“Eat Cake”

I spent a lot of time in airports this past weekend, and as I tend to do, picked up a book to read.  On previous trips, I’ve usually grabbed humorous books about single women prancing around the city (think: Shopaholic-type books).  I almost did that again, but then took a second look at this book called “Eat Cake.”  It’s about a middle-aged married woman, who has one kid in college and one in high school, and her struggles with a life that’s ever-changing.  I so much enjoyed reading the book, and found great wisdom in it. 

The particular dramas that beset Ruth (her elderly mother can no longer live alone and comes to live with her; her father, and mother’s ex-husband, is in a terrible accident and has to either come and stay or go into a cheap nursing home; her husband loses his job) are not what make the book so interesting.  Rather, it’s the way she copes with life.  The novel makes it so clear that when husband and wife are each wrapped up in their own troubles, sometimes they can stop communicating, and that can mean the end of their marriage.  This is one of my biggest fears about being marriage.  In Ruth’s story, there is a life-altering moment where she realizes the following:

“Everything changes.  Sometimes when your life has been going along the same way for a long time you can forget that.  You think that every day is going to be the same, that everyone will come home for dinner, that we will be safe, that life will roll along.  Sometimes the changes are the kind you can’t do anything about: Someone gets sick, someone dies, and you look back on the past and think, Those were the days of my happy life.  But other times things change and all you have to do is find a way to change with them.  It’s when you stay in exactly the same spot when everything around you is moving that you really get into trouble.  You still have a chance if you’re willing to run fast enough, if you’re willing to forget everything that you were absolutely positive was true and learn to see the world in a different way.  So I was not the kind of person who would start a business or fly halfway across the country to declare my love for the man I had been in love with since I was twenty-five.  I did not rent cars and find my way alone to seaside towns, but now I did, because I was someone else, because the circumstances changed and I decided to follow my father’s advice and try to change with them.”

I hope that when my day comes to forget all I “knew” was true, I will have the courage to face life head-on, and to love my husband and family in the only way that brings ever-lasting love: to change with the circumstances.  I hope that I will be able to do whatever it is that needs doing to keep our relationship fabulous, rather than getting bogged down in the dramas and worries of everyday life.  I hope I am worthy to be MrH’s wife.

The Dangers of…

Have you ever been in the grocery store while a couple was fighting?  I always think "that'll never be me!"  I mean, think about it, you can't contain yourselves long enough to speak civilly to one another in private?!?  Besides, what can possibly cause an actual fight while in the grocery store?

Today, we were that couple.  I was being petty and ridiculous; on my last legs from a 90+ degree day and a poor night's sleep.  I said something accusatory and then went and got whatever next grocery I wanted to get.  We stood by the salad bar and talked about it.  I didn't cry, I don't think.  I wonder what other people thought of our interaction.  Where they disgusted as I tend to be?  Or tenderly thinking back to their first spat in the grocery store?  Do they wish they had a guy like mine?  Or thank God that they don't have a gal like me?  A train of though to not pursue.

We have had a sprinkling of very nice, sweet moments this weekend though.  Breakfast on our frontporch; folding laundry together; sitting together and really talking, really listening, over dinner; talking through my crazy-seeming sense of loneliness; even some funny jokes.  I'm thankful that I'm not doubting whether I married the right man, instead, I'm just hyper emotional, and constantly extrapolating what the rest of our lives will look like, based on a 2 second event.  Unnecessary, and stressful.

A Good Morning

MrH went to help a friend move this morning, so I had a langorous morning all by myself.  He kissed me goodbye while I was still snuggled under the covers, slumbering my Saturday morning away.  As I slowly awoke, I got up and started a pot of coffee.  In the meantime I did some cleaning up around the kitchen, which for some odd reason is one of my favorite things to do first thing in the morning (seriously – I’m not being sarcastic here!). 

Listening to some Eva Cassidy I had some toast and coffee, contemplating life, thinking of my younger sister who’s been married for three years now.  It’s an up and down kind of marriage (or are they all like that but not everyone talks about it?).  After a long phonecall with her, during which I was once again reminded of her inner strength and wisdom, I decided to finally do some yoga.  Another one of those perfect Saturday morning activities.  In the middle of it, MrH came home and I panicked for a second (“oh no!  My butt is sticking in the air!), but he was wonderful and just got to cleaning up around the house.  I can see him now, through the window, as he’s cleaning out his truck.  He’s on a roll, and I think I’ll join him.

“wife”

I wrote this entry yesterday, but it somehow ended up in the wrong blog! 

I looked up what it says in the dictionary for “wife.”  Thankfully, nothing too incriminating there: “a female spouse.”  I’m almost disappointed, having expected something about the qualities of “wife” against which I rebel. 

I am not sure why I’m so obsessed with this whole wife role in the first place.  MrH certainly doesn’t have any strange expectations of me.  The other night he told me that the best wife I could be, was the same as being the best “MrsH” I could be (he actually used my first name).  While that’s sweet, I’m not sure how to live that just yet.  Doesn’t being married to this man mean that we put each other first, ahead of our families and other friends?  But after myself, I suppose.  I have spent so much of my life putting others ahead of me, that it’s hard to know how to not do that, and still love him.  I think that I have often shown my love for others by delaying my own needs. 

Well, it’s complicated, and writing about it isn’t helping me right now.  Maybe next time…

Welcome!

Not counting the day of the wedding, I have been married for exactly 17 days.  In those days I have cried in private, cried with my friends, cried in front of my husband, and yes, also laughed a lot.  In conversations over the past few months, I have come to the conclusion that there are far too few people honestly talking about what it means to become or be a wife.  I don't mean in a theoretical or esotoric sense.  I mean in the day-to-day decisions we each make. 

Imagine the following: A person is sitting on the couch, folding freshly dried clothing.  The person's roommate comes home, says hello, and turns on the tv to see what's happening in the world.  They exchange a few words about their days, and then both watch the tv, before one gets up to make some dinner. A completely normal situation between two roommates, right?? 

Now, stick some labels into the story and you get this: A wife is sitting on the couch, folding freshly dried clothing.  Her husband comes home, says hello, and turns on the tv to see the game.  They exchange a few words about their days, and then both watch the tv, before she gets up to make some dinner.

I read that and am horrified!  Why would she do that???  And yet, it's the exact situation I found myself in less than a week ago.  It threw me for a huge loop – none of what I was doing seemed problematic, except when viewed through the husband/wife lens.  It suddenly became this monstrosity of a "is this how our marriage will be?"  It didn't seem so appealing all of a sudden.

Hence, this blog.  The title is a direct reference to Ann Kingston's book, entitled The Meaning of Wife, which I read at some point before we were even engaged.  I invite you to join me on an exploration of the meaning of wife, as I experience it.  The decisions I make, and the thoughts and feelings that go along with it.  Who knew "wife" was so complex?