Our wedding day seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Was there ever a time we didn’t share the same bed every night? Move in the same space? It’s funny how I could spend 23 years living and growing up with my family, yet somehow I feel like I did much more living and growing up in our 10 years together. I thought the part in The Social Animal where David Brooks talks about people not truly being adults until their 30s rang true, which makes me very grateful that I had you as an influence as I came into my own adulthood.
I have these moments sometimes where it almost feels like we live and breath within the same body. And other times when I look at you almost like I’ve never seen you before. It’s hard to label what you are to me. I know many marriages are without spiritual alignment or emotional support or physical comfort or laughter or fun, so I’m thankful we have those things. I’m glad that we’re friends and partners in this life, and hope we’ll continue to both love and like each other over the next many years.
When I think over defining moments of our marriage, they always include the birth of our children. Especially with Henry’s birth I appreciated what a perfect support you were to me. You really were incredible at anticipating my needs and were such a comfort to me. Which really was just a microcosm of your role as my husband throughout our marriage. Your ability to strengthen and encourage me was almost always (you taught me to qualify everything!) outstanding.
So thank you for these 10 years. Thank you for your tenderness and understanding. Thank you for your commiseration. Thank you for your frankness and instruction. Thank you for Denmark but especially England. Thank you for the many ways you melded yourself to me for the purpose of making a stronger ‘us.’ Thank you for our three beautiful, strong boys. Thank you for loving me always.
Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,
Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only a shade,
And once more I am blessed, choosing
again what I once chose before.
“The Wild Rose” by Wendell Berry
May tends to be one of those months full of weddings and graduations and end-of-year parties. Ours definitely was. It also coincided with my having one of my busiest freelance writing months ever. Last fall I handled the 20-30 hour work weeks on top of being a full-time stay-at-home mom rather badly. I was cranky and exhausted and concluded it all by coming down with two weeks worth of not-the-swine-flu.
When I picked up a new client and their large, exciting new feature story at the end of April, I was determined that I would do better. I was going to be disciplined, happy, productive mom and not on-edge, I-AM-YELLING-AT-YOU-BUT-NOW-I’m-talking-normally-to-someone-on-the-phone-BECAUSE-AT-LEAST-THEY-DON’T-POUR-THEIR-MILK-DOWN-THEIR-DIAPER kind of mom.
And it went really, really well. The days were full, but I had great support from my own mother and siblings who played with James in the mornings while John was at preschool and I interviewed, transcribed, wrote and edited like my life depended on it. Also from Michael who, despite being in the middle of end-of-semester grading, didn’t give me a guilt trip about giving me pockets of time to work here and there when I really needed them. And who understood that once this busy period comes to an end, you will find the time to share all the thoughts you’ve that go beyond just the basic, necessary aspects of daily communication you have to have in order to function as a family.
The only hitch in my carefully laid out plans was the day before the first draft of the article was due when James discovered he could climb out of his crib. When he finally went to sleep, and I discovered I could pound out some pretty decent prose in 45 short minutes even when exhausted from working my final day of Mom’s Day Out for the year.
And then I turned the project in that night. On schedule. Ten hours early even!
You know how after you finish a big, multi-week project that required a ridiculous amount of childcare planning and discipline to stay on your production schedule, and then you CAN’T RELAX? That’s how I felt Friday. At least until dinnertime when I broke out a bottle of celebratory sauvignon blanc.
Here’s to summer!
Michael and I took our buy-one-get-one-free Qdoba coupon out for a hot date tonight. There we talked about deep personal issues like the NFL draft and the grammar of hot dogs.
Rebekah: So what did you have for dinner at the volley ball game last night?
Michael: A hot dog and a weenie.
Rebekah: Aren’t they the same thing?
Michael: No, a hot dog is a weenie in a bun, and a weenie is a weenie.
Rebekah: And two weenies are…?
Rebekah: And if they are in buns?
Michael: Hot Dogs.
It’s true that Michael is more intimately attuned to the world of processed meats than I am, but is this is this REALLY how people talk about hot dogs? Is this like a Coke vs soda regional thing?
Does anyone else think it’s hilarious to hear a guy with a PhD in philosophy say things like “a weenie is a weenie”???
I realized last night that summer is truly over when Michael and I had our first weekend work negotiation. We both have between 60-80 hours worth of work to do between our “regular jobs” – Michael: teaching, Me: children and household; and our extra jobs – Michael: publication and job application work, Me: freelance writing assignments and teaching.
It’s nice that we both love what we do (with the exceptions of grading and dusting) so work generally doesn’t feel like Work. Though there are times I really miss having the clearly delineated 8:00-5:00 work schedule.
This weekend I attended the wedding of my childhood best friend’s 78-year-old grandmother, a woman who I’ve only ever called “Grandma Gus.” Grandpa Gus passed away a few years back and this spring she met Ray on a Norwegian cruse. A whirlwind courtship later, Grandma Gus and Ray tied the knot on July 4th in the backyard where I grew up playing Lost Kids with Renee and the other neighborhood kids.
The engagement threw a lot of people for various reasons. My mother’s reaction to the news was the most hilarious. She waved her hands and “pshawed” and exclaimed in a very uncharacteristic way, “Well, when I die, make sure your father doesn’t remarry just any old hussy!” As if that is something Daddy would be likely to do.
The pastor at the wedding mentioned that he felt like he had no wisdom to offer a couple with a combined total of 84 years of solid, healthy marriage experience between them. He did manage to come up with something, though I missed it all because John decided at that moment he needed to find the “Wedding Potty.” Which is too bad because today we celebrated our, in comparison, very youthful marriage of seven years and always need the good advice. I hardly know how to quantify these seven years in a way that makes sense. Possession-wise, we really don’t have anything more than we did back when first got married other than one very nice crib. We have a few extra academic degrees, two children, and many enriching, challenging experiences. And a much deeper understand of the commitment we made to each other that day – a commitment that, for all our talking about it beforehand, we barely understood the full ramifications of.
To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.
Me: Have you heard of that pastor out in Seattle that does the Song of Solomon series? Someone told me that he tells Christian women that they should perform oral sex on their non-Christian husbands to encourage them to convert.
Girl Friend: It’s a good thing Bill is already a Christian or he’d be damned to hell.