Category Archives: Transitional Couple

What love looks like on an ordinary day.

Love on an ordinary day. (Prepping candy canes for the garden.)

When I was a young girl, I bought into the idea that “real love” was demonstrated by the grandiose gestures of diamonds and carriage rides. According to the movies and cheap romance novels (that I sneaked because they were banned in our house), the man always had the perfect compliment. The woman never struggled with her self-esteem. And, oddly, children were never around to mess up a moment of good passion. I thought I knew what love looked like on an ordinary day, not just the extraordinary days. Then, I grew up, fell in love, and entered reality.

On Thanksgiving afternoon, my younger daughter and my husband began the annual holiday excavation.  Together they uncovered and slid and pushed and carried boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations from the attic. The center of the garage was soon filled with towers of boxes that would transform our home into a Christmas wonderland. It took a couple of hours to pull everything down. The garage was cold; the attic was colder. Neither complained. They were enjoying their time together, just the two of them, working as a team. That’s what love looks like on an ordinary day.

As the boxes were shuffled about, C and I worked in the kitchen. It would be our first traditional Thanksgiving feast in over a dozen years– so many years, A doesn’t remember ever having one. Many years ago, in response to “What would you like on Thanksgiving?” my husband replied, “I don’t want you in the kitchen. Let’s just do appetizers all day.” It was the same the following year, and the year after that. And, a new tradition was born. For years, we have gathered in the living room over appetizers, games and puzzles. This year though, we decided to change things up and we gathered over turkey and mashed potatoes at a formally set dining table. The girls wanted to do it,  “the way Grandma would have done it.” A change which gave me the gift of some time alone with C, my almost grown daughter, who will be starting her own traditions someday soon. It was time to talk about college and the future and relationships and…life. That’s what love looks like on an ordinary day.

Yesterday, my husband, quiet as a Christmas mouse, began the stringing of the lights. Every year, he strings lights up and down the front of the house. He strings them across the backyard fence and across the cottage roof-line. He decorates the small deck off the dining room and places lighted decorations along the paths and in the died-off garden so that when I look out the window, I “get a pretty view, too. Not just the neighbors.”   He drags his ladder to and fro without so much as a whimper of complaint. He does it because he knows I like the lights. And, as he unwound, tested, and hung the lights, the girls and I unpacked boxes and reminisced and laughed together. Together, we prepared for the Christmas holiday. That’s what love looks like on an ordinary day.

Last night, my husband and I were scheduled for some “date time” while the girls had  plans for some fun “sister time.” (I love that they’re not just sisters, but truly best friends!) Leftovers sat on the counter, self-service buffet style. My battery was running low, the muscles in my back ached, and my head was toying with a headache. I sipped on a strong cup of coffee with the intention of actually being present during our date. In the other room, the girls and my husband watched an episode of “Psych” together. The coffee wasn’t working, but given the amount of coffee I am known to consume in a day, this should have been no surprise. I asked my husband if he would mind if I took a 20 minute cat-nap on the couch before we headed out. No objections, and despite the TV noise, I went out faster than I can type “o-u-t.” When their show ended, I was awakened by the noise of plates being rinsed and loaded into the dishwasher. I sat up and tried to find my bearings. I felt more “out of it” than I had before my nap, and it was barely 7. My husband looked at me, love in his eyes and said, “Let’s get you upstairs. There’s always tomorrow.” He kissed me goodnight and told me to just take care of myself as he turned out the light and headed back down to hang-out with “his girls.” That’s what love looks like on an ordinary day.

Sure, carriages and diamonds are nice, but “ordinary love” makes any day extraordinary.

What does love look like on an ordinary day in your life?

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Costco’s bulk blessings.

Yesterday, my husband and I spent a lovely, teen-free morning photographing an old, brick house and perusing antiques. It was our time. However, and contrary to a previous post, Sorry, Costco. You’ve been bumped., we interrupted our date time to pick up a few things at Costco–‘cuz nothing screams romance to busy parents like Costco on a Saturday, right? 🙂 Together, we strategized: quick trip in and out, then a stop at Starbucks for a bit more “alone time” before heading home. I reconsidered our plan as we waited in line to simply turn into the parking lot. “Are we sure we want to do this?” I asked. (It had been my suggestion to begin with.) “We’re here,” he replied. (“Just say, NO” was my unspoken plead.)

As we entered the parking lot, my husband turned away from the flow of traffic and headed for the “North Forty.” We were in a parking space within moments. I opened my door against the hurricane force winds and hair whipped against my face. “We’re sure?” I asked once more, but he was already heading toward the door. As we walked through the parking lot, I noticed the throngs of people moving with us. “So, this is what an “Occupy Costco” movement looks like,” I thought. We weren’t at our “usual” Costco and I suddenly missed the familiarity of the store I could map by heart. I calculated the additional time required to navigate the foreign aisles. Mentally, I prepared myself to do battle with aggressive Saturday shoppers. There was only one cart left when we reached the entrance. Another shopper, a man, and I approached simultaneously. Graciously, he yielded to me. A quick parking space and a gracious fellow shopper? Perhaps, our side-trip wouldn’t be so bad after all. I relaxed my shoulders as I flashed my card to the gate-keeper.

Although busy, we were able to maneuver through the pallets of canned goods, the refrigerator packed with vegetables, and the hordes of people awaiting their samples of sausage, crackers, and clams with minimal effort. At one point, I couldn’t help but chuckle inside as I waited in the line of carts neatly positioned in front of the fresh meat cooler. With every step, I imagined myself as part of a flash mob waiting to break into a conga-line-bunny-hop. No bunny-hop, but no rude, aggressive shoppers either–just people, wanting to stock their cupboards, like me. There were couples sharing tastes of this or that sample, children exploring Christmas toys, friends chatting over books, and strangers helping each other load large items, all with patience and common courtesy. That was Costco, on a Saturday.

We headed to the check out lines ready for a long wait given the number of people shopping. Surprisingly, we were in line just long enough to unload our cart before the cashier scanned our first item. Then, I noticed the sign posted at the register announcing Costco’s holiday schedule;  the holiday shopping season opened yesterday with the start of their extended hours. I felt a chill run down my spine and a brief panic course through my veins. It was no longer a simple Saturday trip to Costco, we were in the midst of official holiday shopping (despite the absence of gifts in our basket.) But, here we were, finishing up at checkout and our trip had been so easy…so friendly…so effortless.

For a moment, I stood in awe of the experience. I had gone in to pick up a few things to round out the week’s menu, my eyes down, focused solely on getting back to our date. Instead, I discovered something new hidden in the aisles of the warehouse giant; bulk blessings. I was blessed to be among people, just like me, doing the best they can to balance the demands of life while standing in the conga-line. I was blessed to get in and out quickly despite the Saturday crowd. I was blessed by the humor of our check-out clerk and the smile on the gal’s face as we left the store. And, I was blessed to simply be sharing time with  my husband, even at a Costco.

As we made our way back to our car, traffic was still heavy in the parking lot. For the most part, people were patient as they entered and exited the maze of parking spaces. However, I noticed one woman who gripped the wheel tightly and didn’t yield to my husband as he crossed the lane of traffic. Impatiently, she swerved around him to reach a parking space. I knew the pinched look on her face. I suspect it was on my own when we first pulled in. Silently, I wished her bulk blessings before I went on my way; there was a pumpkin latte calling my name, and I had two more blessings waiting for me at home.

Where have you found hidden blessings in an ordinary day?