Thursday, September 16, 2010

Year Thirteen: Making Lemonade

Once, a long, long time ago, I told you I was going to go back in time and tell the stories I haven't had time to tell.  Well, all I needed was a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 jigawatts of electricity and...well...thanks to some generous Libyans handing over their plutonium, I can finally tell you about March 1, 2010.

Our wedding anniversary is without a doubt the most significant date in our family calendar.  Not because it was the best day of our lives or because we are just that in love, but because it was the first day...the day we left our childhood lives behind and boarded the plane on a journey we would never return from (further up and further in!).  And every year on March 1st, we can look back and through the context of our marriage we  read blessings, adventure, brokenness, heartache, growth, change, healing, moments of deep love and of deep pain, and inexplicable miracles that have taken place.  We say with astonishment and sentiment, "look...look what has happened to us!"

Which is why we almost always make a point to do something to take pause and remember.  This, the thirteenth year, was hard, hard work.  The year began with a culmination of heartache and disappointment so great there was nothing left to celebrate.  We were done.  Done with each other, done with ourselves, done with this stupid marriage.  Year Twelve was the only year that didn't have a March 1st as far as we were concerned.  But apparently we are resilient buggers, and although we both came into marriage with some very heavy baggage...we have spent the last year in particular, cautiously--ferociously-- fighting for our selves and fighting like hell for our marriage.

And so far we are growing up, changing, and becoming better people.  This year, Year Thirteen, there was something to celebrate, albeit a little more serious and somber.  Thanks to the many friends that it takes to farm out all our kids and get us somewhere "away", we were able to pause, get away from the grind, and reflect.  Of course, we had to have a nursing, little tag-along with us, in the very squirmy and exploratory stage of life no less.  But it was fun to pretend we only had one kid (at 35+) and imagining what it would be like if this were our norm.  We'd probably have less gray hairs, less sleep-deprived eyes and better careers... ha!

This trip to Seattle was in part a gift from our beautiful and talented friend Anna, who let us stay at her apartment near the Seattle Center.  After a very refreshing visit with Anna she left us to have our time together, and the first thing we did was hit up a Thai place in Upper Queen Anne.  We love Thai, but the kids?  Not so much.  So any chance we get to eat without them, this is what we have.

Noble was a constant blur of activity.  He's just discovered that standing up gives him a whole different perspective, and he must touch and feel and taste any part of the world he can get his little dimpled hands on!  I'll be's exhausting!

This "next-day" picture was taken to represent our spontaneous after-dinner adventure!  We were walking around the Seattle Center and decided to see a movie.  The closest theater was quite a few blocks away, and lo and behold, the Monorail led right to it!  We'd never ridden the Seattle Monorail before (we've done Disneyland, of course) so this was very exciting.  (We don't get out much, okay?)  Blue-ish fluorescent lights flickered with every rattling bump and waggle of the train, and lonely characters in the corners-- their faces briefly illuminated by the strobing lights-- stared at us with stony expressions.  We, the effervescent vacationers with the baby, may have been on the set of a horror movie...these things can happen!

After the movie (which we loved and intensely identified with), we had to hail a cab to get back to the apartment and neither of us had ever done such a thing.  We weren't really sure what to do when I saw one coming!  Before I knew what was happening, I thought, "well, in the movies, they do this..." and I stuck out my hand and yelled, "TAXI!"  And you know what happened?  The taxi pulled right over!  Neither of us could believe it!  We weren't sure what to do with the baby...would he take us and a baby with no car seat?  I mean, it's a car, not the bus!  But he said, "yeah!  Get in!  Get in!" and as soon as we shut the door, he sped off.  So we held on tight to Noble and giggled out, "this is our first time in a taxi!"  Which the driver ignored, then he rolled down his window and spoke Taxi to the car next to him.  It would've been totally deflating if we weren't laughing at ourselves for how ridiculously excited we were of being out of our element.

The next day necessitated some tourism, so we walked all around to see the sights.  It was very cool for us just to hang out and be friends, talking uninterrupted (mostly).  Then we met up with Anna and a friend of hers who worked at the Space Needle and was gracious enough to take us all up on his day off.  What a blessing, and it was a perfectly clear day!

Here we are, the happy family...hopefully you can't tell that I didn't get ANY sleep because Noble, out of his element, was up all night and I was paranoid about bothering the neighbors.

What a silly, happy baby.  You could tell he was bored with us and missing his sibling playmates.

And this is everyone in the reflection of the windows, 520 feet up.

Next we headed South to do some more tourism-ing on our way home.  But really we had only one objective: Daily Dozen Doughnuts.  Even though Noble and I are gluten-free now doesn't mean we can't watch David enjoy these heavenly bites.  So off to Market we go...


We parked miles away and took a strange detour, which led us to this ghastly and beautiful sight (Noble, as you can see, is in disbelief):

You don't get this close to the Gum Wall without finding out that smells really good!

I love that someone thought it was necessary to sprinkle glitter all over this fruity kaleidoscope of gum.  It was very colorful.

Behold: the Gum Wall.  German tourist take turns photographing each other in front of this American Wonder!

We are interested in another Wonder.  Of hot, doughy goodness.  Of cinnamon.  Of powdered sugar.  Of this guy:

Raise your hand if you know this guy.  He is so cool.  I mean, he is just doing his job, and like anyone else he'd rather not be at work, but he'll talk to you as if you are his next-door neighbor, not some once-in-a-lifetime tourist, come from afar for his deliciously greasy confections and fanfare.  He likes to snap the bags open, startling children and nervous nellies, and throw the doughnuts into the air, catching them one by one in your bag of powdered sugar.  Shake-shake, an exchange of money and it's yours!  Wonderful!

Sorry Noble, you and me get rice cakes (booo).

One last temptation before we hit the road.

We actually found this lemon as we were walking along, perfectly undamaged, like it just fell out of someone's grocery bag.  We picked it up (why not?) and had to laugh at the irony: the significance of the day, looking back on our marriage and realizing that we have been taking the lemons life gave us, and with pressing and twisting and squeezing, with a massive amount of sugar supplied by the kind of grace that only God can afford....we are, in fact, creating a pretty darned good lemonade.

May we continue to balance our lemons with the Water and Sugar, and year after year may we be only more refreshed by our marriage.  Amen!


Kathy said...

This was such a great post. So pignant and encouraging.

So excited that you got some time away for just you two (sort of) Sad tpo hear that your last year was hard but you sound so much the better for it:)

You actually posted this on our 15th wedding anniversary. Funny because you were both there to celebrate with us and I didnt even know you:(

We are doing nothing to celebrate or set aside the day. Not a single thing. Josh is working. That in itself should be a celebration. For over three anniversaries he wasnt working. For two anniversaries I had just had surgery. A few anniversaries there were new new babies to oogle. There is no time together yet we are very blessed and I hope for many more anniversaries to reflect and look back on the life we are living now.

katieoz said...

love your post and am so inspired to have that kind of an anniversary, not only now but hopefully in another 10 years too! Cheers to you and Dave!

p.s. you look fabulous :)

Kristin @ Meanbean said...

What a wonderful anniversary adventure. I love the hope and love that oozes from your words, and the love with which you speak of your entire family, even with the hurts and hardships of this last year. It is so uplifting to read how God's grace is raining on your marriage, and you both are just radiant. <3

wendy said...

Kathy, we don't always go somewhere and do something, and it's not always on The Day. Sometimes I make a nice dinner and dessert and we let the kids fawn over us (which they love to do on our anniversary, it's so sweet)...then we remember. The kids love when we tell stories of our early days, before them. And when they're gone, we can tell the harder stories, and pray over it all. We never know what a year will bring, eh? But I encourage you to take at least 10 minutes to look into each others eyes and say "here we are!" and laugh that you've made it this far! :D

wendy said...

...and Happy Anniversary! :D

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

Absolutely lovely.

Leppard said...

well written and recorded. I could just taste your excitement getting your first Taxi. I have never ridden in one in the USA either and would have been thrilled to have on stop for me if I waved my hand:). I hope year 14 is a time of joy, friendship and hope. I love that you keep your blog real. Thanks for sharing!!

Jen Gray said...

You know, of course, that I am a fan of being honest and open and vulnerable so I applaud you here for sharing the hard (dare I say Bad?) stuff along with the happy/Good. That's the way marriage is, isn't it? The ebb and flow, the ups and downs, the good and the bad. It also goes to, once again, prove the point of the epiphany I had a couple of years ago: that we all suffer in some way and the outside world doesn't necessarily know about it. Here, all I saw from this perspective (your blogging, your FB posts) was fun times with kids--excitement, creativity, movement, fun! Of course--duh!--of course, there would be hard stuff there, too, but I fail to pick up on that. That's the stuff that is more painful to let out into that great big world. Especially when it is about our marriage, right?

Anyway, I'm so glad that you had the chance to get away (it cracks me up that this felt like a get-away to have a BABY along with you! Ha! I guess it is all a perspective thing!). A taxi! Can't believe you've never been in one before. Yes, it is kind of freaky to just have your kid/baby in there but...well...that's kind of just the way it is. ; ) Just hold on tight! (Whoa, I sense another life metaphor here!).

May life hand you some strawberries, too. They're sweeter, and they make some darned good pink lemonade! : )

Jessica said...

love you so much. love your perspective and your hope and your writing and how brave you are to share your heart and struggles. You reveal God's glory when you do that, cha-cha!