He loves his lawn, this man of mine – in the summertime the lawn is always a big priority with him. He often speaks wistfully of mowing during the summer for his grandpa, who had an old-fashioned push mower with a reel. Back in the day that was all they had and he fondly remembers pushing that thing back and forth, up and down, mowing the lawn.
Saturday morning is hunting time for me - I love to go to estate sales with either my mom or my dearest friend, sometimes with both of them. We poke through lost treasures and chat, get coffee and just generally enjoy looking at stuff. Late Friday night I realized I hadn't asked my friend to go to the sales in the morning and my mom was already busy. I turned my weary eyes to my equally weary husband and said, "Come with me tomorrow morning - we'll drive around with no kids." I think it was the "no kids" part he was hearing when he said, "Sure," and so we set the alarm clock for our morning journey.
When we were first married we spent most of our free time driving. We had really no money and so driving around exploring was something we did a lot of. That and early morning fishing, lots of quiet time baiting hooks, listening, chatting. We learned a lot during those times, mostly about each other. We laughed and talked and just enjoyed being us.
What is that saying? That life gets in the way...He is gone for work so much, we juggle kids schedules, me with two part-time jobs. We are always coming and going. Sometimes we barely get a chance to talk - we get home from work and jump right into the family maelstrom of pick-ups and drop-offs, dinnertime, homework, dogs barking, dishes in the sink. Falling into bed at the end of the day, each thinking of the plan for the next day – what time do I have to be up? Is tomorrow a workday, is my bag packed, do I have my stuff together? Who has play practice or art class or cheerleading; notes from school, lunch money; who is getting them to the bus?
This morning we set off to hunt for treasures, mapping out about a half-dozen sales for our drive. Almost immediately, 22 years vanished and suddenly we were right back where we started - talking, listening, laughing. We were goofy, we were honest, we were us. It was easy and natural and right. As we waited for one sale to open, he was standing outside the truck. I sipped my coffee and looked at him standing in the fresh powder of the falling snow - this man in his camouflage baseball hat and comfortable clothes. I felt that familiar zing in my chest when he flashed his little cockeyed smile at me...He is still so handsome and strong and I am so very lucky.
One of the last sales we were at was pretty small - we walked through the house, looked at everything, and went back out the door. Heading to the back of the yard, we marveled at how this little house was set up much like our first home, and into the garage we went.
My eyes swept the room and took in the saws on the wall, the neat box of tools, the garden implements, and the mower tucked under a shelf. Wait...a push mower? With a reel? My head spun to him, he already had his gaze locked on it. He had found his treasure, the mower like his granddad's! It was pretty old, but it was in really good shape and he eagerly said to the older man with the cash box, "It's perfect! My son is going to love pushing this mower around the yard like I used to for my grandpa!" There was some more excited chatter about hard work, grass clippings, and lessons for kids, money changed hands, and we marveled at finding this treasure when we weren't even looking for it.
There is a lot of life in 22 years of marriage. Peaks and valleys, ups and downs. You do have the good with the bad, just like they say. And if you are lucky enough, strong enough, stubborn enough, one day you look at each other and see that together you grew into something you didn't know you needed. Something you didn't know was possible and maybe you weren't even looking for it. You find yourself in a relationship that is as much a part of you as the breath in your lungs.
I cannot imagine my life without this man by my side. He is my treasure.