Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Running between raindrops and wrangling cats.

My friend Rebekka is often the person to whom I go to sound out my husband concerns and my marriage issues. She’s a goodly Dutch trampoline who lets me bounce ideas off her. Sometimes, wooden shoes and tulips help when you need to jump high enough to see a different perspective. In addition to the Dutch stuff, she is filled with calming advice that typically helps me to step away from the edge and survey the verdant valley behind me that I clearly overlooked. She’s on year three of marriage. She’s, like, something of an expert by now on the early years of marriage. I’m still green at eight months. She and her husband have already gone through the house-buying fiasco. We are right in the thick of it. And it’s starting to show.

My wonderful-tall-wonderful-careful-wonderful-loving-wonderful-super smart-wonderful husband wanted to take his time with picking our mortgage broker. He took his time. He thought about it. Wonderful man, he was careful. He thought about it some more. He couldn’t pin down exactly what it was he was looking for as the final sign, but I imagine it had seven horsemen proportions and a lion that speaks. I would quiz him from time to time about the three horses running in the race, but, each time, all three thoroughbreds were running neck in neck. The finish line was in sight; although, we received mixed messages from different sources as to where or what the finish line actually is. Time was upon us. Anxiety was high. I need to plan. I need to know exactly where the next hoof will fall. Pick a horse!

And so he did. Finally. To the relief of all involved. The incredibly well-written letter went out to the dear winner (all Stewart men are superb professional writers), and we were in the game with end in sight. And then the rug got pulled out from under us. Something unexpected that we could have planned for given more time—just one more day. In fact, given just two more hours.

Getting ducks in a row is like wrangling cats. I imagine it’s kind of like one of my mother’s favorite magic tricks: she can run between raindrops. Seriously. When I was a kid and we’d unexpectedly get caught in the rain, she’d say with a grin on her face, “We’ll just run between the raindrops!” I still think her ability to smile in the face of adversity and possible hair failure is amazing. To look a bad hairday in the face and smile—magic. And for our very own mortgage crisis and what else unexpected is before us—we will have to run between the raindrops while we arrange our ducks and manage our cats.

This morning on the way to work, I loudly renounced all my dreams while being stuck behind a truck tiptoeing down Hwy 280 at 40 mph in the fast lane. Mr. Husband was wearing his Safety Inspector hat in the passenger seat and silently cursing the truck as he listened to my self-judgment and attempt to change our very life course. I was giving up. Mr. Husband put his hand on my back to console me as I vented about what I imagined to be our dashed hopes. He didn’t speak. Good man. Smart man. I simply needed to vomit my verbal discontent. And that truck needed to get out of my lane.

Later in the morning, I spread the news about how our close friends just had their first baby on Monday. Tuesday night, the friends gathered in the maternity ward and passed the new baby girl around and breathed in the beginning of life. There was this incredible closeness between the husband and wife. A closeness that I’ve never seen in my life. The husband and wife would look at each other with their new baby glow as they told us the story of the birth. I mentioned this closeness to Rebekka this morning as I continued to vent from the highway into the workday. She listened, she shared her own experiences, and shared her sage advice. She helped me to realize that while we are in the midst of a jungle of frustration, we have these great moments before us where everything changes. This is but a brief second. It is the moments we are living for. The moments where all of this—this right now—fades and seems so very far away. The moment when we move into our new house and turn to each other with relief. The moment when we say to each other that we are ready to add to our family (a human, not another cat). The moment when we turn to each other at the end of the week and know that we’re a great team. My wonderful Mr. Husband, while late getting off the bench sometimes, gives me these moments. I will always want to hold his hand.

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