Getting it right

mom and dadI know I have been rather reflective lately. I hope in the New Year, my mind and thoughts will drift to higher ground.  Not less meaningful, but lighter and less laden with the world and the weight it can put on our shoulders at times.

I had a great holiday. It was full of family and fun and laughter and children who “believe.” Oh, that was the best.  The believing. And the wonder. “Go to bed, Santa is coming!”  “Oh, no, not yet. He won’t come if I’m AWAKE!”

Even stood in line for two hours for the best Santa I have ever seen. Gentle and patient; a real beard, a kind smile.

Then in the midst of hanging the boughs and decorating the tree and monkey bread and cheese grit souffle, I came across this photo of my mom and dad.  Oh man.  That set me back. I have been missing my mom especially this year.  It’s my first Christmas without either of them.

I have made it to 40 years of marriage but she made it to 64?  His dimples? I don’t remember he even had them. The suits. The pocket scarf. Their hair. Looking at the sepia image of my parents I realize, not for the first time, my mom did something right that I do not.

My dad thought he was the boss, but we all knew who really was.  Not sure he did, though.  They seldom argued. Except about money. He was quiet. She was chatty. He was a whistler. She loved to laugh. She was scattered, disorganized.  He was solid.  She was always late and dad was at the door jingling his keys.

She was the sun and he was our true north. It worked for them.

I look at the ease with which she touches his arm and think I do little with ease. I am worried or hurried or trying so hard to be “in the moment” that I make it so important, I am not there.

It’s hard to be a spouse.  Especially a good one. We fall in love and the clouds open, the stars shine through and no one or anything has ever seemed as special or amazing as the object of our affection. Days blur and our hearts pound at the sound of their voice. The touch of their hand and we are carried away to a land that we didn’t know existed.

Pure and simple and unadulterated young love.

We slip on our blinders and all we can see is this person, our mate we will choose to spend the rest of our life with.

And then we marry.  And start careers. And have babies. Build households. Build homes. Buy cars. And move. And our feelings of young love get buried in our daily lives, the bills, the ice on the driveway, the crying babies, the leaves in the yard.

We settle into marriage.  That crazy thing that seemed so simple when we said “I do.” Sweet and innocent we were to all that life would, and could, throw at us.

And in retrospect, that is why it works, this marriage thing.  We walk into it hopeful and starry-eyed, ready to conquer the world together.  And then we do.  We do the real “I do.”

We conquer it.  With all the bumps and curve balls and hiccups and doubts and messy stuff.  We do it.  Some of us fall away. Some of us don’t.  But any of us who try it and give it our best, should be proud.  It is not easy.  Not as easy as my mama made it look.  Or June Cleaver. Or Carol Brady.  Or Claire Dunphy.

It’s work.  Every single day.  To be a good spouse. A true partner.

Success or not, I work hard at being a good mother. But the wife thing, I am not always so diligent. Too much myself and not enough the person I’d like to be.

So on this beginning of 2016, I want to be a better spouse.  Not perfect.  Not award winning.  Just better.  In some way.  Go for the love, honor and cherish with a little more gusto.

And maybe, just maybe, I will throw in a little ease.

Even a smidge would be a start.