Emotional Stuffing

Our daughter got married on September 18 in Ireland. We had an entourage of family coming from the U.S. of fourteen people. We made a week of it, traveling to the West Coast of Ireland and seeing the sights. We were all thrilled to see our daughter and her soon to be husband and be able to have a family get-together before the wedding. Now that they’re married and I’m back home with life returning to normal, I’ve had time to digest the events of those ten days together.

I’ve noticed that I’m unusually emotional. Now that my days are my own, I am experiencing a flood of chaotic feeling, as if I’d been holding my breath for those ten days. Vivid fragments of moments shared pop into my mind’s eye unbidden: a pub in Clifden; my ninety-three year old mother-in-law, sitting on the lap of a band member singing along with them. Bicycling on the island of Inishbofin, my son-in-law takes a tumble over the handle bars, thereafter referred to as Bangers and Crash. My brother-in-law spontaneously acting as toastmaster at dinner, an evening of laughter and tears. Watching the seals in Howth. The bells of the church ringing, my daughters walking down the aisle. My husband walking our daughter down the aisle, the look on her intended’s face–priceless. My son singing at the wedding. All of this and more, buzzing in my mind.

Typical of me to hold my breath in times of high emotion. Maybe I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop crying if I start, or maybe I’m afraid of spittle arcing across the table, or even sneaky flatulence. I don’t know. I was raised in an environment where we let it fly unless it was something held dear, which we then held close and private. Its how I’m wired, but I have to admit I envy our children’s ability to let fly the ridiculous as well as the dear. I’m a proud mama.

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Staying Married

My daughter is getting married on the 18th of this month. Amid the flurry of activity surrounding the wedding, I’ve been thinking about what pearl of wisdom to pass onto her. Wedding plans tend to override the more weighty issue of what makes a good marriage; how does a couple actually stay married? This question brought to mind an evening I spent with my husband a few years ago.

We had tickets to a U of M hockey game. We arrived early to enjoy dinner before the game at one of the local bars near the stadium. My husband had the quirky idea that we play-act meeting each other for the first time. And since the atmosphere of the bar was filled with the vibrant energy of college kids, it put me in the mood.

As we bellied up to the bar, my husband immediately went into character; introducing himself, asking my name. (weird to say my maiden name!) I was astounded by his complete transformation, during the hour at the bar, he never broke character. He asked about my family, where I grew up, what brought me to Minneapolis. He then asked why after going to art school, had I become a writer. He found it all fascinating. He asked questions about my writing, what was I currently working on and what led me to write on that particular subject. I was entranced. He was charming and attentive, he never took his eyes off of me. I felt devoured. I wanted to shout, “Who are you and what have you done with my husband?”

This experience taught me something. Over the years we had become comfortable with each other – which is good in a familial manner, but comfort can easily lead to laziness. Marriage takes effort. A night out where you each offer your undivided attention goes a long way.This is the pearl.