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.
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.
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.