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Keepin’ It Real: The Sequel

First question on this lovely Monday morning: Where the bleep is my spring break???

It’s over already? Really?

Mornings are rough for me on any given Monday – but especially on the Monday after a full week of sleeping in and staying in pajamas for most of the morning.

I said “rough” – I wish I could adequately convey this sentiment in a way that shows you exactly what “rough” looks like. Let’s just say that I have never been – and never will be – a Morning Person. Please don’t talk to me before 9:00 a.m., and definitely not while I’m in a precaffeinated state.

And there is absolutely no shame in dropping off your child at preschool while still wearing your pajamas. None.

OK, so we’ve established that Monday mornings after Spring Break are not pretty. Now let’s back up and talk about Spring Break, specifically Michael’s homecoming from Vietnam.

He had a great experience and is still processing everything. I’m so proud of him for taking the gifts he has and using those to bring hope and healing to those who wouldn’t have it otherwise. That, I believe, is God’s calling for every single one of us.

For the two of us, the trip was a little bit of a throwback to our college days when we were long-distance dating. During those years, we would talk on the phone several times a week, and we would see each other most weekends – so we learned very quickly how to take a short period of time and focus completely on each other and communicate well. That ability has proven itself useful during our years of medical marriage.

While he was in Vietnam, we were able to talk once, sometimes twice a day, and again focus completely on each other during the short period of time we had. Even though being apart was horrible, we landed on a soft sweet spot of togetherness.

For me, the week flew. I couldn’t believe how quickly the time passed. Thanks in huge part to all of your suggestions, I not only survived, but flourished. The house stayed clean, the kids went to bed early, and I was in complete control. Mostly.

We missed Michael so much, and we couldn’t wait for him to get home; but even so, order was maintained.

He came in late on Tuesday night and went straight to bed, then got up for an 8:30 dentist appointment on Wednesday morning (still questioning the wisdom of that decision). Wednesday afternoon, we packed a picnic lunch and took a family bike ride to our neighborhood park and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. It was a perfect day.

Thursday rolls around, Michael spends the morning operating, calls me between cases, and we have a constructive difference of opinion. All of a sudden, I am ticked. I go from madly in love and abundantly thankful to irritable and withdrawn in a matter of minutes.

How does this happen?

I have a theory.

While he was gone, I missed him terribly. I was tired. I was incomplete. But I was in control. The house was clean, the children were in bed early, and I kept a steady finger on the pulse of our home.

Then he comes home. I was thrilled! I was energized! I was complete! But my house was instantly a mess. The children stayed up late. The pulse was erratic.

Complete lack of control.

Hence, tickedoffedness.

(Yes, I realize I just made up a word. I think it’s a pretty good word.)

It took about two days of tickedoffedness before I could come out of my cave and resolve the issue. Coincidentally, he also cleaned up his mess and put the empty suitcases away about the same time.

That helped.

So we’re now back to blissful completeness – well, other than the constructive disagreement we had last night about taking Nathan on a camping trip. But this happens often with us. We fight and argue and disagree, but then we talk about it, listen carefully, reach some point of understanding, and emerge with more respect and affection for each other than we had before.

This marriage thing sure is weird.

But I think we’ve come to understand and appreciate that this is what marriage is about. You love each other deeply and extravagantly, you cheer each other on, you encourage each other to be better. You push against each other, you fight and bump and bruise, you step out of synch, and you strain to find the lost melody and the hidden tempo. Then somehow, amid all the pushing and fighting, you once again find that complimentary rhythm and fall into step, moving together in a perfect waltz. 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3…

…until you trip over his empty suitcase that has been on the floor for two freakin’ days. Then you have to start all over.


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