On Toothpaste and Being A Grown Up Grown-Up

Wedding_goofs“Why is the toothpaste in your travel bag?”

My husband. Always asking me the hard questions.

“Um…” my face, now smiling but streaked with recent tears, is starting to turn red.

He looks at me, then starts to laugh. He can see the answer on my face before I say it:

“Um, because I was going to….um… leave.”

And now we both laugh, really hard. He gets the toothpaste out, and laughs more.

“You are my favorite,” he says, still laughing.  “You’re the funniest person I’ve ever met.”

 

/ / /

So….you’re probably wondering where I was going. Or why I was leaving. Or what, for the love of all things rational, is the funny part of this?!

And the answers are:

I didn’t know either.

Because I was mad.

And I’m getting to that. Be patient, willya?

When conflict happens in our family, I tend oh, justalittlebit, toward the overly-dramatic.

Crying.

Assuming the worst.

Flinging my self-control over the wanton edge of reason for not so much as a burnt piece of bacon.

And, on occasions such as this one, my toiletries and clothing going into a little travel bag AS IF I were actually going to storm out on my husband and go to a hotel.

I say AS IF because I never have, actually, stormed out and gone to a hotel.

And the funny part of the story (See? I told you we’d get there) is just that my husband knows I never will.

You know, like “Aw, it’s so cute that you try to be all tough and mean when I know your heart’s all here and it’s never going anywhere.” That kind of funny.

Because if there’s ONE THING that’s right and true and good and reliable about our family, it’s that We. Aren’t. Going. Anywhere.

Well, maybe there’s not just one thing.

Because the other thing that’s reliable is that we’re really, really messy.

And the other other thing is that we are still learning howthehecktohaveaconflict without ripping apart all things delicate in each other’s hearts.

It’s a little (read: way a lot, lot, lot) scary even to put a story like that out there and own just how very, very much I need to grow up sometimes.

Because this is not how I pictured it. I grew up the only child of two counselors, and although you may be chucking knowingly and not at all surprised that I exhibit, ever so occasionally, the immaturity demonstrated above…. I, for one, was shocked. I really went in to this marriage thing….this making a family thing….thinking I was pretty well equipped for the job.

Oh, I “knew it would be challenging,” but I thought I could predict the challenges and leap over them with stunning grace.

And then I got married.

And like 4 days into this thing, I found myself chock-full of pouting and victimhood and tantrums and childishness of only the most difficult variety.

And I don’t really like it at all, actually.  I especially don’t like that it’s ME in it.

That I’m the one messing it up. I’m the one who’s just let the cat out of the bag that my marriage isn’t perfect and I’m not the wife I want to be. The wife I think I should be.

I don’t like it because here I am, sharing, and blogging, and mommy-ing and wife-ing and the truth is: I just want to be full of awesome advice. I want to have my stuff together so I can help you with yours.

I want to be the one doling out the 5 Easy Steps to a Happy Family and the 6 Ways To Be A Perfect Wife.

But then, before you know it, I go and write about my petty, conflict-y, marriage moments and just really, really botch up my credibility.

Maybe that’s actually the funny part.

You know, because like, it’s funny sometimes how much we need love to cover over a multitude of sins.

It’s funny how maddeningly human we humans can be.

It’s funny how immaturity makes us go in swinging, thinking the best way to be valuable is to be perfect, and it’s funny how growing up turns all of that upside down and makes imperfection and grace the ultimate value.

Because that’s the truth, right? We’re all terribly, wonderfully, frighteningly and hilariously imperfect

I know you already know that. And see, that’s another thing.

I sat down to write this and still started out assuming that I had to tell you something you didn’t know.

That the only helpful things I could tell you were the things I’ve got figured out.

And then I realized I don’t really have anything figured out.


Wedding_grownupsExcept maybe that growing up isn’t actually about figuring things out.

It’s more about how deeply we need to see each other’s imperfection and then experience each other’s grace.

And how dearly and desperately we need laughter to be the healing balm for tears, sometimes.

And how divinely glorious the imperfection actually is, when I botch it all up, and then the all-of-the-mess-acceptance comes anyway, wrapped up in a happy, laughing kiss from the man who loves me anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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