2 years ago today I was going crazy with final wedding plans, getting my legs waxed and daydreaming how every moment of my big day would go. On the 29th we will celebrate 2 years of marriage. We have literally doubled our time spent in marital bliss since our first year. That’s not going to happen again so soon.
Close to our wedding date Robbie’s good friend Jason told us that we’d look back at the love we have at this time in our life and 2 or 4 years from now it would appear to be puppy love, a watered down version of what the day to day challenges and rewards of life show you. Now I see how right he was.
I can laugh thinking back at what I felt and knew when I would say to him “I love you.” I laugh because it was so lovely, pure and innocent. It was just a glimpse into what was to come.
Now I love you means “I love you even when you take every opportunity to tickle me,” (this goes both ways) or “I love you even when you constantly ask me to pick up after myself and it annoys me,” or “I love you even when you disappear for what seems like eons into the library where you study all sorts of fascinating things,” or “I love you even when it seems like you don’t understand anything I am trying to tell you in an emotional fury,” or “I love you even when our financial situation is precarious and we have to trust that everything will once again work out,” and best and perhaps cheesiest of all “I love you more than yesterday.”
I can only imagine what we will add to this list year after year. I can’t wait to look back and laugh at this current list and how trivial it will feel in 10, 20 and God willing 50 years from now.
I recently started to feel like I am hitting my stride in an area of our marriage that I’ve struggled with since day 15, the day we got home from the honeymoon. The day the nitty-gritty started. We walked into our little basement suite which had been thoroughly pranked by dear friends. Kelli and Co. had recreated a beach in our living room. This included sand colored paper labelled accordingly. We would find this ‘sand’ paper all over the place mimicking the ability of real sand to sneak its way into every nook and cranny of your belongings. I found it in towels, random cupboards, appliances and even in the underwear drawer. Brilliant.
The kitchen island was enveloped in saran wrap with random household items stuck inside the many layers of clear stickiness. Some of those items included our mail and a bottle of vim. Moving to the bathroom, the toilet was wrapped in saran wrap too, as well as several of the towels. In the bedroom was our beloved SUPER ROB tucked in our bed. SUPER ROB is the cardboard life sized picture of Robbie that his brothers made for the best man speech. On the wall was a calendar where every day of the week was Wednesday. One of my favorite details was on the door of our second bedroom. A simple sign said ‘Pierre’s Room.’ Classic.
With this hilarious set-up came a very long clean up. Besides that we had several gifts to open and place throughout our beloved basement suite. As we sorted through all this chaos I started to see the living proof of something I had always known: Robbie is incredibly picky. Robbie likes things done a certain way. Robbie has a touch of OCD. The placement and replacement of each item in our household was done with great care and thought.
I tend to have bursts of this type of organizational obsessiveness usually at the beginning of the school year, but it doesn’t stick. In September of my teaching practicum I had my full schedule in about 10 different places, I kid not. My bedroom had become more office than sleeping and relaxing quarters. By December everything was more or less in shambles, but I knew I had January to reorganize and prioritize my life again. Robbie would never let such a thing happen to him.
So here I was, newly married, my major priority being that of finding a proper laundry hamper, while Robbie methodically organized what seemed like everything in our new place. I followed his lead.
My famous example of his eye for detail is the saga of the clothes drying rack. I think we purchased and returned 3 or 4 drying racks until we found one that was the quality ‘we’ desired. Being the supportive new wife that I was, I was with him every step of the way. From purchase to return, to purchase to return I stood by his side, aware that this was very important to him. It was here that I developed my pattern of (1) agreeing with Robbie on such matters until I was (2) increasingly frustrated by his particularness where I would (3) regrettably roll my eyes, which would (4) eventually turn into an attitude of ‘I should have known when I married him,’ followed by (5) an gradual chuckle and the ability to move on and help him obtain his dreams. This pattern repeats itself oft. Oft and oft and oft.
Lord knows how things will go when we are house hunting one day. We will need several convents and monasteries of cloistered religious praying up a storm for us to pass through ours.
Since this drying rack incident there have been countless moments where I have seen this element of Robbie in all its glory. Since day 15 Robbie has painstakingly asked me to get my act together and place and replace our household items where they belong. This includes, but is not limited to clothing, towels, dishes, papers, and my purse. This adjustment has been difficult for me. I never shared a room with a sibling or had a roommate before I was married. I enjoyed the ability to make things messy since I was so good at cleaning it up again. However, I’ve always known that I’m too liberal with the space between making the mess and when it gets tidied up.
But… In the last month or so I have noticed that I’m starting to get it. I’ve been putting my towel on the rack after its use in the morning. I’ve been making the bed if I’m the last one out of it. I’ve been letting the nagging thoughts of ‘put that item away’ or ‘don’t drop that there, it belongs somewhere else’ to surface and manifest itself physically. I’ve been rinsing out my smoothie cup right after I use it so it doesn’t instantly ferment and leave a rancid smell. I’ve been wiping the counter and stove top so that not one little crumb may be discovered. I’ve been tidying the shoes in the front closet to be uniform and neat. I’ve been picking up my clothes that still inevitably get placed on the floor before they make their way to their assigned hanger or the hamper. I’ve been putting the weekly flyers away in our magazine basket once I’ve done oogling over them. I’ve been doing the dishes more than not, an accomplishment I thought I would never reach. I’m sure my parents would have much preferred this to have happened years and years ago.
All these little things make all the difference to a certain someone. I’ve always listened when he’s said, “If we can’t respond to the little demands of day to day life, how can we respond to God in the big things?” Maybe that’s the secret to the perpetual positivity of the man I love. That he constantly listens to that still, small voice in every little detail of every day. In this listening, he knows He is always there mysteriously guiding us through each of our insignificant or watershed moments.
That Robbie character. Now he is a mystery I look forward to unraveling for years to come.