Hi, Husband

One of my dearest friends has a way of addressing people in the most ordinary of ways, but she somehow makes you feel entirely special and loved. When I call her, she often answers with a sweeping, “Hi, my beautiful friend!” Doesn’t take much to wonder why we’ve been friends for so long.

She and I were having dinner together at her house one evening a couple of years ago, and her husband came home from the gym. They had just recently been married, the first of our close-knit group of friends. Before he reached the dining room she called out, “Hello, husband!” in a lilting sing-song voice.  It was a simple greeting, but I remember being struck for the first time at what an intimate title “husband” or “wife” could be. She made a commonplace term sound completely endearing, a title reserved for the one precious person you chose to spend your days with. I loved it, and have been excited ever since to be able to use that same greeting.

I got married two weeks ago.

It was a lovely day, slightly overcast and breezy in the morning giving way to sun in the afternoon. My maid of honor (the wonder friend mentioned above) scooped me up in the morning for our day of relaxing and preparation. My Dad made us turkey sandwiches for lunch, my sister did our make-up, our musicians practiced in the backyard all afternoon. As the day wore on, it started to sink in what was coming and what I was about to do. My belly started doing flips, my hands started to get shaky, and I could feel tears quelling up at every mention of the evenings ceremony. It wasn’t fear, it wasn’t second thoughts, it wasn’t anything except realizing the weight of what I was about to commit to. It felt huge and simple all at the same time. It was opening up to a lifetime of greeting my sweet man home by saying, “Hi, husband.”

“Where you love somebody a whole lot, and you know that person loves you, that’s the most beautiful place in the whole world.”

– Excerpt from The Most Beautiful Place in the World by Ann Cameron

Truthfully, nothing tremendous has changed in our day-to-day since becoming husband and wife. We also didn’t enter into this marriage riding a frothy wave of lust and romance. Our kitchen is torn up and awaiting renovation, our garden is overgrown with weeds, I’m 6 1/2 months pregnant, and we both went back to work the Monday after the wedding.

Love is a reminder to bring your bike lock key to the farmer's market.

Love is a reminder to bring your bike lock key to the farmer’s market.

But we’ve been through enough together to know that what sustains us are kind words, generous gestures, and the conscious choice to be loving to each other. Everyday. We’ve also been through enough together to know that this whole relationship thing takes work, and there will be days when we won’t feel like being loving. We have done that work to get to where we are today, and I can only imagine what that work will look like in the years to come. But for now, for today, for this season in my life; the most beautiful place in the world happens to have a torn up kitchen and an overgrown garden.

Hi, Husband.

I love you.

Priorities

I admire list-makers.

The people who enjoy putting their various to-do’s down on paper, who glean satisfaction from checking items off, and who have the diligence to get things done in such a clean and tidy fashion.

I am not so clean, tidy, or diligent with my life.

I make shopping lists when I go to the grocery store to keep myself from coming home without the goods I actually need versus the two-for-$5 bags of sweet potato chips I love, the tasty sounding lemon olive oil in a pretty bottle, and the crunchy cracker mix I eat while I’m still shopping.

I make lists at work of  the little tasks that would fall between the cracks if I didn’t have them written down.

But lists for things I need to get done in my own life? On a day-to-day basis?

Nope, not so much.

I feel constricted by lists, and I get annoyed when they don’t allow for the whimsy and unplanned fun that I get the most satisfaction from. Lists also make me feel stressed out; seeing task after task needing to get done makes me feel defeated and ready for a nap.

But something came over me on Friday morning, and I was a list-making machine. I wrote down all the things I planned to accomplish on Saturday, and felt my excitement growing as I mentally navigated my way through the day. Maybe this is why people love making lists, I thought. Maybe I can be a list person!

A whole slew of errands would take me into the neighborhood where my parents live, so I thought it would be a nice treat to stop by and see them at lunchtime. We used to have brunch together every Sunday, just the three of us, but that tradition trailed off somewhere over the summer. I brought the last of a homemade pumpkin cake to share, and felt so proud that I could incorporate a visit with them into my uncharacteristically list-oriented day.

We sat down for lunch and caught each other up on the basics of what was new and what was coming up. Then a fresh pot of coffee was brewed, the cake was divided, and the conversation found its way to the more meaty bits.

Life has presented some spirit-challenging events for my family over the past six months, and things finally seem to be reaching a place where my parents can catch their breath. We reflected on a few of the recent struggles, and began to articulate what the fresh beginnings emerging from some of the changes might look like. We talked about their newly rekindled love of playing music together, their thoughts about new things to fold into their newly restructured life, and we talked about the delicate art of letting things go. I recounted some recent memories I had of them from when I was in my teens, memories that sent a shock of gratitude through me as I was able to see their generosity and openness through the lens of an adult.

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What had originally been “on the list” to be lunch and a visit with my parents turned into a three-hour spree of soul nourishing conversation. After hugs and a goodbye in the living room that lasted 15 minutes, I got back into my car and reassessed my list. I knew it all wasn’t going to get done. And it didn’t matter to me at all.

For better or for worse, this is what makes me not a list person. Tasks and to-do’s will always take the backseat to an unexpected invitation, the inclination to bake something from scratch, or the opportunity to savor another cup of coffee at the kitchen table with my parents.

Ultimately, I think letting our collective “to-do’s” fall to the wayside for a few hours to spend the time reconnecting was all we really  needed to get done, anyways.

Perhaps someday my life will require me to be more diligent with getting things done.

But not today. And, blessedly, not on this past Saturday.

Do you get excited to make lists? Do you follow through with them? How do you prioritize what gets done in your life?