Through events that now seem somewhat fortuitous, I was forced to do the rush hour thing this morning and drive my husband to work. You see, one of the guys who is a part of Greg’s very small and close-knit team at work, and a good friend of his is leaving to open his own business. So last night was the big send-off attended by many of their co-workers and led by none other than my husband as the designated “host”. My husband fits that role perfectly because he is a social butterfly, and I know this. So why I had any expectation of this being an early evening for him I have no idea. No, no, that’s not true. I do have an idea. Maybe because – oh,I don’t know – I had been up with one of our legitimately ill crazy kids the entire night before? Maybe because I am fighting off some kind of sinus thing myself? Maybe because I thought he would take pity on me having to herd 4 kids through homework, dinner, and bath night all by myself? But it was not to be. He was dumped off at our house after having one too many cocktails at 11:30. He walked in glossy-eyed and sent straight to bed with a tall glass of water and two Tylenol. It occurred to me soon afterwards that I would be driving his butt to work this morning, which continued to work on me as he quickly passed out and I sat up wide awake for another 3 hours. What unfolded just now was the most unexpected sweet surprise, though, so I wanted to share it.
I got out of bed this morning, the anger having subsided a bit, and with the usual barks and grunts we got all six of us dressed and ready to go. We piled into the Odyssey ON TIME, which is amazing, and started our long journey to one school for the older two, to a different school for the younger two, and finally to Greg’s office. Still smelling a bit like a distillery and looking a little worse for wear, I knew he had to be hurting which I’m sure was only compounded by the thought of working his help desk job all day. I reached over, took his hand and looked at him as if to say, “I feel your pain and I know what you need.” My anger from the night before softening even more. Since I knew I had the upper hand, I did something that I knew he would never agree to if he were not in the state he was in because a) it isn’t in our budget and b) he isn’t necessarily the “fast food” eater that his wife and kids are. I pulled into the McDonald’s drive through, ordered us up a good and greasy breakfast capped off with an icy cold coca-cola and demanded that he consume it, for his own good of course.
After laughing at the thought of what we were about to put into our bodies and sharing a toast using our hash browns, we proceeded to have what I would consider to be a much-needed 30-minute “date”. As we ate our breakfast and drove the familiar streets of Kansas City we talked about the kids some, about politics and current affairs, about our friends, about projects we wanted to do around the house. We connected. Shared affection for one another. And, hopefully, caught a glimpse of why we got married in the first place. We have fought hard over the course of our 6 and 1/2 year young marriage to stay connected. Well, hell, just to stay married if we’re really being honest. Having each brought into the marriage enormous baggage. We added three more children to that baggage including unexpected twins. On top of that, there is the stress of moving to a new city, buying houses, selling houses, changing jobs, financial hardships, an identity crisis, raising said children, and so on and so on. It really is a wonder that we are still married. I can definitely understand the circumstances that would cause many couples to pack it in.
But I can proudly say today, not for us. No, this morning was a very pleasant surprise. A gift. A few precious moments to rediscover one another and the friendship and unconditional love that kicked this marriage off. We didn’t even need some expensive, crazy therapist telling us to listen to “the child within”. We just needed open hearts, a greasy fast-food breakfast, some gas money, and of course time – the most important of all. Priceless!