Making the Bed

I think about death. I do. When my husband falls asleep on his back with his hands on his chest and his chin falls down, I call it the coffin pose. My funeral playlist is an oft-pondered subject. I am more inclined to say, “I love you” to people who don’t expect it, because I know that one sometimes doesn’t get go-backs. I remind myself that our days are numbered. And this is a sober introduction to a playful subject.

Because, if I survive Curt, one of the things I would miss the most is making the bed with him.

There is a history.

Three weeks into our marriage, we experienced an unsettling reality: we had different ways of doing things. What we were doing was making the bed.

It started with the fitted sheet. There is a correct sequence: first a top corner, then the opposite bottom corner, like an X…then the other top corner, and finally the opposing bottom. Fewer wrinkles or gaps. Curt disregarded my domestic dogma and just put the sheet on…however he saw fit.

Next was the flat sheet. Back then, there was a right side and a wrong side. Which side faces up? I said the right side, because…that is right. He said the wrong side so when you folded the sheets back to get into bed, both sides were right. (I concede, he was right.)

But the pinnacle of our disagreement was pillow placement. He said the open sides of the pillow were in the middle. I said the seams were in the center, open sides at the edge. And, you see, one of us had to give.

Because we were twitterpated there was no rancor in our disagreement. Just lots of teasing.

 

Life filled up and I ceased caring about X corners and pillow placement. The bed just had to be made. Early on, however, it became a game.

After the bedspread/duvet is smooth and folded back, we race to put the pillows in the pillowcases. And there are no rules, no holds barred. Everything is fair play. If I am on the verge of victory, he lunges across and yanks the half-cased pillow out of my hands. I hide his pillow case and begin before he’s retrieved it. We giggle like idiots. It’s hard to case a pillow when you are shaking with laughter. The winner flings the pillow on the bed with a flourish and a shout.

Making the bed.

Ordering the common life.

This is what we keep striving towards: get the work done, but infuse it with fun. (I hope we have 34 more years of laughter.

  

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A Great One

 

What makes a man great?

A great man leaves an imprint on others’ lives so they are changed because of his input.

Three great people have made a huge impact on my life: my mom, my husband and my pastor. Impacted not only me, but many, many others. I’ve written about my mom; some day I’ll write about the man who is not only my pastor, but a pastor to pastors; but today is my husband’s birthday. It is he whom I honor with my words.

My brother calls Curt a funnel. I can see Dan’s hands angled inward—air funneling, if you will—as he describes Curt’s ability to take a lot of information (or a complex situation) and distill out of it the essence of a thing. 

Curt is a strong leader: a man men want to follow. He is kind, but candid. As a younger man, he tended towards candid, but kind. He is intense, faithful, hard-working, funny, generous, perceptive, honest, and handsome.

Happy Birthday, Curt!

To love one that is great, is almost to be great one’s self.
~ Samuel Johnson

I Do

I do.                        Two small words.    

Take.                      Four
Have.                    four-
Hold.                       letter
Love.                       words

Cherish.                 One of the longest word in the vows.

The words are simple.
Which is not the same as saying it is easy.
Sometimes it is remarkably rough.
After we’ve weathered difficult seasons we find ourselves still holding, loving, and cherishing.
 
Happy Anniversary, Curt! 33 Years! You make it easy.

::    ::     ::

We watched a Lark Rise to Candleford episode in which a father figure offers a poem to a nervous bride who fears her husband will stop loving her when he really knows her. Curt looks at me and asks, “Which poem, babe?”

As I thought, it was William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixéd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
     If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
     I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

   

What I Owe My Father-in-law

The short answer: a bunch.

When I consulted with my 19-year-old self, I decided that one vital point I would look for in a potential husband was a guy who had a robust relationship with his dad. I craved children; even more, I wanted a man who would be a good father to those future children. Specifically, I wanted a man who had lived with an example of strong leadership, who knew firsthand what a good dad looked like; a man who wanted to be like his father.

[Disclaimer: I know that men who have had passive, indifferent, distant, or abusive fathers are capable of being good dads.]

Thus, when I talked to a guy who dissed his dad, I drew a mental X next to his name: Disqualified.

When Curt and I started going out, he was working summers with his dad. He came to take me to dinner in his dad’s brand new Triumph Spitfire. There was a confidence and respect that flowed between those two men. Curt introduced me to his parents very early in our relationship. When it came time to marry, Curt did not hesitate in choosing his Best Man: “my Dad“. After we had children, we moved nine hours to our current location (where Curt’s folks lived) in order for our kids to live close to their grandparents. Curt and his dad formed a partnership and worked together 12 years. Ever since Curt was old enough to hold a gun, they have hunted together.

“Dad” poured himself into Curt, and through the man his son became, my sons and I have reaped a boatload of benefits. What did Curt learn from his dad? Motivation to work; equilibrium expressed in the family motto: Let’s get the work done and then have fun!; a willingness to confront tough issues and pursue resolution; the courage to be unpopular; stubbornness; unflinching sacrifice; bluntness; the beauty of order; affection; fidelity; compassion; service; laughter.

He made an investment. He renewed that investment. He continues to invest. And I am the rich beneficiary.

Wooden Spoons That Make You Sing

 

My kids/grandsons gave me a set of wooden spoons for Mother’s Day.
Yay! I love wooden spoons.




  Spoons with style!




Drumsticks on the end!
Hooray!
Now you can stir your Puttanesca sauce,
flip the spoons, and lay down a cadence as
you merrily fling Puttanesca all over your ceiling.



I love my Fred Mix Stix.

Synchronicity, you make make heart beat!
My husband’s words matched the kids’ gift.

Your joy pushes us onward,
expecting and anticipating more blessings up ahead.
Keep singing your song
and telling your story.
We are honored to be included
in your harmony and script.

This Repeated Wedding Procession


Note: We mourned the passing of our neighbors’ mom/grandma this week.  After the service, Curt and I sat down and wrote out our thoughts.  And Grace Will Lead Me Home has my reflections. This is my husband Curt’s gift of words to our friends.

There are three things which are too wonderful for me,

Four which I do not understand:

The way of an eagle in the sky,

The way of a serpent on a rock,

The way of a ship in the middle of the sea,

And the way of a man with a maid.

Proverbs 30:18-19


When I was younger, and when my eyes seemed smarter, I concluded that a marriage was best represented by the wedding ceremony.  Beauty, strength, desire, hope, vows, laughter, celebration, romance, honeymoon; all of these became for me the defining picture of a rich marriage.

But over the years my vision of marriage has sharpened beyond the blur of my youthful folly.  My own marriage has taught me the value of sacrifice over time.  My wife’s sustained love for me through the years has re-sketched my picture of a rich marriage.

I have witnessed many marriages that are in it for the long run.  These marathon marches through difficulties and joys continue to grip my attention and cause me to refocus.  My parents’ journey speaks loudly here.  But there is a particular snapshot etched indelibly in my mind, a rich picture of marriage, crafted before me on many occasions over these recent past years.

From the privacy of my own home, I have spied what for me has become a masterful image of marriage bliss.  Sitting at my table, watching through my window, an elderly couple has often climbed their son’s driveway to attend various family get-togethers.  Slowly, carefully, stooped and leaning upon one another, arm in arm–this repeated wedding procession has captured my attention.  Their destination was always happily realized through their courageous determination, but not without the pain of old joints, grimacing faces, and off-balance missteps.

Bob and Averil scaled with difficulty what for them was a steep climb.  And they probably never knew I was watching them, sometimes praying them onward to a welcoming front door.  I’m sure they were studying the ground for the sake of a safe arrival.  But I was studying them, for the sake of my own marriage, which has not yet fully arrived.  And one day yet future, I hope someone younger will notice the masterpiece before them, when Carol and I cannot walk forward unless we are walking together, leaning in upon one another.  Thank-you Bob.  And thank-you Averil.

 

The Contest

 

“We’re having a contest,” he said, smiling.

One eyebrow arched, I mentally reviewed recent communications and asked, “We are?”

“Yep.” Still smiling.

Wow. I must have missed the memo. I cocked my head and smiled back, quizzical. What are you talking about?

Silence.

“We’re both trying to outlove each other.”

Well, then. 

Let the contest continue!