I got a text message from my Mother In Law ‘can we take the kids for a week in March?’, as fast as I could spell out D. U. H. we were plotting our escape from this small town.
Four nights without our two toddlers and the city’s vibrant arms wide open. Yet I sat there pregnant, bloated and ambivalent. I had expectations. Expectations for this trip to be like our last (non-pregnant) one: intimate, exciting, sun pooling over us as we ate and drank and wandered streets like newlyweds in Italy.
Instead, I stressed over the accumulating bill we’d be handed, the busy schedule of visiting our loved ones, and wondering if the kids could possibly bear one more day away from their home. By day three I was blanketing all of these hidden hurdles in my heart with platters of charcuterie and buying overpriced peasant, I mean maternity clothes
|The view from one of the hotels. I saw dollar signs, he saw mountains and something about boats and barges that I didn’t quite catch.
I was ruining it for myself because I put all these limits on what I wanted when what we really got was something pretty special. We had freedom, maid service, shopping, great food, and even better company. My kids were having the best and dirtiest time of their lives on my in-law’s farm.
I wish I had let myself see the trip through my husband’s eyes from day one. He works so hard for our family and he was giving himself the permission to unplug from our home life, to enjoy the opportunity to spend hard earned money and appreciating this getaway as it unfolded before him, no strings attached.
I can look back from this time and think of other things I’ve ruined for myself (and probably my husband) because I had certain expectations. Not that there is anything wrong with hopes and plans, but how I handle it is the spoiler.
Then this verse started flashing like a marquee overlaying the landscape.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful Cor 13:4-6
At first, I scoffed at it. Then I told myself it was probably about my husband. Then I waved the white flag and claimed it for myself, tucking it under my arm like a stinky, wet wool blanket.
How often I find myself insisting on my own way. Is it just me or are wives bad for this? It’s not usually about material things, but about something or someone not meeting our expectations. The conversations we wanted to have, the feelings we wanted to feel, the atmosphere we were trying to achieve. We have an idea of what we want and we want our spouses to want it too. So we try to sugar coat our pitch. It doesn’t work. Guys aren’t that complicated, when they say no, they mean it. But we push our agenda in ‘tender and sweet’ ways. Still they respond no, in their ‘tender and sweet’ way. Eventually silence and maybe some sulking.
I’ve had people tell me I seem really laid back, but the truth in my heart is that I can be really uptight. I know I am because even the mention of this word makes me feel cold and clammy. All my life I’ve wrestled with what I want things to be and what they are. (Learning the Enneagram
has taught me this reality about myself and how to recognize it popping up in my marriage)
Then I look at my husband, wandering the city streets with my shopping bags in his hands. Maybe he was appeasing his cheese-gobbling, swollen-footed wife, but he wasn’t unhappy. I take for granted the carefree spirit in him, maybe I even resent it sometimes. He always makes people around him happy and relaxed because he lets himself be.
It did end up being a really great trip once I let my brain and heart parallel the same thought – that being away from the kids was probably hardest for me alone, #momproblems. My husband hailed cabs for my swollen feet and knees (does anyone else get pregnancy arthritis?! No I’m not 67, it’s a real thing!). We chatted, laughed, ate, found peace in the moments of silence and kept on exploring. Then we ate some more.
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