When you are inextricably trapped, stuck, incarcerated by 9 inches of snow and a 45-degree driveway, it tends to bring out the best, worst, ugliest REAL in all of us. If anything was hiding just beneath the surface of a quiet, nicely polished veneer of calm in any member of my family, well…after three days of lots of togetherness, it’s all hanging out now.
I would love to say that we embraced this time together in true Brady Bunch fashion with lots of sing-a-longs, board games, and crafting…well, there was some crafting for about 15 minutes…but that would not have been US – The Popes. Instead, in one room there was a three-day marathon of ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ and in the other was non-stop channel surfing between the World Fishing Network and the Outdoor Channel (I want to meet the heads of these two networks and have a heart to heart with them – WHY ARE THERE SO MANY COMMERCIALS? WHY ARE THEY SO LOUD? WHY DOES THE BACKGROUND MUSIC DROWN OUT THE FISHERMAN TALKING SO MY HUSBAND HAS TO TURN IT UP TO HEAR THEM????). And in the corner was me. With my ear plugs in.
In all honesty, I am quite proud of how we handled our unfortunate incarceration, there were no major melt downs until the end of day three. Sadly, it was Valentine’s Day and we were all just d-o-n-e. So instead of the day representing how perfectly our love manifests itself every single day (insert raucous laughter right here), it was messy. No cards. No candy. Flowers never arrived. Lots of frayed nerves and very little capacity to hold anything in. We were a group of people whose filters were eroding faster than the melting snow.
Valentine’s Day was probably better represented in our home the other 364 days this past year:
- the day when Popey shoveled those 9-inches of snow off of said 45-degree driveway;
- every single day for four months when Popey had to work 14-hour days, 7-days a week out of town;
- the days when a week’s worth of filthy-sweaty-construction-site laundry had to be washed, dried, folded and packed up to leave again in just six hours;
- the days when a week’s worth of food had to be cooked and packaged as individual meals to send to work with a man who didn’t have time to stop and eat or even go through a drive-thru;
- the days of sleeping alone in two cities because work and family don’t cohabitate for us;
- the days of mothering through the tough, rocky emotions of three teen-age girls alone;
- the days of crazy long beards;
- the days of crazy short hair;
- the days of just plain C-R-A-Z-Y;
- the days of just plain;
- the days when he said, “Let’s go out to dinner,” because he knew I was spent;
- the days when I said, “Let’s stay home for dinner,” because I knew he was spent;
- the days we spent in bed watching TV together when he only had one day off that week and was too tired to do anything else;
- the days when one of us or both of us realized we don’t understand the other one nearly as well as we thought, but we love anyway;
- the days one or both of us realized we don’t understand ourselves as much as we thought we did, but we cling to the other one in desperate hope that they’ll hang in there with us through it (it’s possible that one was just me);
- the days of getting up and doing all the things married people do when they are tired, lonely, feel misunderstood and misrepresented, and missing the fairy tale they thought they signed up for on day one when they said ‘I do’;
- ALL THE DAYS.
The ordinary days of what true, messy, real love is. Most of the time it’s just showing up, even when you have nothing to offer, and doing the best you can and trusting Jesus for the rest.
And then there’s the day after Valentine’s Day while you are typing a blog post about true love, and the bedraggled UPS man shows up in the melting snow and ice to deliver the two dozen roses that were guaranteed for delivery on Valentine’s Day. And they are beautiful. But they pale in comparison to the brutiful mess we make every other day of the year.
Thank you for loving me well Popey. For almost 27 years you’ve taken good care of me and loved me even when neither one of us knew how. I pray we have many more brutiful messes together. I know there will be more messes because I understand now what I didn’t on our wedding day – neither one of us have any idea what we are doing!
(And for the sake of my sanity – please turn down the fishing channel…uuuuggghhh!)