Dr. Love

Dr. Lentz peered at us above the lazy glasses riding low on his nose. “The best thing you can do for the health of this baby is to have a good marriage. Dad, you need to love this mother.  Mother, you need to love this dad. Period.” 

Thank You Good Doctor

My venerable pediatrician was now our daughter’s pediatrician.   Grace Ann was eight days old.  For her first visit to the doctor she wasn’t the main character.  Her parent’s marriage was.

Eighteen years later, on this last night of May 2012, I will confess we did not execute this month’s Tired Date.  Not to worry, there are no shaky legs on the marital stool.  We are not afoul of harmony.  We simply ran out of time.  In thirty short days we have consumed bike races, mother’s day, middle school graduation, dance recitals, dress rehearsals… Aw heck. I’m not even halfway through the list.  You can figure it out.  It’s May, the one month where an entire school year culminates into four frenetically packed weeks of familial chaos. I think the last real conversation Alyson and I had was thirty days ago.  The “IverHart Max” sticker stuck to May One reminds me. “Hey, did you hear me? Don’t forget to pick up Biscuit’s heart worm medicine today.” The dog is still alive, so I guess I remembered.

And today we logged eight hours at The University of South Carolina consuming Freshman Orientation with our firstborn.  When we got home the two younger babies had already taken out the trash and set the recycle bin at the end of the driveway for tomorrow morning’s pickup

So she goes to college in August, Grace Ann does.  Jake starts high school, Ellie Kate seventh grade.  In no way, shape, or form will the activity abate, not anytime soon anyway.  But even a hip couple like AlyKev needs to skip a date every now and then.  In actuality, May was not a dating loss, but rather an affirmation of what we have been trying to do all along.  The best dates, really, are the ones that happen neither in escape nor fantasy but in the quotidian rituals we perform with the ones we love with.

When I was a young lad I respected Dr. Lentz with fear.  I guess you could say I grew to admire him.  When he died a few years ago I shed a tear because I loved him.  Watching my kids today I am grateful for his words about raising healthy children in a home where the best antidote for dis-ease is an honest commitment to the work of loving each other.

I wish he could see me now, all trying to grow up, with kids of my own.  I think he would be pleased.  And if the good doctor could listen quietly outside our bedroom tonight he would hear a healthy marriage snoring beyond the door.  And then he would smile, wink at our healthy children down the hall, and tell them to shut up.

Cool We Are (Were), by Aly

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Just sayin, for April, we were cool.  We didn’t go rappelling or heli-skiing.  But dressing up and going to the Art Museum for a silent auction and cocktail party was definitely a move in the hip direction.  As excited as I was for our planned date, making small talk and being interesting and engaging is not my forte.  In fact, I would never consider going to a function like this without Kev.  It’s just not “me.”  I am more of a hang out at home and drink wine by the fire kind of girl…even in April.

With that being said, pushing me (or us) out of our comfort zone is what tired dating is all about.  See Naked Glass Walking.   I could say to Kev, “look, I am just not a big crowd kind of girl so let’s just go to dinner and a movie,”  but where will that leave us? Stuck in a no-growth rut, that’s where.  Relationships/marriages need to be pushed and stretched and made to feel uncomfortable at times because it is in those times can one go to another level of intimacy, understanding, and emotional depth.  And sometimes it turns out to be a lot of fun.

Just picture it…the Columbia Museum of Art all lit up as night falls…art appreciators arriving dressed in every range of fashion from artsy grunge to cocktail chic.  Kev could have worn his “More Cowbell” t-shirt  and been received as avant-garde without a doubt.

…and the only cure, is More Cowbell.

There was music, wine, food…and art for sale.  I was feeling very hip and cool.  And having my very own “social butterfly” next to me made it even more enjoyable.  Kev’s ease in a crowd and outgoing demeanor helped me spread my wings a bit.  Over the course of the evening we conversed with several acquaintances whom we had never had the pleasure of getting to know socially.  I also met several of Kev’s colleagues from his new software web world.  I was on a roll!  By ten o’clock the art auction was winding down, but an “after hours” art auction at Hunter Gatherer (a local brewery and restaurant) was next on the schedule, and since we were having such a great time we decided to keep the night going.   By now, approaching ten thirty, we were waaaay off the traditional date radar.  An “after party” at a brewery at TEN THIRTY pm!…I am usually an hour into my stretchy pants by then.

After finding a seat outside we spent the next two hours talking, laughing and sharing our lives with a sweet couple who were also fellow “cool people” for the night.  Inside we could hear the art auction give way eventually to live music.  As the evening closed we parted ways with our friends and expressed thanks for the impromptu “double date,” the great surprise of the evening.  I limped to the car fighting the urge to take my shoes off and walk barefoot through the dark parking lot, but even though I am a little cooler now, I have not lost my senses…metropolitan midnight pavement and sidewalks are full of nasty uncool germs.

Yes, trying new things can be painful but it can also be exciting and rewarding!  Here’s to more “uncomfortable” dates, even if I do decide to wear my Naturalizer flats with a springy cushion innersole.