Saturday, March 13, 2010

Be the Color in the Moment

A moment at a time. That's all we really have, right? It is so much easier said than done to purposefully take life a minute at a time, but that is what I am trying to do right now. With the end of my husband's hockey season, I know that we are just that much closer to his departure. He'll be leaving soon...making his annual trek for his "real" job. The job that takes him away from us for long stretches of time, but the job that keeps this entire circus running.

It is all sortof routine for us now, but there are parts of the transition that don't ever get any easier. We'll miss him, and the things I let myself depend on him for, will soon be my sole responsibility. I have caught myself the last few days right when the words were about to leave my lips.

"I can do that. I'll have to do it soon anyway..."

I've done that in the past, and my subtle bitterness comes out in the breath between words. I am sad, but I don't want the moments we spend to be about the moments that have not yet been. I am notorious for letting impending doom be more present than the life that is happening right in front of me. I want to change that routine the most. I cannot change the fact that he will be leaving, but I can change my approach.

Finding moments in the midst of our busy schedules is often hard, but my husband and I took full advantage of our no hockey and no soccer schedules this week. We spent lots of time together, including breakfasts, working out and a walk to and from lunch. We decided to walk the long way home from the restaurant, and the moments were amazing. Not much moves during the frozen winters of Minnesota, and when the snow and ice finally start to melt, the motion of spring seems startling. For our walk, the surprise came on the wings of a bright red cardinal. It lifted up to the leafless branches of a tree and then sat there in complete contrast to its surroundings.

I want to be the surprise along the monotonous path. To say the joy-filled comment instead of the expected drab that blends into the sad background. Red cardinals rock, and especially when the sun hasn't shone for a week and the backdrop is void of any other color. That is how we should live every moment, and especially when time does what it always does...tick away. I want to be the color in the moments we have. Now, where did I put those red wings?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marital Advice: Space and Spa Treatment

On the heels of a difficult and combative week for me and my husband, I thankfully had a girls' weekend getaway. I had scheduled the weekend because my sister was celebrating her fortieth birthday, and it was at a time when my husbands' hockey team has traditionally been done for the year. His team won their game the weekend before, earning a roadtrip playoff during my getaway, and I am sure part of the tension we had was a direct result of the fact that we needed to schedule childcare for a weekend that was supposed to be easy. Thanks to supportive family and friends, we deposited the kids in two different places, and off I went.

I should know by now how therapeutic time with women can be. When we are without our husbands, our children, and any real responsibility, women are pretty awesome. We talked and talked about some of the craziest things, laughed regularly at stories that were both familiar and new, and without being direct counselors for the frustrations I was feeling, the support of loving women can be more powerful than any counseling session.

The young woman who did my nails talked about the goals she and her husband have to move from their apartment to their own home. The young couple in the bar, who bought my sister a drink to celebrate her birthday, were on the first night out since the arrival of their second child in three years. I identified with those stages. I was able to reflect on how far my husband and I have come since then, and I started to appreciate where we are.

My older sister and I got married the same summer, so there are quite a few similarities with the habits of our husbands. Our younger sister just got married this past fall, and she reminds me of the excitement of being a newlywed. The other two women who were able to join us for the weekend are at different stages with different challenges, and I soak up what each story offers me for my own life.

There is a reason that the tea parties were so important to me. Not only for my book research, but for my soul. When I was in the middle of my research and I got a call from a seventy-five-year-old man asking why I wasn't interviewing the men about marriage, I stumbled over my response saying something about my target audience. I think I know now why I was drawn to talking with just the women.

Women are supportive, and I can identify with the emotions that encompass women for relationships. I realize that marriage is dependent upon both men and women, but my personal navigation of the pitfalls of marriage is dependent upon the willingness of women to be there for me...even when they don't realize they are doing it.