Friday, November 27, 2009

Messy in my Future

I am tired and roaming around in a post-thanksgiving daze. I ate almond bars for breakfast this morning. After all the excitement of Mike's parents coming, cleaning and cooking for days, Mike coming home with a big freshly butchered turkey; my kids sat at Thanksgiving dinner for all of two minutes. They were already full of crackers and cheese. Then after hours of clean up when I finally sat down for two minutes, they were hungry for supper.

Grant was kicked out of his room which doubles as the guest room. We've had kids sleeping all over the house: on the couch, the floor in each others rooms, in play tents in the basement. That results in sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and stuffed animals everywhere. It means late bedtimes.

Today, I am doing laundry that stacked up over the last twenty four hours, cleaning up after potty training misses and just trying to pick up the pieces in general. It kind of makes me wonder if its worth it. Maybe next year I can just buy some chicken nuggets and a bag of fries.

I usually have lofty notions and ideas of how our holidays should be. I'd like to have a fancy table set, have everyone dressed nicely and maybe have some soft music in the background as I emerge from the kitchen with my creation. This year I finally realized its time to get over that. When you have young children, the meal is chaos, there are spills, kids are wearing too small sweat pants and tank tops.

One of my new friends from a ministry group I'm in had some great wisdom for me on Facebook. She wrote that cooking and baking is part of their tradition now. Her adult kids sit in the kitchen and visit with her while she cooks and catch up around the table.

It got me thinking that all the things that are frustrating and annoying to me now are probably the very things that are going to be gold as the years go by. Kids camping out in the basement together, eating too many crackers and cheese before dinner, going outside and building a fort in the brush and staying up late watching movies and drinking hot chocolate are all things that already today are sweet memories.

I remember a snowstorm the week of Thanksgiving one year. I was bummed that we weren't at my Grandparents that day. I don't remember what my mom cooked or if the house was clean. What I do remember is going outside and playing in the snow all afternoon with my Dad and sister.

Now as an adult, whether we are at my parents or Mike's I love sitting in the kitchen talking to sisters or sister-in-laws while the meal is being prepped. Wherever our clans are gathered there is sure to be noise, chaos and a lot of messes. That's the best part of the holidays to me.

I'm going to keep cooking and baking. I want to have platefuls of yummy food as part of our celebrations. This year, I took a brisk walk with a friend before I had to start cooking. But I'm also going to embrace the things that I don't plan for.

In all the chaos of kids sleeping everywhere and hot cocoa and movies, my kids are blissfully happy. And so am I.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our Wedding Video - Gag!

We got married thirteen years ago today. This morning before school Mike was showing the kids our wedding video on the computer. He just told me tonight how much he enjoyed watching it. I was surprised. He's usually not sentimental. Abby asked if we could watch it again. I told her no and not to get any ideas. Her wedding will not be nearly that nice. Hello, we have four daughters.

I, on the other hand, did not enjoy watching it. It made me want to gag. It wasn't just the out of date, puffy, long sleeved, sweetheart neckline wedding dress. Even though it is hideous by today's standard, I'd cut off my right arm to be able to fit into it again. It's not that I am unhappy that I married Mike. I certainly don't wish I had picked different people to stand up for me.

It's just that when I look back at myself then and the things I thought were important I just feel stupid. When I was planning my wedding it was all about having the best. The nicest dress, the most delicious dinner, fabulous music, beautiful flowers.

Oh sure, we wanted to honor God. We met with our pastor and did premarital training. Ultimately I wanted to honor myself. Today, that video was the ultimate reminder of what a brat I was. It was all about me. The right music, the moment when everyone would look at me...gag. See what I mean?

To me, that day was the best, mountaintop moment in our marriage. It was the beginning of what would be a wonderful life as long as Mike did everything I said and we were rich.

But today, thirteen years later I realize I was foolish that day. It was just the beginning of the climb. I did not understand the depth that would come in our relationship through trial. I did not understand the maturity that would come through submission. I did not understand the wealth that would come through sacrifice. I did not understand the joy that would come in the every day.

I didn't understand that this marriage is not about me or about Mike. It's not about happiness or money. It's about God. He created us to live for his glory, not our own.

The girl in the wedding dress would not have been satisfied with an anniversary that involved laundry, cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping. No gifts, nothing special.

The girl in the wedding dress would have demanded recognition.

The girl in the wedding dress would not have been able to just be thankful for another day with her husband.

The girl in the wedding dress would not want to give more than get.

I'm glad I'm not the girl in the wedding dress anymore. Now I am beginning to understand that God works in ways we could never plan for. It's not about me. It's not about things. It's not about what other people think.

I am happy and content to have another day to be my husband's wife and to eat frozen pizza from the gas station surrounded by the family God has blessed us with.

When we were going to sleep tonight, Mike was adjusting his pillow. I asked him if he had something under there. He replied that he went to Kay Jewelers and...we both burst out laughing.

That's why I adore my husband and am glad he has stuck with the girl in the wedding dress for so long. I hope that in thirteen more years we will look back to today and see we've grown and changed even more. And a trip to Hawaii wouldn't be too bad either.

So it seems that I have taken a long time getting back to the Details of Discontent. I have been baking and cleaning for Thanksgiving guests. I'm guessing they will want more than frozen pizza for dinner. But I am working on the marriage portion and we'll get there soon.