Just about two years ago I arrived home to see a beautiful bouquet of white flowers on our front porch. I was on the phone with my grandmother at the time and, as she reminded me the other day, I genuinely thought they were for my roommate. I almost fell over when I realised that this guy I’d recently met had sent me flowers, perfect lovely wonderful flowers. And the rest is history.
We high fived after hanging another curtain rail. We’ve learned much about each other over this last year, the first of our marriage. We are both particular, and bossy, and quite stubborn.
I like the drill more, he likes the satisfaction of the screwdriver and the hammer. If someone could come up with a foolproof way to make true blackout curtains for the New Mexico sunshine, they would make a mint. I draw diagrams of ways to make it darker. I experiment with Velcro and pins and fabrics.
I find myself frustrated again as they drop letting in more light than they should. He wears a face mask to help him sleep through those daylight hours.
One of the things my husband and I learned as we crashed into each other after our honeymoon was the extent to which I naturally and inevitably multitask, and the extent to which he doesn’t. He is a one task at a time kind of guy. He does those tasks exceptionally well – you should see how clean our kitchen is – but he has an order and a priority in mind. This order, and often the priority assigned, is often not the same as how I see it, or how I’d do it.
But, slowly, we’ve learned to let be that I don’t scrub dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and he does. And that how we pack it matters less than that it gets packed. (Except of course when he lies wine glasses on their sides. That makes no sense.)
Grace in the little things are like the mortar in the foundations.
He makes me cups of tea on Saturday mornings and brings his coffee back to bed to read up on current affairs while I doze next to him.
We find ourselves aware of Challenging the perceptions for who others think we should be. I like tools. I’m handy with them. I come from a long line of women who will build what they need, and though my grandmothers are the ones from whom I learned how to cook, bake, make preserves, and can, it’s my mother — who’d be more likely to weld than to bake — who showed me that it’s normal to use power tools, to fix things, to get dirt under your nails, and to drive big trucks.
RM continues to teach himself how to cook well. He makes the best steak I’ve ever had – sorry dad. His slow cooked lamb is truly melt in your mouth. He experiments with cocktails and he is best with recipes. I use recipes as suggestions, making use of technique as building blocks and I’m off and running.
We seek out what we are good at and we do that — we serve from places of strength not from places of things we should be good at but maybe aren’t naturally inclined.
We enjoy each other’s company and travelling together. The world is a place of adventure!
He knows that I need to travel solo sometimes and he encourages those plans. We may be one of the only military families I know where we both have powers of attorney for the other, and not just me for him. (Highly recommended btw)
At first he couldn’t help but follow visitors around with a dustpan and brush. Whereas, I want to sit and talk and do the dishes later! I don’t find feeding large groups of people daunting. I watched my family do this every holiday, and my parents do this regularly – my dad’s huge BBQ breakfasts are famous. I’ve learned to ask for help though, and to give myself the grace to rest when I need it. I’ve learned that it is okay to hunker down under the covers when the daylight is foreboding or the darkness threatens to overwhelm.
We see each other. We recognise when we are playing and when we are truly close to our breaking points. We entreat, hug, use gentleness to love. We Tease….over the last year he’s learned to take the mickey just as my father encouraged.
I’ve discovered his love for Apple crumble and my roast chicken, and mine for his meatballs and his made from scratch cocktails. He knows my favourite comfort foods and I know his. He takes out the trash, because more often than not he gets to it before I do.
He has watched me struggle with the snow and the bitter cold. “I’m from the antipodes, the Southern Hemisphere” – he knew this when he married me, but I’m not sure he was quite prepared for the passionate response he would get to suggestions that we go for a walk (for fun) in what looked to me like a blizzard. He was a happy man when he finally got me on a pair of skis….in turn, I am happy to watch him run down the street, through the snow, in his (ridiculous for anyone not as fast as he is) fluorescent orange jacket.
He’s taken it in his stride as I flailed about trying to find my footing with work, community activities, dealt with my anxiety and my efforts to remake, upcycle and sew. I have listened to his work struggles, his desire to read more, run more, travel more!
We know each better now than when we got married, but we have barely scratched the surface! We have celebrated one year, our first, of marriage, with a little wisdom in our hearts and much hope.
These past couple of weeks have me reflecting on what is most important, can’t you tell?