Ah, the first year of marriage. The uncertainty, the excitement. Learning how to love each other, learning how to fight clean, learning how to sleep next to someone who snores or steals all the blankets at night. This new phase of life is full of challenges. Not only are you learning your new spouse, but you’re also learning a lot about yourself. Though beautiful, it can be stressful and downright overwhelming.
Now, imagine coming home from your honeymoon to a house full of children. Literally, a child in every bedroom, looking to you, their new parent, to guide them on how to navigate this brand new phase in their life. Take all the uncertainty of a new marriage, add all the responsibility of new parenthood, and what do you get? An anxiety disorder.
But in addition to exploring new heights of stress in your life, if this is your new reality, you’ve just tapped into a greater capacity for joy!
My first attempt at gardening was when I was about nine-years-old. (Correct me if I’m wrong, Mom.) Insprired by my grandfather, I remember planting corn and tomatoes but what grew was mostly weeds. And boy, were they hearty! I believe we did harvest a few vegetables that year, but I never again put my hand to the plow. However, a husband changes everything.
Mr. Frank had been planning our garden from the moment we moved into our home on Frank Corner. He knew right where he wanted it, close to the property line on the far side of the creek. Among our many trees, it’s the spot that gets full morning sun, he explained. We talked of beans and peas, carrots and zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers all winter long. Many times he discussed about the rototiller he would use, how the children would need to weed and water the plot, snapping beans and canning. And I, all adoring eyes, would hang on his every word and hope that I could muster up the proper enthusiasm when the time came.
My front sidewalk is not centered with my front porch. It’s off to the left. The door is off to the right. There’s a white column in-between. Because of this, and because the porch is shallow, and because we have to walk the entire length of the porch to get to the path that runs next to the house and leads down the hill to the garage, it’s an awkward place for patio furniture. A porch swing is impossible and even a glider and a table would be a hindrance to get around. The sidewalk is not even centered with the double window; no symmetry whatsoever. And I’m thankful.
I was pointing all this out to my husband last week and at first he was a little annoyed with my observation. His immediate solution was to burn the house down. I agreed. After all, I could see no answer for this issue that I had never realized we had until that day. And once I saw it, I couldn’t un-see it.
I love the beach. There’s nothing better than the sand and the surf. Like everyone who has ever taken out a personal ad, I love long walks on the shore, letting the cool ocean water rush over my feet, waves crashing almost at my knees.
Though we were in Florida for five days last week, we had only one day to be at the beach on the Atlantic coast. And we were so excited to go. Having spent all winter inside in Indiana, we were all sickly pale and desperate to soak up some Vitamin D. Mindful of our ghostly whiteness, we bought a sunscreen that was SPF 50 but disregarded the good (almost prophetic) advice of a seasoned Florida resident as we left the house: “Don’t stay out there all day!”
But how could we not? We had spent two days in the car, left behind our family and neighbors to endure the freak April snow without us, bought new swimsuits and flip-flops. A day at the beach was our destiny.