Sunday, July 7, 2013

Six Thoughts in Four Days

My youngest brother got married yesterday.  His wedding was as beautiful as his bride, who was so beautiful, I cried when I saw her.  They are perfect for each other and I was beyond proud to be a part of it.

We got home from Kansas a few hours ago and my mind is busy with thoughts from the last four days.  Being in a different environment with a lot of different people gave me some food for thought.

Thought 1:  I don't like being around drunk people.  It sounds harsh, but I don't respect them.  I'm trying to put my finger on it, but I think it's a combination of a lack of self-control, the transformation from something genuine to something less so, and the idea of drinking to an end.  The actual enjoyment of drinking seems to get lost in the pursuit of getting drunk.  It reminds me of those people who compete in eating contests.  They don't eat to enjoy the food, they eat to eat a lot.  40 hotdogs in how many minutes?  Blech. 

And yet, I envy their ability to enjoy themselves without regard for anyone else.  I love the idea of blending in with the crowd, and enjoying myself in a room full of tipsy people.  But, all I really want to do is run away, which makes me feel a bit like an uptight spinster, a prude, and a freak.

Maybe I'm missing out.  I've never even had a good buzz, much less been drunk.  I can't get past feeling my eyes move around in my head after one wine cooler.  And how do people drink so much beer (or any liquid) without their stomachs crying out in protest?  I can't imagine drinking 3 or 6 or 10 sodas in a row.  There's something about it that is totally beyond me.  All I really know, is that it has a lot of power over people, especially ones I love.  And it is a power I loathe and distrust.

Thought 2:  I love my husband.  A lot.  And my family loves him.  A lot.  But, he doesn't sit well for any length of time and he likes to be in his own house.  We were only at my parent's for four full days.  He was ready to go home at the end of day 2.  I usually want to know how he's feeling, good or bad.  But, I would rather not know this.  When I realize it, I pick up and carry the burden of him wishing he were elsewhere.  It disturbs my peace and dampens my joy.  If I dwell on it, I begin to feel like he's stealing something from me.  Something that I already have precious little of.  Time with my family - who lives ten hours away - who I see about three times a year. 

To be fair, there are two sides to every story, and I know I am not an attentive wife and mother when we go there.  I'm distracted by conversation with whoever happens by, and busy sketching the plan of how to fit everyone in.  Meanwhile, he's being hen-pecked (rooster-pecked?) by boys who want to ride the four-wheeler and shoot fireworks and start a fire and be pushed on the swing.  Based on that alone, I can see why it isn't exactly the vacation for him that it is for me.  But, it would be nice if it were.

Thought 3:  I never thought I could get tired of hearing good things about myself or anyone else.  But, I can.  On all accounts.  I don't tire of thinking good things about others, but I do tire of talking about them.

Thought 4:  My boys are growing up.  They need me for little and want me for the same.  So, after no nap and an unsuccessful search for "Bear", his best friend and constant companion, my 4-year-old fell asleep on me at the wedding reception.  This is the boy who doesn't give hugs and kisses anymore and loves to tell me how pretty I don't look.  He slept so hard, he peed his pants, and mine.  I was in heaven, just the same.

They really do grow up.  As parents of young children, we're careful to record our baby's and toddler's "firsts".  First tooth, first word, first step, first haircut, etc...  But there are as many "lasts" as there are firsts.  (Like, maybe, hopefully not, but maybe, holding a pee-soaked 4-year-old on your lap for the last time).  Lasts just aren't so obvious.  And that's a good thing because we might never stop crying over the things that will be no more.

Thought 5:  On the other end of life, I reminisced with one of my Dad's old friends about water fights and days gone by.  He's been doing the chemo/radiation routine to fight cancer for awhile now.  There's no hope of eradicating it, they're just trying to slow it down.  When we said goodbye, he said, "I hope to see you again while I'm still alive."  I choked back the tears and said, "Me, too", knowing that I wouldn't.

Saying your last goodbye to a dying man in the middle of a party isn't something that makes any emotional sense.  This man and his wife were the couple who "caught" the bouquet at my wedding.  We gave it to the couple who had been married the longest, and that was ten years ago.  While the young newlyweds danced the night away on hearts full of promise and dreams, time is running out for a man and wife who have lived them, and tucked them away.  They still have promises and dreams, but they are for eternity and those they'll leave behind. 

Thought 6:  I regret not slow-dancing with my husband.  I assumed we would early on, but I ended up holding my son, talking, or cleaning up.  When I realized that it was almost time to leave, I listened intently for a good slow-dance song, but one never came.  By the end of the night, I only danced to one song, and that was with my brother, the groom - for a dollar.

I should have done better than that.  I guess we don't have to wait for somebody to get married to dance.  We have music and a hardwood floor at home.  But, we also have a TV, and a computer, and little kids.  Maybe we just need a date night...

Dear Author of all that is good,

Thank you for our safe travel today.  Thank you for the guardian angels who watched over us.  Thank you for my little brother and his new wife.  Please watch over them as they leave for their honeymoon tomorrow, and all the days of their lives.  Thank you for families that just keep growing.  Thank you for parents who pray and invest in their kids, and in their kids' kids.  Please bless Ed and his wife as he continues treatment.  Thank you for their example and their love. 

Thank you for the freedom we have in this country.  Please help us to use it in a way that pleases You.  Thank you for fireworks, and every other reason we have to cast our eyes heavenward. 

Lord, please grant me wisdom and compassion where alcohol is concerned.  I don't know what I don't know, and I need You to show me. 

Lord, please help me to be grateful for "what is", so that I may not live with regret when it is no longer.  In Your Wisdom, you spared us the constant awareness of those things that slip away from us.  Thank You.  Please help me redeem the mistakes I've made this past week in the week ahead.  And please bless my family, friends, and all whom I include in my poor prayers.  Amen.

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