After a long and dreary winter, the sun is the big event. We tumble pell-mell out of our houses and condos for the feel of the light on our upturned faces, the city parks are overrun, everyone we meet smiles and says it’s a beautiful day, isn’t it? You love this about our city in the country: your biggest complaint about city living was how no one makes eye contact or says hello to a stranger.
Sometimes our life can feel like one long task-list, a never-ending catch up, and a full calendar page. These are the day-after-days of needs and bathtime and fingernail clipping, dish-washing and tidying, spelling tests and working and loving to the corners of the mundane moments.
I joke that the vast majority of my life is spent moving both things and/or little people from one place to another place.
So we headed out on a Sunday night, you and me and our little gang. I tossed a few apples into a my purse, filled up the water bottles, and we loaded everyone into the minivan. We drove to the nearby ocean. Anne quickly filled a shopping bag with seashells, she’s part magpie, mostly fairy. Evelynn tried to eat sand (because of course, that is the type of thing that Evelynn does – regularly). Joseph explored and talked to himself: he’s the only one so far with an imaginary world of his own creation always nearby. I like to be outside with the tinies, and the further we are from a playground the better for all of us.
We talked a lot about the whole new speaking thing that’s developing as part of my work. I was nervous. And conflicted because I don’t want to contribute to the noise. I’ve rejected the “person at the front having all the answers” model. (I’m more a “beside” person than an “up front” person.) Some people are born preachers or teachers. I’m not – clearly. I’m just me. And I don’t like the industry side of McChurch … and yet … it’s nice to get a couple bucks for doing the work I’ve done for free all these years. Two more speaking things are booked, a few more already scheduled for the summer, book edits are due soon, and you’re rearranging your life for the unexpected direction my life is taking. Life is changing again, another new season for us.
You told me to relax. And watch the sunset happening right now. So I did.
A while ago, I was thinking about writing through a Practices of Marriage series on my blog, much like my old Practices of Mothering one. There seemed to be fair interest when I mentioned it on my Facebook page, and I was trying to be “strategic” with my work here for a change.
But the more I thought about it, the more I felt it wasn’t right to do. I’ve never approached this place or my work or my writing in that way. And more importantly, we’re just us. I’m losing my appetite for instruction manuals. Marriage is complex and intimate; I haven’t any business stomping through the mystery. I can’t tell anyone how to be married because all I know about marriage is what we’ve done together here for all these years. It’s tempting to make a rule out of my own experience. But it’s a temptation I’ll let pass for today.
I can only tell my own story of how love looks for us today. (Most of the time. Sometimes. Not all the time.) Love looks different for each of us: for us, it looks like this, for tonight anyway, it looks like holding hands in the minivan, and a bit of fresh air and wilderness, it looks like making each other’s dreams come true.
We’ve changed a lot over the past 14 years. Ten years from now, our marriage will likely look different again. We’ll keep finding the faithful way to love each other in every moment, whatever comes, I hope.
You’re turning quite grey, you know. Not that I’m one to talk.
We stopped at a sandwich shop for a bite of supper. You sat in the corner of the fluorescent chain restaurant while the older two balanced precariously on those tall bar chairs, Evelynn hollering for more of your ham sandwich from her highchair, we were all windswept and alive as birth. This is all you’ve ever wanted – a little tribe of our own, eating sandwiches together, smelling like the ocean with sand in our sensible shoes, another day together. It’s tiring and crazy and, God, we love it. We are so done having babies, but I catch your eye, and you raise your eyebrows and grin at me, and I blush like I’m still 19, and I think, well…. maybe one more.
Maybe. Probably not. But maybe.
I write now and then about what love looks like for us.