It’s been a crazy past couple of weeks. I have 57 posts swirling through my head but I haven’t forced myself to sit down long enough to get them on paper…or…typed up as the case may be. So I’m taking this opportunity (oldest little girl in gymnastics for an hour) to write the first one (of 57). Ahem.
Last Thursday and Friday I took a whirlwind trip to Phoenix to attend my aunt’s funeral. It’s not fair on so many levels but I was very glad to be there, with my family, celebrating her life.
Phoenix in Summer. You know those rubber things you squeeze as a child and the eyeballs pop out? That, my friends, is how I feel in Phoenix during the summer. Dry heat or not…110 degrees is not okay. Furthermore? On a quick trip to a restaurant in the mountains that is a staple for our family visits, I became allergic to something, and from that point forward I was stuffy and my head ached. What I’m saying is this…a for one, it was a quick turnaround (in Phoenix for 36 hours) which is always rough, b for two, it was hotter than hell (this is not an exaggeration), c for three, my head was stuffed and pounding for the majority of the trip, and d for four, it was very very emotional because we were there to mourn my aunt.
As my brother and I sat in Starbuck’s, waiting for our flight, I thought a lot about my uncle and the challenges he would now be facing. Without his life partner. And I remembered something that happened a couple weeks ago. I was in the car with my oldest little girl. She’s in a phase in which she wants me to play her songs she hasn’t heard and she decides if she wants them on her play list. We’ve been singing at the top of our lungs to old school Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and Demi Lovato. On this particular car ride I was playing some Katy Perry songs she’d never heard. I usually sing along to help her decipher the lyrics…so she can then sing along too. I was playing the song “Not Like the Movies” and as I got to the chorus I got choked up. So much so that I had to stop singing for fear I may start crying.
Now…to be clear…I am not a cryer. Like…at all. But damn it…there are songs (and one Buddweiser commercial starring a horse…what?!) that get me sometimes. This song, however, had never done so. Until now.
Three years ago this week we moved into our house. We were at rock bottom. The move came at the worst possible time for our relationship. I know, let’s throw in a house move right when things are really really bad, GREAT IDEA! The evening before closing, we had just dropped our huge U-Haul truck in front of our soon-to-be home, and we were heading back to the townhouse we’d been staying in since our old house had sold. On that ride I was thinking ‘I can still get out of this. He can either move forward on his own or decide not to go, but I can still get out of this. This is a really bad idea. I. Should. Not. Be. Doing. This.’
I did it though. We moved in Memorial Day Weekend and it was truly awful. Everything about it was truly awful. Thinking about it makes me anxious even now. The weeks and months that followed were ugly. So many things were wrong and neither of us was convinced we’d make it. I’d venture to guess that we both were fairly certain we wouldn’t. Often times I’d find myself driving alone, listening to the song “Not Like the Movies,” and thinking ‘yeah…this is NOT like the movies…but that’s how it SHOULD be.’ The song was hard for me to listen to because it made me seriously consider whether this relationship was right. For me, for my husband, and for my little girls.
Things got worse, we decided on a date by which things needed to be significantly better, and if they weren’t significantly better I was prepared to go. Thankfully, that date came and went, and things were in fact better. And they continued to get even better than that. 2011 proved to be the best year of our marriage, 2012 was good but we faced some obstacles, but 2013? 2013 is ridiculous thus far.
When the song played a couple weeks ago, and I sang the lyrics for my oldest little girl, I realized that while three years ago it felt like a good argument for why our marriage wouldn’t make it…now it describes exactly what we do have. All of the things I thought we were lacking back then, I now feel like we have in spades. Now that things are good, I can also clearly remember when we first met, and how amazing it was then. Things were magical in the beginning, and they’re magical now, and it IS like the movies.
In Starbuck’s, about to leave Phoenix, I realized that you can’t understand real loss until you have real love. My heart breaks for my uncle because I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around losing my husband.
There are days when I fear that things will disintegrate. It happened once, who’s to say it can’t happen again? This past couple of weeks I haven’t been as chipper as I have for the past several months. I haven’t been going to the gym. I’ve been less productive. When this happens I feel sh-tty about myself and worry about what kind of wife I’m being. This morning I decided I needed to stay home from work because I’m sick. My husband brought me breakfast in bed and asked where my iPad was so he could bring me the paper. I mean…what?
I’m so grateful to be walking through this life with this guy. I’m also so incredibly grateful that we had those rough times…because without them? I’m not so sure we’d know how lucky we are to be happy and at peace now. Of course there will always be things that fire us up, and we will argue, and we will butt heads (two Type A personalities under one roof anyone?), but at the end of the day…our relationship is amazing. And I’ve never felt so sure of that, or so thankful, all at once.
TODAY: What if I take this time to step back and enjoy the good place my marriage is in? What if, when remembering those terrible times, I focus on the good they brought our way? And what if I do all I can to keep this relationship feeling “like the movies?” I’d love to look back at 50 years of that!