Tonight my parents watched our kids at Chick-fil-A while I went out with my husband of nine years. I can say that because it’s our anniversary and I know we’ve been married for nine years because we told our server at Red Lobster right before she brought us our meal and I destroyed my crab legs, which are the most violent meal a person can eat.
It takes a certain kind of commitment to sign up to take four young kids out in public and I applaud my parents for doing it. They were suitably punished for their bravery by the kids. I’ve gone out with them frequently enough that I’m used to people doing a visible head count when we walk in the door.
But my parents, not so much. I believe about the time Tres spilled her orange juice all over the table and Dos slid to the floor in a sad fit because she had to wait to go to the play area they decided they wouldn’t be volunteering for babysitting duty again anytime soon. And that was before Bubby was kind enough to have a blow-out diaper while sitting in my mom’s lap chomping chicken nuggets.
That kid, he’s a giver. My mom? She was less than impressed with the chunks of excrement he produced and kindly shared with her clothing.
Believe it or not, she was still able to laugh about her experiences when we caught up with them after our own dinner. We all had a good laugh about how to expect the unexpected when it comes to child rearing.
Why is it that we’re willing to accept the world’s most disgusting activities (i.e., being used as a living latrine) when it comes from something that shares our genetic code?
Oh, no, no one is typically overjoyed to have a diaper full of unidentified mush and a solid 1/3 cup of corn, but it happens. And we may gag a little and squeal, but we put up with it… because we love the one making the smelly gift.
Since it’s our anniversary and everything, I started thinking about the ways we love one another through the ugly, through the poopy parts of life.
I’ve come to believe, despite my youthful fancies, that marriage isn’t about the beautiful wedding dress or Martha Stewart-esque ideas of a perfect home, perfect meals, and perfect children. All of that is a facade hiding the real stuff, the life that coats you with chaos when you’re least expecting it in the same way a poopy diaper can plan a sneak attack on your pants!
Marriage is about not quitting, about being willing to to the right – but rough – thing because it’s in the best interest of your family.
A speaker I heard last week said most of us are “undivorced” instead of really “married.” I think he was right and I think we can do better. Just occupying the same address is not a marriage; in my mind, walking literally and figuratively through each day hand in hand comes a lot closer to the better definition of marriage.
Most of us are able to keep time with someone else, but it’s a different story to actually live in communion with the significant other we chose. The day in, day out, nitty gritty of life takes hard work. It’s not fun and it sometimes carries a lot of ugly.
But it’s worth it, really, it is! I can say that my husband and I have gone through some nasty times… but we’re stronger for it. The storms have taught us how to stand firmly together, choosing to get messy with real life. If we can come up with this many stories in only nine years, I wonder what the next nine years will bring?
Can’t wait to find out…