The guys are, literally, hitting the pedal to the medal. I hear the, thk, thk, thk, thk, of the machine; the motor whirring and clicking and the heavy thw-thwump as the foot pedal is depressed and the gigantic press cuts through the bars of steel. Deliveries are coming and going in our rush to get our work done before we head out for vacation. In the midst of a stressful day; papers strewn over two desks, I had to remind myself to be thankful. Busy as we are I have to remember that this is what allows us to live the way we do. Flexibility.
To the hubs, small business is his snub at corporate America. He never does things conventionally and chooses the path least taken; the alternative way. I am a rule follower. When I have a goal my path is set and variations from the routine become obstacles. The hubs has the gift of improvisation and an open mind. He thrives on challenges and welcomes the obstacles in his path; thrilling in finding alternative solutions when traditional ones do not work. When, recently, he was asked by a customer if he missed flying for the military; his answer surprised me. He likes to be able to call his own shots, the power to choose. Independence. The only thing he misses, truly, is the scary, exhilarating feeling of catching landing wire cables on a dark, moonless night on the aircraft carrier. My in-laws, staunch Republicans, have a section of wall, since 1996, dedicated to their son’s military time which usually generates lots of conversation with our customers. Most small business owners are, like-minded, and I continue my tasks at my computer as the political discussion whirls around me. I think of my bff in St. Louis who would enjoy this conversation with them. BIG LOL. One of the pictures, a panoramic shot, is one with my in-laws and my own mother, beneath the nose of the E2; my mother’s smile beaming from ear-to-ear.
We are different, he and I, as we walked Monday evening around the golf course our three sons were golfing at. I wondered aloud to him what we would do when we were empty-nesters. I am an early riser; he is not. I like routine; he abhors it. Vacations I am the one with the itinerary with new places to go; he prefers to do nothing and return to the same vacation spot, each year. I was walking quickly, he was muttering beneath his breath. If you want to walk ahead, go walk without me. He could feel me seethe in silence and so, he began his monologue to try to engage me in conversation. Harumph.
On my side of the family we are observing my younger cousins begin the cycle of weddings (some traditional; some not) and were asked, When did you realize he/she was THE ONE? The question was not asked by my younger cousins; but from the parents of these cousins; the sixty somethings going into retirement. Our sons have been asking us the same questions. Neither of us thought we’d end up with one another; I, the extrovert; he, the introvert. In September we will have been friends for 23 years, married for 15. That fall day, beneath the shady trees on our college campus in 1990, was the non-descript beginning of our relationship.
But it is not always smooth sailing; nautical pun aside. This marriage thing. It takes W-O-R-K.
Today, I have relegated him to the shop perimeter and to enter the office area with caution. I am grumpy. Is it a full moon? the kids asked? Why are you so annoyed with Dad? The soon-to-be teen had the gumption to ask about my monthly cycle (to which I inwardly laughed). The hubs has trained them well. They decided they would keep a wide berth around their mother and have inserted a DVD into the TV in the conference room; quietly. The middle son asked if I wanted chocolate; thinking it is the elixir that fixes all things.
When a woman becomes pregnant for the first time; those of us who have endured childbirth and are parents do not share: the pains of labor, the sleepless nights, the heartaches of watching your children pushing your limits. Instead, all mothers, alike, encourage and wistfully smile at the mom-to-be; enjoying memories of their own pregnancies. They dream of what the child is going to be like, within the womb. The same holds true for marriages. Whenever I happen to notice an older couple I immediately have the urge to ask, How do you do it? How do you endure one another? My in-laws have been married 47 years and I can still observe the affection and annoyance that only a comfortable relationship brings. Divorce is so prominent now that it is rare to observe what a real long lasting relationship is like; the ups and the downs. I watch my in-laws transition to retirement; my own sixty something family members only a few year behind. Then what?! My younger cousins imagine blissfull, romantic years of marriage before them.
marriage: a legally, religiously, or socially sanctioned union of persons who commit to one another, forming a familial and economic bond ~ Definition 1. Dictionary.com.
I sat with my girlfriend in San Diego; her husband currently deployed in Afghanistan. Her son shared with mine how he looks at the pictures of his Dad upon the walls, sometimes forgetting what he looks like. He is 13. Homecomings are the best I relayed to her. Strangely enough, one of the things I missed from the sixteen years of being a military dependent was the confirmation; the renewed passion and commitment, when the service member returns home. Many of those years I was a single wife/parent working or running my household. It was in the comings and goings of the hubs that I truly appreciated his companionship; the good as well as the bad. In married life we’ve become complacent; taking each other for granted. Now that the hubs does not come and go, working alongside the business, together, our relationship becomes stagnant; the spark needing to be kindled.
Today the yin, the dark, negative, feminine side, is winning. All I see are the flaws. But I am contrasted by my yang; the opposing complementary force that balances me. I am asking myself the questions the boys and family members continue to ask. How did I know he was the one? The person, 23 years ago, even the one I stood before God 15 years ago, is not the same one that stands before me today. I’d like to think we age as a fine wine; getting better with each passing year; the bouquet of flavors having a depth and complexity with maturity. Maybe today is a day when the tannin content is high and bitter; the vinegar biting. This may be the harbinger of the middle years I am in where hormone fluctuations create ever changing moods. Maybe some chocolate would be helpful after all.
On a random note, my author, Michael Pollan, made an appearance on ABC’s “The Chew” yesterday; the program on during our lunch hour. My sons know the hosts by name and are cataloging which recipes need to be created in our household. Fans of Iron Chef and Restaurant Impossible they constantly critique and observe the makings of meals. My two older boys cook; the third will learn as soon as he is taller. They are used to watching their parents chopping and dicing. They start to worry whenever their father gets the idea to try something new; constantly questioning what dinner is going to entail. They are good sports and try most things. They claim they are full or not hungry if the dish is something they do not like.
The hubs has invaded my desk; glancing over my shoulder noting the furious clicks on the keyboard as the thoughts become visual on the screen before me. I am blogging. I am blogging about you. I tell him, petulantly, staring at him defiantly. He is running a work errand and has asked if there is anything I need. Chocolate, I answer.
He gazes at me quietly, wiping his hands on his denim work apron. Keys in hand, he is off.
My mom’s words ring in my head; the reason I married him. Only my hubs has the patience to put up with me; weird idiosyncrasies and all. And this is why I love him. The bag of chocolate has been thrown down at my desk; brown eyes twinkling.
More physical and relational work to be done; hitting the pedal to the medal once again.