To Have and to Hang-on to for dear life
The fact that I have made it through this past week without running away and joining the circus is something I am quite proud of friends.
I came, I saw, I left my oldest son, I wept, and I left.
I ate Oreos late into the evening in every hotel we stayed in and thus left a half-used container of milk for those who come behind me.
Because I was too emotional to even think of bringing it with me?
I honestly cannot even find a reason why I kept buying new milk. I think my older self told
me that I had eaten enough Oreo's and so my feelings were drowned in half a cup of milk with floaties.
Annnd then we got to the next location and my younger self said, "Go get more milk. There's still work to be done."
So this 42 year old version of Hansel and Gretel obviously leaves milk behind.
In three different hotel rooms.
I also graciously fixed the toilet paper roll in the Toledo Chipotle bathroom.
You're welcome ladies.
And to allow my husband some study time I offered to drive the large fifteen passenger church van with an attached trailer.
Why I offered I am not sure, But I am admitting that milk and cookies might have allowed me to think more clearly.
The trailer was NOT used to haul my son's belongings.
Those were piled INSIDE the van next to the MINI FRIDGE he was taking to COLLEGE.
(insert eye roll)
You can imagine the look on my face when I saw it "buckled-in" the seat behind him with ratchet straps like a toddler bent on getting into trouble.
I made quick work of reminding him in my best "In MY DAY/up hill BOTH WAYS"voice that I survived college on Ramen noodles for breakfast lunch AND dinner savagely eaten in a microwave half-melted, half-burnt Walmart red plastic bowl.
AND I only had beef flavor.
ALL FOUR YEARS.
He was not impress nor shaken and his room mates think he is the bomb.
I muttered something about the electric bill but they were too excited about storing butter to go with the next door neighbor's waffle iron to care.
So the trailer filled with collected furniture for a ministry near and dear to our church's heart has been unloaded and I am now having a hard enough time driving with it empty.
I'd see an upcoming bend in the freeway and my heart would begin to race a bit.
65 seemed like warp speed with a large van and trailer caboose.
I got closer and closer to the curve and the semi swerving close to my lane didn't help any.
There were a few that caught me biting the inside of my cheek for nervousness, but interestingly enough, just like curves are in any vehicle, I noticed that the closer I came to it, the less I noticed the distinct change in the road and each section of it became manageable.
I'd sail through one bend and sure enough it looked like a jack-knife just up a half a mile or so.
I'd take a deep breath and try to muster up a bit more courage and there.it.went.
The curve, not the courage.
I made it through that one just like the last.
BUT there were several more coming.... One up a hill and another near some construction cones.
Easy peasy compared to what I THOUGHT was coming.
Up close and personal it was less frightening than I had imagined a mile back.
In the middle of the bend I just followed the turn in the pavement, stayed in the lane I was in, and before I knew it- it was a half a mile behind me.
I laughed at myself and how silly it was to fret over the NEXT curl in the road, and then the NEXT and the NEXT after that one!
I'd come through each one successfully, yet I doubted how on earth I could possibly follow the next one without catastrophically smashing into a guard rail.
The Holy Spirit so patiently reminded me that grace is already anticipating my arrival at the next bend in the road.
Just because it is unknown and comes quickly for me to navigate doesn't mean that God isn't there just waiting to guide me through.
Last June we hit the 20 year mark.
My sweetheart and me.
And I am honest and truly amazed that we just keep flying around curves in the path God has given us and by His grace making it through just fine.
We've made it though potty training, training wheels, new positions, moves, financial set-backs, home school beginnings, too many teenage crises of faith to count, and SO much more.
There were times in several of those mentioned that I proverbially threw up my hands and said something like, "Yup. That's it!" "We won't be able to recover from this one." "We will be a couple, but we won't ever be as emotionally attached as we were." "We won't be able to REALLY be friends- BEST friends after THAT."
You can say I am a realist.
THERE'S A BEND IN THE ROAD! IF WE MAKE IT IT WILL ONLY BE BY THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH!
My emotions usually run on "caps lock."
And my "Steady Eddie," will pat my shoulder, wipe a tear and remind me that if I even think of running away he's coming with.
And in no time it's back to bologna sandwiches and matching socks and we still laugh like there's no tomorrow, hold on to one another like the newlyweds and smile like no one knows but us how we just flew past that looming swerve in the road.
Because no one does know like WE know.
And driving away after dropping my son off exactly smack-dab in the middle of God's perfect will for him was a scary-looking jack-knife of stretch of road for us.
Any change that changes our family changes us first.
I inevitably kept biting my cheek and swallowing hard, but a few days ago he was there wiping the tear, patting my back and reminding me that I just needed to lean into him and stay in our lane. To work together and fight for closeness, because it's not a given.
When all the hoodlums are gone it just going to be he and me.
I used to think we would just keep growing apart, but that's not what God designed to happen in marriage.
Children leaving home expect your marriage to be even stronger when they come back for a visit.
Each bump and turn and pothole in the road of life should show them that the love in your marriage through Christ truly does conquer all wonderfully.
My husband in wisdom gave us the gift of time the day we drove off that college campus.
We had the most beautiful hotel room on the 24th floor in the heart of Chicago and the time to laugh to talk and remember that this was just a bend in the road for us.
This was up there with potty training for difficulty, but we made it through.
In the middle of the Parents meeting I had one of those "cheek-biting" thoughts and began to waver a bit. The moment just felt TOO SHARP a curve for us.
My husband had had his arm around me but I was sitting on the side that causes his shoulder to hurt having it up for too long a time, so he, in uncomfortableness put it down.
We wives know what a solace that arm is for us.
It's the marital forcefield that nothing can penetrate.
No one tells you how bad your hair really looks when the arm is present.
They just respect the arm.
And like a weirdo I leaned over and asked my husband if his arm was hurting him. He told me it was. And then because I didn't think getting up and asking my husband to move over in some Chinese telephone kinda way so I could sit on the OTHER side for the OTHER shoulder would be apropos in the middle of the meeting, I said,
"Can you let it hurt just a little bit more so I can have your arm around me?"
That right there is marriage in a nutshell.
And lest you think I am the worst wife on the planet, he did not stay in pain forever. Just long enough for me to use three dessert napkins as Kleenex.
I don't know when I'll stop, or if I'll ever stop learning not to look too far up ahead, straining to see just how dangerous the turn in the road may be.
I'm just thankful that God is already there.
Waiting for me.
Waiting for US.
Ready to pat my shoulder and wipe a tear or a million and remind me to hold-on to the one He's given me to enjoy this ride called marriage with.