Posts Tagged ‘true love’
The dress code was “business casual” so of course I interpreted that to mean, artsy casual…
IZ, my husband who already works ridiculous hours, was invited to be on the board of a local charity. They’re looking for good people. He’s good people. And he has mad skills they can really use, so he said yes.
In theory I championed this idea (he comes home from board meetings with wine and donuts, what’s not to love) but it did bring up a few worries. Mostly around his work hours. He’s so busy. Really folks, the man goes constantly. And with our work at church and the 4th Sunday ministry, he really doesn’t have a free moment.
But then there is that perennial worry (because I’m vain, dontcha know) — what am I going to wear? Oh yeah, did I fail to mention that this charity puts on a HUGE musical festival in the area and there are events to attend?
Oh my goodness… I love writing that.
IZ sees these events as a chance to go on romantic dates. He’s right: but it’s not without a wee bit of angst. In my case, I’ve been super lazy about buying new shoes. Living here on the edge, it’s always about shoes that can live up to the wind and the rain. Sure, it’s nice if they’re cute shoes, but really–you want shoes that will keep you protected in the weather. I have a great pair of boots that meet this description. And, they’re even cute boots; but I’ve been wearing them with jeans and sweaters. That’s hardly the attire you wear to a private concert of Schubert Lieder.
And you guessed it, I don’t have dress shoes that work with clothes you would wear to such an event.
Like I said, I’ve been lazy. Additionally, this is major role reversal stuff. Since he’s worked from home, I haven’t had to be his “wife” in public for ages. He’s spent years supporting me in all my ministry related fiascos, er, events. . . but it’s been ages since I’ve played the supportive wife role. Frankly, I’m out of practice!
So, my little dilemma begged the question: do I buy something that works with the boots? Or do I try to find a pair of shoes that will work with something in my closet? I don’t know, but the answer is always Goodwill.
I’ll cut to the chase, as this is really a post about nothing: other than I’m gloating. Hello $5 dress at Goodwill to the rescue. That looked great with my boots. (and, of course I layered a Mireio slip beneath it and tied it all together with colored tights! I’m loving THAT trend!) Girl has suitably artsy casual attire to attend an afternoon of opera and champagne.
That no bank was broken to clad my artsy self, well that’s just bonus material.
So, we went on our date on Saturday. It was lovely, lovely, lovely. For a few hours, I sat next to this man I adore, who works too hard, and we soaked in the beauty that is Schubert together.
In a week where we focus on all the things we’re thankful for: I’m thankful for Goodwill. I know, that’s crazy talk. But sometimes, Goodwill really is my Anthropologie.
Hi. I’m Wende and I spin plates.
Rather poorly at times, but spin I do. There are days when it feels as if there are more plates wobbling on the ground, just about to lose all sense of motion, than plates spinning neatly in the air.
Each day begins as a lottery, a game of chance: which plate meets the floor as the rest demand my attention? Will it be my little store? Will it be the gym? It will probably be the laundry; that plate spends so much time on the floor it’s established a dust colony. Today I will spin the work plate, the church plate, the “no child you are not dying of some strange illness you googled” plate.
I’d like to tell you that it all gets done eventually. But I’m beginning to suspect that eventually will never arrive. Incrementalism requires a great deal of patience and even more grace: a simple kind of self-love that says, “I’m worthy and enough, even if there isn’t enough of me to go around.” Be gentle with yourself, Wende. Walk gently.
It’s ok if the dog has fleas (OH MY GOD, how did this happen?) and your child is going to college in 3 weeks.
Breathe, Wende. Keep spinning those plates.
But some days, mother nature throws you a plate worth spinning. An 80 degree day in September: beautiful and clear. Balmy. The word is balmy — but only because Santa Barbara-y is not a word.
We’re not likely to get such an invitation again this year. So, I set down the work plate (though I gave it a few spins just to be safe) and worry plate. I stacked up the laundry and the pest control plates and everything else that can wait until tomorrow plate: and fell soul first into this beautiful day.
A long walk along the river. Spun! A fabulous dinner on the porch and finishing off that lovely Rosé. Spun! Raspberry Thyme Sorbet. Hey, I made that!! Taking goofy photos with the love of my life. I think you know the answer to that.
Check out Mireio tomorrow for the Raspberry Thyme Sorbet recipe.
Would it surprise you to know that I am a sucker for reality dating shows? I’m not ardent: I tend to google results after about 3 episodes and go back to watching true crime — but I’ll give most dating shows a glance at least once. So when this Spring’s utter rating failure (it’s not a good thing when your executive producer takes up with one of the contestants mid-show) promised to feature “DATING COACHES” I could not look away.
At one point, the only male coach on the show gave this bit of advice: ”When a man offers you his jacket and you refuse it, you’re depriving him a chance to feel like a man. YOU think you’re being nice not making him suffer being cold. HE doesn’t see it that way.”
Wait. What? Really?
I promptly paused the show and went and asked IZ. “Is this true? Do guys really think that?”
IZ smiled, “Yeah, kinda. I don’t know if all men think like that, but it’s true for me: I do want to go out of my way for you. And doing those kinds of things makes me feel more like a man. It’s not because you CAN’T do those things for yourself, I just feel good about myself when I do them for you.”
How did I miss this memo?
In all my years of insisting on getting my own door and refusing jackets — or any of those little acts of chivalry — I’ve missed the point. Those acts were just as much about him as they were about me. And that doesn’t make him sexist or lacking in empathy — it made him human. A man in love. A man in love with me. Walter. Tango. Foxtrot. I am an idiot.
In my own defense, dating IZ as a teenager didn’t make matters easy. He opened doors for EVERYONE. And there were times when I honestly thought he would mow me over to get to the door before me. I don’t recall ever seeing my father open a door for my mother, so I didn’t have a frame of reference. And the look that would come over IZ as he would eye down the doorway– it was clear he was on a mission and getting in his way was not a good idea.
That irked me. At 19 I was determined to shake off the sexist “women are lesser” film I had clinging to my skin. As much as he was determined on being a “gentleman” I was hell-bent to not need him to be. This was war. And, because he knows when to let things go, he finally relented. “Fine, get your own door” when I explained yet again that I was WOMAN, I can DO. THIS. MYSELF.
The years would progress and my reasoning (about the doors anyway) became more about practicality. It seemed ridiculous for one of us to get drenched holding a car door. “That’s fine, I’ll meet you inside.”
And then I read this beautiful piece of writing by James Stafford. It’s a love letter really, entitled “You Know You Could Have Been A Candle” — written to the woman he loves. You can read it over on The Good Men Project. And you should, read it. It’s stunning. A small paragraph has stuck with me this week. He writes:
I love that you let me adore you. I shouldn’t complain, but it’s hard sometimes to be a man. I’m not your boss, your competition, or your coworker. I’m not The Man trying to keep you down or put you in your place. I just want to open the door for you because it’s polite. I want to pick up the check, open the jars, hold your hand. There’s no gender politics at work. That you realize that says everything about your character.
It’s taken me 20+ years to realize his impulse to adore me has as much to do with how he was raised as the fact that he does, indeed, adore me. 20 + years for me to let him be the man he truly is: willing to set aside his own argument for the sake of mine. Even though, in this particular case, my argument was misguided. It’s taken 20+ years to realize that it has nothing to do with making me “less”. If anything, I am more for having been loved by a good man. The why of that love, well, that’s beyond my comprehension.
But it is not beyond my amazement. The very memory of his 16 year old self, running to get my door leaves me breathless. I wish I had had the character then to appreciate the gesture at the time. The grace to have said , “Thank you” in the moment. Somehow, I stumbled into loving a good man while reaching for my own door — who, for reasons only he can explain, loves me enough to let me be wrong.
The photo strip was taken on IZ’s 21st birthday–which was 22 years ago this week.
IZ and I marked 23 years of marriage on Sunday. Because it was also Father’s Day we are celebrating later this month. Though, that didn’t stop him from surprising me with flowers and a card. He’s a romantic. Was then, is now.
But the date has me in a reflective mood. And then a friend posted a link to this article on facebook today, ” Scrap the Satin and the Tulle: Why Your Wedding is Probably NOT Going to Be the Best Day of Your Life.” I found myself nodding along with most of it. Most of it. Because, unlike the author and her premise, I didn’t have any notions that my wedding day would be the best day of my life.
I didn’t even want a wedding.
What started as a tiny little service at City hall, and then turned into a simple garden wedding at a friend’s home, finally morphed into 200+ invitations to our “closest” friends for a ceremony held in possibly the least attractive church around.
(The downside of warehouse churches: they don’t make for pretty pictures. The upside: they will hold the masses and keep people without an invitation from “peering through the windows” because there is room for everyone to get an invitation! Seriously, this is not vanity. I was told that if I went ahead with my “tiny little family wedding” that members of our church would show up to watch through the windows. I don’t think they were kidding.)
I would have been happy on the beach, exchanging our vows with just each other maybe a friend or two? Or if family HAD to be included, then no cameras and lots of flowers and just those people directly related to us. IZ was not convinced, “Define directly related to us. . . ” Heart sink.
We planned for 16 months. In part because we were only 19 when we got engaged and there were certain parental forces who were SURE it was just a passing notion. A long engagement was probably seen as a fool proof way of making sure we didn’t stumble into a mistake. A good idea, though I resented it at the time. I’ve seen our pictures from that year. We were children! However, I took it as a challenge and found myself a quintessential bride walking down an aisle in June. JUNE, for crying out loud: could I have been a bigger cliche?
I rebelled in my own way. My bridesmaids wore black and sliver. That’s not a big deal now, but in 1990 in our small town it arched a few brows. I resisted every tradition I could find. We walked to “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “Variations on a Theme by Handel”. I didn’t carry roses. I didn’t wear white.
We planned, but it wasn’t the wedding I wanted. It was the wedding everyone else needed. Was I a bridezilla? I don’t think so, but I’m pretty sure I have family members who would disagree!! Did mothers run amok and mother-in-laws create chaos? Check and check. Did we have an inept premarital councilor? Uh huh. But I wasn’t disappointed because I expected this to be the best day of my life. My inner 3 year old just didn’t want to BE there.
At some point in the process, a certain skeptical parent realized I wasn’t giving in about the whole getting married thing and made an offer that made utter sense to me: “Instead of spending the money, you could take the money and run.” He was offering to let me elope.
Now, we did not spend $45,000 on our wedding. I think even that amount would have made my romantic IZ (who desperately wanted a wedding. He cries at Disney movies too. We mock him mercilessly.) think twice. But the 2 grand my father was willing to pony up didn’t even make him pause.
“Are you sure? We could take a lovely holiday with that money. . . or pay rent for 4 months!”
In fact, I think that might have been the first time he “blinked blinked” me. I should have known then, this would become his “holding” pattern when he is set on doing something and in no mood to discuss it.
So, we had a wedding. I walked down the aisle. He fought tears and blushed. I consented to smiling for photos and not complaining about my picture being taken. He stepped on my veil all afternoon. But he also never left my side, holding my hand through all the extroverted exchanges I’m rubbish at. And he smiled. Constantly. In every photo he is the picture of joy unleashed on the world.
Was it the best day of my life? No. But then, I’m probably not the person you should be asking.
We’re moving closer to 25 years. He asked me last year, “Do you want to renew our vows on our 25th wedding anniversary? Have the wedding you wanted?” I have considered it. I started a pinterest board for the event. I’ve contemplated everything I would do differently: a better photographer, less pomp more party, flowers everywhere. It’s a beautiful vision. A beautiful wedding. A do-over?
We could just take the money and run.
This photo was taken for a photo tour of my house a few years back. But I go back to it often, because it sums us up. On the porch, having tea, together.
In a few short days (Saturday) IZ and I will celebrate 22 years together. Married. We don’t count those years before because that number is getting ridiculously large!
Wedded bliss? Um, sometimes.
Wedded strife? Um, sometimes.
Mostly, it’s two people committed to striving together. And that in itself, is a beautiful thing.
It’s the nature of marriages, any marriage. You bump into things you weren’t expecting. Life hands you lemons. You make lemonade or margaritas. You squabble. You row. You fight. You endeavor toward intimacy. And it’s not always pretty.
But I choose to write about the good. The beautiful. The bliss. And I will continue to do so, despite the recent impulse of the blogosphere to bare its soul. While I applaud the willingness of bloggers to get real and share the hard stuff. To forsake, if only for a few moments, the urge to “pretty it up” and make it seem presentable. When it comes to my marriage, I blog the beauty.
I’ll show you my laundry. And the works in progress. And weeds in the yard along with the before pictures and the posts about failed recipes. I’ll tell you that I struggle with my weight and staying on task and being charitable to neighbors who kill my roses.
Found this on Pinterest and then spent an hour looking for the original source. I can’t locate it. . . but if you know, please tell me!
A Little Romance:
I love Valentine’s Day. Always have, always will. Even when I was a love sick teenager pining for a boy who didn’t know I was alive, the day was a good day.
I’m blessed to be married to a Romantic. Yes, with a capital letter. IZ is a fan of the grand gesture (hello, favorite painting for my birthday). He covers holidays and birthdays and “events” with a lot of style. It doesn’t hurt that he’s an amazing chef. . . we eat well, and food is love in these parts. (It’s a Larsen thing, no lectures) I’m blessed and spoiled and thankful.
Then there’s the rest of the year. IZ would like you and me to believe that he has that covered too. That he is a master of the “little thing”. Those small tokens we tend to over-look because they become so much a part of our everyday life. In fact, he’d tell you everything he does is romantic by definition.
This is where we quibble. Our on going conversation looks like this:
IZ: “See, this is me being romantic. I brought in all the groceries from the car.”
Me: “Um. Thoughtful. YES. Romantic? I’m not sold, buddy. I mean, by that account, my doing laundry is romantic.”
IZ: “It is romantic. Being thoughtful is romantic.”
Me: “Well, it sure doesn’t feel romantic.”
He does this with every chore you can imagine. And often and our conversation is the same. Â I can’t help but think he’s pushing the definition. . . just a bit. But then I remember all those heady days of early marriage and wonder? Everything was romantic then. . .doing dishes and laundry and grocery shopping. Maybe it’s a time thing. Because what was once romantic in the early years, is, well, now a big old chore. An age thing? Holy Cow, an “I’m getting OLD” thing.
I can’t win here. So, is IZ right? Is it romantic because he says it is? Or is romance in the eye of the beholder? Because there are sure a lot of you who poo-poo Valentine’s Day and no amount of cheering on from my side of the field will change your mind. Valentine’s Day isn’t romantic to you. . .
And maybe that’s the catch and the solution. Maybe it’s about perspective. Maybe it’s about choice.
Those groceries unloaded from the car. Romantic.
Those mochas every day when I wake up? Romantic.
Door held, hands held, long talks, long walks, time spent together smiling and arguing. Romantic.
Laundry? Um, I can’t get there. But the rest of it, I’m willing to open my eyes and see the heart giving it all to me. And that, my friends, might be how you keep the romance alive.
Here’s an interesting article from USA Today on people who are “Intensely in love” after years of marriage. Worth a read, I think. . .
Valentine Trifecta: candy, stuffed animals, a homemade card.
Stop Breaking My Heart Kid:
The 15 Year Old: “So, Valentine’s Day is soon?”
15: “Oh. I don’t really have anyone to be my Â Valentine. Â (long pause, sigh, sigh, sigh) I guess there’s always you. (long pause) I mean, there’s a mom’s love, right?
Me: “I will always be your Valentine!”
Seriously, 15 is breaking my heart. On the one hand, I completely understand those sighs. Because at 15 who doesn’t want a Valentine. A real little romance to moon over, a hand to hold, a person to call on the phone, “no, you hang up, no you hang up.” But as his mother, I’m relieved. Sad, but relieved. He’s 15. I’d like him to learn to finish his laundry and keep his clothes (not to mention those blasted legos) off the floor before he endeavors to win the heart of another girl.
And he has high standards. Which is also good. And he’s homeschooled, which really narrows the pool. I’m safe and I know it. There are no girls on the horizon in the near future. But, honestly, on a day like today, I wish there was. I’d gladly give up my Valentine status to see him smile. A real, “holy cow she LIKES me” smile. . . not the wistfulness I get when I hand him his candy in the morning. Â Long pause. sigh. sigh. sigh.
I know some of you are not keen on this day. Or even if you are, life has brought you to a point where you’re looking about for a Valentine and the only face showing up for the role is your mom. And you might be commiserating with your 15 year old self and wondering, “Why don’t I have a Valentine?”
It’s OK. It really is. Because your mom loves you. . . and so do I. And we Â both believe there is someone special waiting for you. Because we’re mothers and we know. Until then, we’ll happily stand in the breach and let you break our Â hearts. We will always be your Valentine.
But really, pick up your clothes already.
Me: What’s that box?
IZ: Your birthday present. The question is, when should I let you open it.
Me: Now now now!
IZ: Really? I just don’t want you to be disappointed when your birthday comes and there’s nothing else.
Me: I won’t be, I promise. Besides, I know what’s in it.
IZ: How do you know?
Me: I just do.
Me: I’ll prove it. I’ll write what I think it is on a piece of paper. On this napkin, see. And you can look at it after I open the box.
IZ: You’re jumping around like a little kid. Ok. Open the box.
Photo Caption: This post is going naked. You can imagine whatever image you’d like and insert it in this spot, m’kay?
What I’ve Learned:
Despite my facebook declarations to save my melt-down for New Year’s Day, I met my end yesterday. Stood in the hallway in front of the kitchen door and just wept.
What’s worse, (yes worse than missing deadlines by months) I melted-down in front of the very nice guy who is plastering our walls. Two days after I stood in the very same spot and told this same plaster artist, “I don’t know how I feel about the plaster. I can’t think about that right now, because IZ is in the ER and they think he’s had a heart-attack.”
Yeah, it’s been that kind of a week.
Let me put you out of my misery. IZ is fine. Well, he’s not, but he’s not having a heart-attack or a stroke or anything dire. He’s just under the immense pressure of trying to finish our house and work full time and parent and hold the hand of his wife who cannot keep her “stuff” together.
For that, I’m terribly sorry.
I kept my “stuff” together in the ER. There’s that. I kept looking at this man I love, this PARTNER (because we don’t define our relationship in terms of husband and wife. We’re best friends, lovers, PARTNERS.) and I kept thinking “I don’t do so well with this role reversal stuff.” I’m usually on the gurney, he’s usually holding MY hand. And well, he’s really amazing at that. How does he keep so calm? How does he crack jokes and not look worried and not sit down in a puddle of his own snot and tears and lose it?
He will tell you he’s Danish and it’s in their natures to be stoic and solid and perfectly calm.
I will tell you he’s a rockstar.
A rockstar who is stressed out.
So, yesterday comes along (see this page, last post for details) and I faced my end. You know, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back? That straw came in the form of an email break-up note and turned on the tear spigot.
I cried. I stood in the hallway and IZ, the rockstar that his is, both held me and cracked jokes to the poor plaster guy watching me come undone, about how his wife didn’t weep a tear in the ER, but is crying over the tiler. He’s keeping it all together, because he is IZ.
Because the love of my life is Danish. And he’s eating his stress. And he’s holding my hand. And he’s making everything OK for everyone.
And I love him for all that and so much more.