The other night the girls were finishing their dinner and I was starting to clean up that unavoidable mess that comes with preparing a meal no matter how easy or quick it should be. Chris was heading out the door to church for a little bit and we were all joking and giggling about something. (Okay, Chris probably wasn’t giggling, he’s definitely not a giggler, but whatever.) In a brief lull in conversation, I thought well isn’t this just too perfect? It felt slightly like a Hallmark moment and not real life. I can’t even tell you what we were talking about, but whatever everyday thing it was, it felt magical in that moment. It was like love had exploded in the kitchen and was dripping from the ceiling, all gooey and warm and fuzzy inside.
After Chris left, Ellie said, “I want to be you when I grow up, Mommy.”
And my first thought was she felt it too! The gooey love oozing from the ceiling, she got it too!
I smiled and asked her what she meant. She said when she grows up, she wants to marry Daddy and be me. That made me laugh and we talked about how she can grow up and marry someone as great as her daddy, but that he’s mine and I’m not giving him to her.
She thought that was hilarious. Later in life when I remind her of this conversation, I’m sure she will have other emotions, but for now, it made her happy.
For the second year in a row, we’ve put our Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving. I have mixed emotions about this, but I really like doing it too. So last night I asked Chris to pull out the lights and figure out which ones worked so we could decorate the tree.
In our house at Christmas, Chris works in the manual labor section and I’m in the make-it-pretty department. He carries the boxes up from the basement. I unpack them. He sets up the Christmas tree. I decorate it. He strings the lights on the house. I stand on the sidewalk and yell placement directions.
It works well for us.
But last night! Last night Chris Graham got a wild hare up his butt and when I wasn’t paying attention, he PUT THE LIGHTS ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE. It was horrible. There were big chunks of the tree that didn’t have any lights. The top six inches were completely dark. And there was no rhyme or reason to his method. He put one strand on, from top to bottom, and then decided to put another one on and just layered them on top of each other. I imagine this is how a seven year old boy high on sugar and caffeine would put lights on a tree.
When I realized what he had done and that he had basically ruined Christmas, I was, let’s say, annoyed. So I began to untangle the lights from the tree and let everyone in the house know how upset I was during the whole untangling debacle.
It took a while, both the bitching and the light removal.
Near the end, Ellie said, “Are you guys breaking up?”
Which caught me off guard because we don’t really say people “broke up” around here and so thank you, schoolmates, for teaching her vocabulary she doesn’t really need to know at six. It also caught me off guard because, what? No we’re not breaking up because your dad put the Christmas lights on wrong. I mean, it is a pretty horrible offense and I’m having trouble getting over it, but it’s not divorce-worthy.
What makes the question even more ridiculous is the whole time I was telling Chris about proper light application and how to not ruin Christmas, he was sitting in a chair playing on his phone barely listening to me. I’m actually not even sure he knew I was talking to him.
And that’s why we’re not getting divorced. Because he learned early on in our marriage that there’s really no stopping me so he might as well just let me run out of steam. I’ll eventually run myself ragged and then we can all get back to normal.
While our “normal” isn’t warm, gooey love dripping from the ceiling, it happens just often enough that it makes the unamerican act of not knowing how to decorate the Christmas tree forgivable and slightly more manageable.
Obviously, I’m not yet over the Christmas lights fiasco–I’m planning February to work through that anger–but I am so thankful for the guy I’m married to in spite of his obvious flaws. I didn’t write a special happy birthday post to him this year and our nine year anniversary in October came and went without much fanfare, but I am hyper-aware of how great he makes my life. This year has been full of changes and unknowns and Chris Graham has been nothing but supportive and trusting. He’s the first one to say yes to any crazy or slightly unsafe idea I have. He is dependable and hard-working and solid and really needs a haircut, but I still think he’s super hot. There’s no one else I’d rather have ruin the holidays than that guy.
Marriage is a balancing act. A delicate walk between love and madness that I am so thankful I get to do with Chris.
Happy Thanksgiving, Crispy.