Hitting the Wall


Provision

We hit the wall.  In August.  No disrespect intended our double date companions.  They are lovely people. Kathleen is an effervescent conversationalist and Dr. Lee is still sporting a soul patch in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve which makes him almost the most interesting man in the world.

But the August Tired Date almost didn’t happen.

We were, aptly, tired.

Of mostly everything.

And maybe even each other.  A little.  But you should read on.

In the two months leading up to August, the majority of Aly’s time was spent tending the apron strings between her and our firstborn Grace Ann who would matriculate to the University of South Carolina on the 17th.  While my wife and daughter stuck to their schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday and every other Sunday trips to Target, I preoccupied myself with a wholehearted largess of malaise. Even though Grace Ann would be relocating to a dorm room just five miles from our home as the crow, or stork, flies, the move represented something as yet un-experienced in our lives: one of our children would succinctly and intentionally place both feet beyond our threshold into a world largely of her own choice.

That’s heavy.

And normal.

For weeks our ears stayed attuned to the whispering psyche that said, among other things, “she’s leaving the nest, she will be alright, you are getting old, and your checking account is overdrawn again.”  I hate how that voice mixes the metaphysical with the mundane.

Although not by design, Aly and I went through a relational desert of sorts this summer.  She headed for the hills to deal with her adjustment in solitude, and I went looking for her in the usual oasis.  Neither was where we wanted the other to be.  Sucked.

We became so preoccupied with our circumstance we almost forgot our vow, not to this blogging experiment, but to the one at our wedding; specifically, the one that said, “will you love, honor and cherish one another…when your kids grow up and leave the nest and you cry a lot because you aren’t where you thought you’d be but you love where you are…will you love, honor and cherish one another… because your kids are magnificent and your marriage survives and your faith in God and each other grows through circumstance that you cannot fathom from the perch on this tender wedding altar…will you?”

And then some friends called with a life raft of fellowship they had no idea we needed, which is not an overstatement for the sake of language.  If a metaphor could be applied to our marriage for most of the summer, it would be a sailing one, with the apt descriptor called “dead calm.”  There was no great trauma in our lives’, we were still afloat, even with good provisions on board.  But most days all we had energy for was sitting still.  Not much energy for each other. Dead Calm.

But that’s normal too.

And the trick is staying on board until the winds pick up and you sail again.

One daughter lives in a college dorm now.  A son is learning to drive.  Another daughter looks like a professional ballerina.  They will always be our kids, but they won’t be kids forever.


Their toys are much more expensive now.

And of the many things I hope for their future, one of the most profound dreams I have for them is their net worth in friendships.  For twenty-three years our marriage, like the August Tired Date, has been enriched by friends.

I couldn’t imagine it any other way.  So Thanks, all of y’all.  You know who you are.

And God said, “That is good.”

Double Double

 

First, let me apologize for my tardiness…I am behind by two dates-July and August.  The following is a recollection of both dates.

I’ve heard of a “Triple/ Double” or a “Double/Double” but I couldn’t remember what sport used it as a stat, or exactly to what the term referred.  When I called Kevin to ask him he couldn’t believe I had forgotten the term, especially given all the Michael Jordan NBA we watched in the nineties.


Mr. Double Double

But, I digress….the Double Double I am referring to is TWO months of DOUBLE dates!  Yes it is true.  It seems July and August were prime double date months and, I have to say, we had so much fun!

Our July date with Chris and Lisa has already been recorded by Kevin in his post “Plural Dating .”  I echo his sentiments.  Being able to share the journey of parenthood, marriage, vocation and the “middle” years with others is priceless and NEEDED.  Our date with the Austins in July was spontaneous and full of laughter.


After Dinner, Before the Show…laughed the whole time. Chris cried in the movie.

At times, I felt like I was a teenager again with the boys “cutting up” and the girls rolling our eyes.  Thank goodness the boys didn’t try to take us “parking”. (Editorial comment:  I have no idea to what the writer refers.)

 

Our second double was in August.  Again, it was spontaneously arranged.  Our busy friends the Lees had a rare Friday night with no kids and no “gigs” (that is the artist’s term for job).


Dr. Lee dreams of an Island Far Away

With marching band, dance performances and weddings fast approaching we had to jump at our chance to sup with Kathleen and Chris.  Our neighborhood hang-out Tombo’s was selected for dinner and our favorite waitress Maggie was at the helm.  She knows us well and is also a top-drawer baker/dessert maker.  As with Chris and Lisa, the conversation and camaraderie was abundant.  As conversations of raising children in the present flowed into topics about our future, the food, the wine – and of course Maggie’s desserts – permeated the mood and solidified the sensation that truly, all is well.

When the chemistry is right in a double date you have the perfect blend of conversation, laughter, vulnerability and true friendship.  You know how sometimes when you go on a double date and one of each of the couple are closer friends than the attending spouses?  Well, we had none of that, because we were with friends who are not afraid to be themselves, and allow us the same freedom.  Vulnerability creates authenticity, and these two dates were full of just that:  real, live, good times.

No matter what’s to come, the good and the bad, these friendships bonded through “double dates” help sustain our lives as individuals and couples.  We see that “we are all in this together.”  Just as “no man is an island”, so too, no couple is an island existing separate from the world around us.  Community, friendship, and fun are doubled when you double date.