Just… ring… the doorbell…

I haven’t forgotten all my readers, I promise! The Mister and I are working on a few big projects around the house, and everything has unconsciously taken a backseat until those are done. But I’m here, I’m alive, and this morning, I was locked out of my house.

When I grabbed my lunchbox and headed out to the car (because my priorities are obviously in order), I briefly thought my arms should be heavier. Then the door clicked shut, and I knew.

You know that feeling when you suddenly become aware that something very bad has happened, and you know there is nothing you can do about it, but your brain is still in denial?

Yeah, that feeling.

When the door clicked shut behind me, my first words were, “No… no no no no no!”

Sure enough, my purse, with my house keys, car keys, cell phone, wallet and everything else essential to my day, was sitting at the kitchen table, three feet from the locked door I was standing behind.

I knew this day would come. I knew it. From the first day we moved into this house I knew the moment would arrive where I would stand in the garage and stare at my keys through the back window. And here it was at last. Had I prepared for it by putting a spare key somewhere? No. Of course not. That’s what a smart person would do. And you’re about to see I’m not exactly a smart person.

I wanted to avoid having the Mister come home from work to let me in, so my first impulse was to shake and rattle the back door to convince myself that I had, in fact, actually locked it behind me. (Yes, people, I do have a college degree.) Then I tried the front and back doors, hating myself for being a responsible home owner and locking the house up tight before I left.

Then I spent 10 minutes trying to open the back windows from the outside. (It cannot be done, which is both reassuring and incredibly frustrating at the same time.)

Then I walked a few houses down the main road to where some friends of ours live, not sure if they would even be home. All three cars were in the driveway, all signs pointed to yes, so I knocked on the door.

And I knocked. And knocked a few more times. And called their names and told them it was me. And briefly considered trying to set off one of their car alarms.

Nobody answered, so I walked back to my house and woke up another neighbor who was nice enough to let me call the Mister to come to my rescue. He came, he laughed, he went back to work. An hour after I left for work, I finally arrived at my office.

The first thing I did was send a message to my friends who didn’t answer the door.

“What good is it knowing people who live down the street if they won’t let you in when you lock yourself out of the house?” (half kidding. mostly kidding. I think.)

Response: “We didn’t hear you. You should have used the doorbell.”

THE DOORBELL!!

Why in the world did I not just ring the doorbell???????!!!!!

What in the world is wrong with me!??

I had actually, very briefly, noticed the doorbell when I first walked up, but I made the decision to knock instead. Maybe the brain cells that were awake thought that would be less rude, somehow? At any rate, I didn’t encode the information or go back to it when the knocking didn’t work.

Just. Ring. The doorbell.

Good grief.

 

Weeks ago, my husband nudged me awake.

“Babe, your alarm is going off.”

Wait… what…?

I sat up and listened. Hard.

“I don’t hear anything.”

He pushed me again.

“Trust me. Your alarm is going off.”

So I rolled to the edge of the bed and, sure enough, my iPad screen was on and a still, small sound was barely audible. I’d left the volume turned down to the lowest possible setting from the night before. I pushed the button and rolled back over.

“How can you hear that but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you?”

“What? I dunno.”

[flash forward a few days]

“Honey, I still don’t know how you could hear my alarm the other day, but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you. I was right next to it, and I couldn’t hear it ringing.”

“Well, I spend all day, every day, listening for small sound changes. Heart murmurs, valves closing, that sort of thing. So big sounds just get tuned out. You talk all the time. You’re a big sound. I don’t even hear those anymore.”

…….

…….

…….

Well, there you have it.

😉

It’s really not about you.

As the official start of “wedding season” approaches, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share a few thoughts I’ve been carrying around since the Mister and I tied the knot almost four years ago.

(Four years?? Wait a minute, that can’t be right…)

I saw this article on Facebook today and thought it hit the nail on the head. I wish we had registered for fun things we would actually use. I wish my dress had had a Scarlett O’Hara-esque skirt. I wish we had done photos together BEFORE the wedding, tradition or not, so that the Mister and I could have spent the majority of our day together instead of him spending it in a bathroom while I walked from place to place.

Those things are important, and I would suggest them to anyone I know who’s getting married, but there is one more important thing that still nags me to this day.

I don’t know who was there.

Wait… what? What do you mean? How could you not know who was there?

I mean, I was so wrapped up in May 19th being MY day – a day where the Mister and I could do whatever we wanted and ONLY what we wanted and ONLY with the people we thought mattered the most.

We were selfish. (And by “we” I mainly mean myself.) Looking back I can see that now, and it is definitely my biggest regret.

We have all kinds of pictures with our family and our wedding party, but we don’t have any photos with our guests. Those people who weren’t chosen to stand up with us, but who made the trip to see us anyway – sometimes from 12+ hours away.

Three groups still haunt me today.

An old high school friend and her sister that I hadn’t seen in more than six years came. I didn’t expect them to care that much, but they came all the way from Knoxville to see me get married. They pulled me aside and congratulated me and probably wanted a picture, but I greeted them quickly and moved on. I haven’t seen them since and don’t expect to ever see them again. I could have gotten a picture.

A group of the Mister’s friends from the university judging team where there too. They stood in a huddle in the lobby for most of the reception, waiting to catch us for a photo. I was so busy hurrying back and forth, checking off the list of must-do things, that I didn’t even realize that’s what they wanted. We have pictures of the whole group at other weddings, but not at ours. I had other things to do.

Third, and worst, I feel, were an aunt and uncle who traveled from out-of-state to be there. I saw them waiting in the hall as we left for photos and, to be honest, I didn’t recognize them at first. We don’t see that branch of the family much, so I didn’t know who they were until I had passed by. I waved when they did, but I didn’t stop. I figured they would wait until we returned. After all, it was all about us.

I didn’t know they had started their 12+ hour drive in the middle of the night, arrived just in time for the ceremony and were leaving as soon as I passed them to head home. They weren’t there when we came back from taking photos. I haven’t seen them since. All I can think about when that moment passes through my mind is that they made a mind-numbing 12-hour drive through the mountains, and I didn’t even stop to acknowledge them. I don’t know that that horrible feeling will ever go away.

So I say all of that to say this to all the brides and grooms and hopefuls out there: your wedding day is not really about you.

Let me say that again.

Your wedding day is not really about you.

Sure, it’s the day you start a new life joined to your husband or wife, and it’s a huge commitment. You should put effort into making the festivities reflect who you are and who your spouse is and who you will be together. But really, when it comes down to it, you will be just as married at the end of the day as you would have been if you’d gone to the county courthouse in your pajamas.

What it’s really about is the people who love you and who have made an effort to be there and witness such a happy occasion in your life. It’s about those people who have had your wedding invitation on the refrigerator for months; those people who spent weeks making handmade gifts that you’ll probably never use, but that you appreciate anyway; it’s about the people who fill all those delicate matchstick chairs and sit in the uncomfortable sunshine to see your smiling face and hear your “I do’s.”

Because without them, you would be standing in an empty room (probably not even decorated, since I’m sure they helped with that too).

So don’t get wrapped up in the check list. Stop to take pictures with the people who are there. Make them part of the memory and let them share in your joy. They want pictures to remember the day you got married just as much as you do. Don’t take that away from them.

Thank them, not just for coming but for being a presence in your lives. Even if you don’t know all the guests from your spouse’s side of the hall – take pictures with them too. They might not be important to you, but you are important to them or else they wouldn’t be there.

If you look through your guestbook years down the road and didn’t even know most of those people were there, you did something wrong.

But if the cake cutting was a little off schedule, and maybe you didn’t throw the garter or blow the bubbles, but you have an album full of photos with the people who loved you most on the happiest day of your life, that is something you won’t ever regret.

Two Years and Counting

Well, yesterday officially makes two years that the Mister and I have been married. Part of me can’t believe it’s been that long already and part of me feels like it’s been longer than that. Even in two years I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually been called “Mrs. Chesnut,” and even though I introduce myself as a Chesnut every day, the title still catches me off guard every time. The first time was an insurance person who called to give me a quote I had asked for, and when he asked for Mrs. Chesnut I told him he had the wrong number. (I caught my mistake and we both laughed, but still.)

We’re definitely not where we thought we would be two years in, but hey – at least we got a tropical island anniversary one way or another.

We went to dinner at a place called Spice Mill out on the tip of the island’s peninsula and enjoyed a beautiful view of Nevis as the clouds turned pink overhead. The service was good, the food was impressive and the drive back under a thousand stars was beautiful. A very good night indeed.

I know that in the grand scheme of things two years isn’t much to brag about – and I pray we are blessed with many, many more – but at the same time, I also know a handful of young couples who married shortly after we did and are already divorced. It blows my mind to think it can happen that fast. How do you choose to marry someone and dedicate the rest of your life to him/her, and then four months later suddenly decide you made a mistake? What kind of unrealistic expectations do you have to have for a marriage to get three months in and decide it’s not as wonderful as you thought it would be? I have no idea. I believe that divorce is hated by God and only allowable in instances of unfaithfulness, so the Mister and I already know that is never an option. I’m stuck with him and he’s stuck with me, no matter how many times he may leave his stinky gym clothes in the bathroom floor. (And we did not live together before our wedding either, so we didn’t completely know about all the other one’s household habits beforehand.)

I also believe that love changes over time. There’s the initial fluttery feeling and the I-need-to-be-with-you-all-the-time feeling, but that goes away after a while and is (or should be) replaced by something more mellow – something that doesn’t have to be together every second and allows for two individual lives, but still feels a deep, glowing pride when you overhear someone say that your husband is the best man they’ve ever met. A “he’s mine” sort of feeling that has gotten over being possessive and clingy and crazy. Sometimes the transition from the first form to the second can cause doubts and make you wonder if you’re still even in love at all, but it’s navigating that transition that I think can make or break so many young relationships. Thankfully we got through ours pretty well and are moving on into a more adult phase of our marriage.

We are definitely through the “honeymoon period” and no longer consider ourselves to be newlyweds. I know this because we no longer try to conceal farts, and sometimes we’re just trying to gross each other out. Yeah. Definitely not newlyweds anymore.

We don’t fight, though. We get irritated and frustrated with each other over little things, but I think I can count on less than one hand the number of times I would actually define as a “fight.” I don’t know exactly why that is; it’s not like we have any secret formulas or anything. I guess we just work together well. (Now that’s not to say we won’t ever fight in the future – I’m sure we will. But up to this point it’s been fairly smooth sailing.) I know couples though that fight almost constantly. I know wives that put their husbands down, in public, in front of his friends, purely to let everyone in the room know that she is right and smart and her husband is wrong and stupid. It makes my skin crawl every time it happens and I have to force myself not to go over and give the beaten husband a hug. Oftentimes – at least in the situation I’m thinking of – he didn’t even do or say anything to warrant such a reaction. That’s just the way his wife is. I can’t imagine living that way, and I’m glad the Mister is such a patient personality. (Although keep in mind that patient personalities tend to explode behind closed doors, and the results can be pretty scary. The Mister knocked a clock off the kitchen wall one time with how hard he slammed our front door.)

I guess I say all that to say this —

To all you newlywed, almost-wed and wishing-you-hadn’t-wed couples out there, whether I know you personally or not:

Be excited about your wedding, your marriage and the rest of your lives together – dream big dreams and make big plans – but also realize there will be stinky clothes in the bathroom floor. There will be dishes piling up in the sink; there will be slammed doors and hasty words and days when you wonder if you made the right choice. There will come a time when you look back on the sparkle and butterflies of your dating days and wonder if there’s something wrong with your marriage because that is gone. But don’t let that moment of doubt ruin a relationship that God intends to last for the rest of your lives. You chose the person you are with for a reason, and for better or for worse the two of you have to figure out how to get through whatever obstacles may come. Whether you have to spend a night apart or even seek professional counseling, do what you have to do to make sure that one day doesn’t determine the path of the rest of your lives. Love takes work. It isn’t always sparkle and giggles and romance – as the Mister says, “it’s not all sunshine and daisies” – but it is a choice you make when you wake up every morning. Some days that choice will be harder to make than on other days, but you have to keep making it. Choose your love and love your choice. All my best wishes for you always.

-the Mrs.

wedding picture

wedding picture

bridal portrait

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Be Our Guest (be our guest… Put our service to the test…)

A blogger I follow, Sarah, is hosting “Wedding Week” at Sarah’s Brand New Chapter in honor of her first anniversary, and I am proud to be one of her guest bloggers! Head on over and see my guest post and check out some of her other wedding week entries. 🙂

They told me it would happen…

This week’s Monday post was going to be about our experience with buying an island car and driving for the first time, but that’s going to have to wait for another day because last night, as we were drifting off to sleep, I was suddenly slapped in the face with another blog topic.

 

The Mister: “Are you ok?”

Me: “My nose feels funny.”

The Mister: “Well does it feel sad?”

*moment of silence while I process this*

Me: “What?”

The Mister: “You said it feels funny. Does it feel sad?”

Me: “Did you really just ask that?”

 

My first thought: “OH MY GOODNESS I HAVE MARRIED MY FATHER!”

My second thought: “This has to be a blog post.”

 

People told me it would happen – that girls look for husbands that remind them of their fathers. To everyone’s credit, I had been warned.

Now, just to clarify, I have been blessed with a wonderful father and am a hopeless daddy’s girl in most scenarios. I always wanted to find a man that was about 40% my dad and 60% my grandfather, and I think I did. The Mister is attentive, kind, affectionate, hardworking, resourceful, intelligent and I can totally see him helping me up and down the stairs after two knee replacements when I’m older.

And while the Mister has always made me laugh, it’s only in the last few months that his sense of humor has become drier and alarmingly more like my dad’s somewhat warped sense of the hilarious. My brother and I grew up telling our dad on a probably daily basis, “Daddy, that’s not as funny as you think it is,” and now I find myself mentally telling my husband the same thing. I had hoped the Mister would not scar our children for life by telling them that black olives are monkey eyes and bananas are moldy spider legs, but that may still be in my future (as well as in my past. . .  *shudder*).

Of course, I turned out alright I guess, despite my dad’s strange jokes, dry sarcasm and affinity for awkward comparisons, so I suppose the Mister turning out the same way wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

. . . Until our son stands up in the middle of a restaurant one day after asking what his dad’s eggs-over-easy are and yells, “THAT’S NOT BUZZARD PUS!” for the whole world to hear. Maybe then he’ll learn. . . just like my daddy did.  🙂

Part 2…

I’m not going to post a link every time he updates (at least I’m not planning to at this point), but because of the interest I wanted to let you all know that this blogger is creating additional parts for his original post, which I linked to yesterday. Follow him on wordpress or scroll to the bottom of his blog and follow him via email if you’re interested in his additional thoughts in the coming weeks. 🙂

How I Know My Wife Married the Wrong Person (Part 2).