones, as might easily have been.”
“I am glad,” said Faramir, and he leaned in closer to give her a kiss.
“Because I think the same.”
“Ada! Not at the table!” cried Elboron.
“I will do what I like at my own table,” responded his father
nobly. “You should remember that you are only here because your parents
love each other, and be very grateful.”
“Yes, but not at the table,” muttered Elboron in response.
“Wonderful and exasperating, eh?” asked Faramir with amusement. “May I
quote you on that, beloved?”
“With pleasure,” responded Eowyn lovingly. “And now, supper should
“What is supper, Mummy?” asked Theowyn.
“Honeyed ham,” answered her mother.
“But I hate honeyed ham!” said Theowyn in an adamant and disappointed
manner. “I have never eaten it before!”
“How can you say that you hate it if you have never had it?” asked
“And Theowyn, there is no complaining about food,” put in Faramir
“But I do hate it,” she muttered. “It has icky fat on it.”
The servants came in, bearing great silver platters with sliced
ham, which they laid before Faramir. Theowyn looked up from where she
had been fiddling with her napkin, and exclaimed:
”Oh! Honeyed ham! I remember this; I have
eaten it. This is my favorite food in the whole world!”
Eowyn did not sigh, nor did she roll her eyes, nor did she say “See
what I told you?” She looked at Faramir, and he looked back at her, and
then they laughed together.
Oh yes, domestic life at Emyn Arnen could never be called boring,
and Eowyn would not change it for the thrones of Gondor and Arnor.
Well, perhaps she could do without the drool...and the misuse of
silverware...and the moodiness...and mismatched stockings—but those
would pass with time and discipline and she could deal with them,
knowing that beneath all the irritations of daily life was her family
and her home, the most precious gifts that life could offer. And she
would never let herself forget it.