Do you ever have one of those days where the mere presence of a person just irritates you; to no end?
And that the person just happens to be your spouse? For an entire week? The moon was not full, nor am I near “that time” of the month.
I doggedly worked and tried to ignore him. Observing my mood, said spouse, opted to email me with items that needed my attention. The sound of his voice made me grit my teeth. The hairs on his face made me roll my eyes in annoyance. These are the cons of working with a spouse 24/7; separating the business from the personal. Walking into our CPA’s office, this morning, his snarky remark made me retort,
“Today is one of those days where I do not like you. I still love you. But I don’t always have to like you.”
Surprised, he could only stare back at me. And blessedly, thankfully, he finally remained silent. It has been a long week. I am not a personality that can hold my tongue. But I did. Because when my anger simmers beneath the surface I do not yell, nag or berate. Instead, I shut down; working like a drone. I could see the wheels turning in his head. He chose wisely.
This morning as I approached the traffic light where I turn towards my children’s schools; the minivan before me sharply veered into my lane, effectively cutting me off. Instinctively I laid on my horn hoping she’d avoid hitting my vehicle; I, in her blind spot. She just missed.
My eldest son grabbed my arm from across the car console as I emitted a low growl. All of my sons reminded me of my Lenten goal to be a good driver. Be good, Mom. Be good. I continued to growl as I gripped my steering wheel, following the mini van into our middle school drop-off lanes. As my eldest exited my vehicle he yelled to me. Be good Mom. You can do it.
My sons continue to grow before my very eyes and as we entered the gates of the high school for orientation, this past week, I visualized his journey. He walks ahead now; independent. He is old enough to know what is right from wrong and I pondered this as I dropped-off his younger sibs at the elementary school across the street. It is he who now offers advice to me. Instead of I, chirping, be good, son and have a nice day it is his deep voice that reminded me to be good, Mom. You can do it.
I am jolted back to reality as I type. A 5.1 magnitude earthquake has my middle son and I dashing to my bedroom doorway as the house creaks and sways. Frames topple on tables. Life has a way of reminding us of what’s important. The hubs yelled upstairs to make sure we were okay. Earthquakes are a normal part of life, here, but I can see that, this time, my sons are shaken. Is this a precursor to the big one?
I wear the flower in my hair to remind me there is a light at the end of the tunnel to this maddening craziness of March. Deadlines continue to demand; nerves frayed. The mad rush to convert raw material into usable bolts and rods have usurped many of our weekend hours. Our time rudely got trumped by deadlines, meetings, appointments and school events. Juggling various balls-in-the-air extols its price. Lack of quality. I am still stuck in the fast lane. The hubs absorbed the brunt of it.
Walking out of our tax appointment the hubs went in the opposite direction of our vehicle. We found ourselves in a red booth in a busy IHOP with thirty minutes to order, eat and drive back to work to meet a customer. I was told, by my in-laws, to gaze at the finished bolts lovingly. To the th-thwack rhythm of the machines I should chant the cost of each part; dollar sign$. But instead, I hear the tread of Father time as precious moments are lost creating objects. I would much rather have that time spent growing sons. The rhythms I long to hear are their heartbeats as they hug me close. While they still choose to hug. Enthusiastically.
I relay the above sentiments later in the evening. The “business” hubs ebbs; the man that is my mate slowly returning. He fights illness, physically tired from the relentless schedules and demands. I sit on the opposite side of the heirloom family kitchen table. And our wedding vows enter my mind.
I, (whiny, simplicity, craving wife), take you (hardworking; frugal, taskmaster), to be my (husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
I remind myself of the Corinthians verse that Love is patient. Love is kind. But love becomes comfortable and complacent. Sometimes we need the jolt to shake things up, a bit, to remember what is important and what we stand for. My happily ever after of hand-holding and kissing is short and sweet. But marriage is the mundane daily details; the ins and outs, that define strength of character. The ability to accept a person; flaws and all. To overlook certain details and see the larger picture upon the wall. Yes, his whiskers on his mountain-man face annoy me to no end. But if I step back and re-focus I am able to see the wood frame, the beautiful fall leaves near the red bridge in Virginia Beach. The day those whiskers depart from my life will be dark, indeed. Until death do us part; the big one.
The after shocks and quakes make me search for my center; my balance. I know life will rattle and roll; jarring me back to reality. I asked the hubs what picture makes him think of our marriage; imagining the framed shot above.
His answer surprised me. He tells me his favorite shot is in our garage, just above the light switch. I comb my mind for what photo sits outside our garage entry; drawing a blank. He tells me to walk out into his man cave and find out for myself.
It is this person who has always carried me. There are days, like this entire week, that I can be a heavy burden (and vice versa). This picture from 20 years ago is his fave; a harbinger of simple, youthful love and a vast future of opportunity. I had forgotten. I returned into our home to let him know that he has returned to my like column again. He smirked; silvery whiskers and all.
I am grateful for the reminder.