Such a thing as too much togetherness
Please accept my apologies for missing my deadline last week. In addition to being snowed-in, my home computer was having issues. Which means I did what I would’ve previously considered impossible: I survived Storma-Palooza 2011 without being online. My only fix came in the form of quick, outrageously expensive Internet checks on my iPhone.
Oh how I dread the arrival of that cell phone bill.
It was five long, frozen days cooped up with four males suffering from cabin fever. By Thursday, we had to get out of the house, so we ignored the weatherman’s warnings to stay home, bundled up the young ‘ uns and went out for some dinner and shopping.
When we got home, my two oldest sons totally wiped out on the icy driveway. Zach fell flat on his face and Eli, flat on his back. Thankfully, nothing was broken or bleeding and no one required a trip to the ER.
I should’ve seen their falls as a warning to be cautious the following day, but no. I awoke in the mood to clean, and began by taking the dog’s bedding outside while my coffee brewed. A quick glance out the window showed an ice-free path. But the moment my foot hit the staircase leading to the back yard, I slipped and tumbled down six ice-covered brick stairs, landing in the slushy mud at the bottom.
The first thing I thought was, “ That hurt!” The second thought was, “ I don’t care if I broke something, I will haul myself back up these steps because I can’t let anyone see me lying here in my nightshirt!” With bed-head and morning breath to boot. So, bleeding and bruised, I dragged myself back inside and nursed my wounds.
I saw the doctor that afternoon, and he said I was lucky I didn’t have a concussion like the patient before me, who’d fallen, too. We Southerners clearly aren’t cut out for navigating our way through arctic conditions.
Over a week later, I’m still limping around, and the shady parts of my yard still showcase little piles of dirty snow and ice. Whoever heard of the frozen stuff lingering that long in the metro area? I heard Jay Leno comment that our storm sparked a new TV show: Sarah Palin’s Atlanta.
I had a few names for it, too. The Week of Homeschooling in Our Jammies, or the story of The Mommy Grinch That Stole the Snow Days. It was also The Week That Family Togetherness Became a Little Too Much, also known as The Very Cold Day Mom Sent Dad Out in the Ice to Fetch Her Zoloft Refill. And last, but certainly not least, it was The Week I Celebrated My 20th Anniversary.
Yep. I have been married for 20 whole years now. Insane, isn’t it? I don’t feel like Donnie and I are old enough to have been married for 20 years. But I guess we are old enough.
I definitely see it when I look at our wedding video. Donnie looks like a 12-year-old I robbed from the cradle, all lean and dashing in his black tuxedo. My complexion is flawless, like a smooth, perfect peach and I actually have a waistline in my lacy wedding dress. When my kids watch the video, the first thing they notice is that dad still had all his hair. And when they hear me speak, they’re like, “ Whose voice is that?” because I sound like a silly little teenager.
Now, after 20 years of yelling at my husband and kids, my voice is deep and gravely, not unlike someone who regularly smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. I’ve never smoked, so it must have been the yelling. Even I can barely believe that young, fresh voice once belonged to me.
But the slightly wrinkled, slightly balding, deep-voiced, overweight couple that we are now had a great time celebrating our 20th. My sister watched the kids and we went out for Chinese food. Before the Mongolian beef arrived, Donnie presented me with a gorgeous charm bracelet featuring a little heart with a teensy key dangling from it. It was a totally unexpected gift that truly delighted me.
It wasn’t an extravagant celebration, but after a whole week together, we didn’t need much. You’d think the last thing we’d have wanted was more togetherness, but that’s not the case. We talked about how we’d love to return to Scotland for our 25th anniversary, and imagined what life might be like when we’re celebrating our marriage another twenty years from now.
This week proved that togetherness can be a blessing or a curse. I’m thankful that we had a special time to reaffirm that staying together is a promise we intend to keep — for better or for worse.