Six Years

Six years ago today, Kevin and I woke up to realize that we had already missed our requested shuttle time to the airport. A quick call to the hotel desk and a scramble to get ready, and we arrived at the airport to hear our names being called for final boarding to our Hawaii honeymoon. We raced to our gate and, in front of the stares of the many on-time passengers, squeezed into the final two seats, several rows apart.

It was not, perhaps, the most auspicious start to Day 1 of our new life.

This weekend, we went camping. Kevin went in extra early on Friday so that he could come home early and we could get on the road a bit before rush hour. But I wasn't feeling great Friday morning, and I wasn't ready to leave by the afternoon. So we left at the peak of rush hour. We forgot the camera. And the child-carrier. Traffic was horrible. For only the third time in my life, I was car-sick and we had to pull over twice. . .once a little late. Half-way, after over an hour in what should have been a roughly one-hour drive, we realized we'd barely make it to our campground before dark and decided we should stop for dinner.

We arrived at dusk and found an empty site right in the middle of the row of 20 close-spaced tent sites. Carolyn was ecstatic to have (almost) free run of the surrounding area, and we set up camp without further incident. We didn't realize we'd left the camp pillows in the car until we were all settled in for the night, and Kevin didn't want to risk waking Carolyn (who slept like she was born for camping, thankfully) to get them. So Kevin didn't sleep well at all.

The next morning, Carolyn and I discovered the gnats were so plentiful that we took refuge in the car to eat our yogurt. We packed up camp amid swatting the nuisances away from our faces and picking them out of our eyes, not managing to leave the campground until after 10am.

There was an accident on a bridge as we neared our planned hiking destination, and traffic was at a standstill for quite some time. When we got there, we discovered they didn't allow picnic fires--and we were still carrying around the raw meat we had intended to grill the night before. So we drove back into the bridge traffic to a nearby campground to have lunch, only to be frustrated there as well. One more stop to get more ice for the cooler, and we returned to a cold lunch at Harper's Ferry.

Only, by the time we finished lunch, I was hot and exhausted. We opted to forego hiking altogether and mill about the tourist town for a bit. We left just as it started pouring rain. Not ready for setting up camp and cooking dinner in a downpour, we headed home, stopping at a state park to belatedly grill our camp dinner. We scrambled for the pavilion and started a fire just in time for a brief storm that damped--but didn't quench--our fire.

We grilled dinner in-between storms, while Carolyn covered herself in mud from head to toe. Another cold rain and strong wind kicked up before we could get her cleaned up, and we completed a half-hearted cleaning in the front seat of the car. Thankfully, the drive home was without further incident.

Life is sometimes like that, and it's good to have a traveling companion who helps you cope cheerfully. Among the many frustrations, there are always silver linings: Carolyn's joy at running free in the great outdoors, a beautiful country, time with my two favorite people, our first big mud puddle. I'd hate to be so wrapped up in misery that I miss those moments.

Someone asked recently if Kevin and I didn't bicker some over all the remodeling--or, rather, if I didn't get impatient wanting things done more quickly than he sometimes does them. In fact, we were warned at the beginning of this project that remodeling could take a toll on a marriage. I think I smiled before being enjoined to seriousness. As our friend said, Kevin is at work all day and comes home ready to unwind. It is easy for me, at home in the remodeling chaos, to welcome him home with a to-do list. But I have purposed to take the warning to heart and to remember, in all circumstances, that my husband is more important to me than any task or situation, be it a finished closet or an smoothly-orchestrated get-away.

If unexpected difficulties and delays are going to crop up (and, of course, they are), I am glad I get to face them at the side of this man. Kevin is the calm and steady anchor to my sometimes well-tossed raft, and I am so thankful for these six years of blessed marriage.