Love Like You Mean It. That was the name of the marriage conference at our church last Saturday. I decided I was going to go to the conference even if Brett couldn’t go. He never knows what time he’s going to get home from work so it was questionable if he would get home in time to go with me. I’m not much of a morning person and we needed to leave by 7:00. So I decided to save time and skip the whole wash my hair/dry my hair routine. I just took a bath and quickly straightened my hair. Brett came in the door at 6:30, had a quick shower, and we left by 7:00.
As I was pulling out of the driveway I realized I forgot to put my makeup on. Oh well. At least Brett is with me and we’re actually going to be on time. A couple of photographers were at the conference to take pictures of all the happy couples. Oh no! Pictures. And I didn’t wash my hair! And I forgot to put on my makeup! And Brett hasn’t had any sleep. One of the photographers asked us to pose in front of the backdrop. I couldn’t tell this gal no because she’s our daughter. Yep. Taylor was one of the photographers for the conference. And I forgot they would be taking pictures? What’s wrong with my brain? or do I even have one anymore? And before I forget……photo credit for the picture above goes to our Taylor.
I thought I would have to spend the morning lovingly placing my elbow in Brett’s rib cage to keep him awake. But the speakers were interesting and they did a great job keeping Brett awake. My elbow didn’t touch his rib cage even one time. During intermission prizes were given away. They were giving away gift cards for dinner and a movie. I could go for dinner and a movie. Draw our name! Draw our name! Nope. We didn’t win. And we didn’t win the box of chocolates or the grand prize either. But I felt like I had won the grand prize because my husband gave up sleep just to be with me.
The conference ended with a vow renewal ceremony. Brett and I held hands, looked into each others eyes, and said our vows. The moment only happened because he chose me over sleep. He loves like he means it. We stopped for lunch on the way home. I sat and looked into his beautiful, tired eyes as we ate lunch. We didn’t talk about the conference. We didn’t talk much at all. We just ate. Sometimes love is just being silent when Brett hasn’t slept in the last 24 hours.
The day after the conference wasn’t a magical day filled with love. Part of the problem was that one of our two turtles had a canker sore that was the size of the Grand Canyon. She was angry, irritable, and out of control. If I had been in her shoes I would’ve been angry, irritable, and out of control too. That thing was huge. The medicine we put on it didn’t help. By evening I was exhausted, irritable, and I snapped. I snapped at my man who gave up sleep for me and said beautiful vows to me only a day ago. I snapped at him while he was chopping up vegetables to put in the slow cooker so that supper would be ready the next night when we got home from Easter Seals.
Life felt good when we were at the marriage conference. And then we went home. Parenting has a way of becoming top priority. But special needs parenting has a way of consuming your life. Everything feels like it’s urgent. That canker sore the size of the Grand Canyon was urgent. Trying to plan our girls futures is time-consuming. Should we do the parent-child interaction therapy that the speech therapists think would be good for our family? Should we look into that communication disorder classroom that we heard about? or should we enroll the girls in the other school we’ve heard about? We really need an advocate to help us figure this all out. Where do we find one? Teaching the girls to ask nicely instead of demanding is an all day every day task. I need to schedule a hair cut for our gal who keeps twisting, pulling, and damaging her hair. Our two older girls need us as much as our two turtles need us. We need to go buy a new oven and the washer isn’t acting right. I need to sit down and pay the bills. And for some reason our family wants to eat every single day. My list of things to do and things to think about never ends. Sometimes I reach a point when I just snap. And unfortunately I snapped a lot this week.
It’s been one of those weeks where we just thank God that we survived it and we survived it together. Maybe this week I’ll handle life a little better than I handled it last week. Maybe this week I won’t snap at my handsome man. But even if I do snap I know that he will always be here for me. And he knows that I will always be here for him. We’ll love when it’s easy to love and we’ll love when it’s hard to love. Because that’s the promise we made to each other 25 years ago.