Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday by the river

Can I dispense a bit of marriage advice?

Know when to stay silent.

Exhibit A:

Yesterday after church I hit a wall. After two weeks of partying with house guests, followed by a week of single parenthood while Taylor helped his brother celebrate graduation from college, there was some pretty serious cumulative sleep deprivation in my life. Then I forgot to pack a snack for church, which, for someone who is nursing and seems to have blood sugar issues, is kind of a big deal. After teaching Gospel Doctrine I was spent and about halfway through Relief Society I just wanted to pass out. My tailbone hurt from those darn chairs, my head ached. My sore wrist was sorer. I was done. When we pulled into the garage I turned to Taylor and said, "I just need to go take care of myself." I pounded a plate of traditional Sunday nachos and went to bed.

It was a pretty crummy nap. I could hear the boys fight, whine, and scream. And I could hear sweet Taylor wash dishes and cook dinner. When I finally peeled myself out of bed, Taylor announced, "We're going on a picnic." He'd grilled chicken and veggies for a pasta salad, made homemade dressing, and chilled San Pellegrinos. As I fed Clara, I watched him grab cornmeal and peaches out of the pantry and, in what looked exactly like an episode of Chopped, whip up an upside down peach polenta cake in a matter of minutes. I helped change diapers and find shoes and we were off.

I thought we were going to a local park or something, but Taylor wound down and around and out of town and on and on and on. Where in the heck was he going, I wondered? My headache was still around, I was starving again, and the roads were windy. I closed my eyes and tried not to feel like barfing. As the boys started to complain about the long drive, I felt like chiming in with a "Seriously, Taylor, why didn't you tell us we were going to drive an hour? I should have brought a snack." or an "I wish we could have just stayed home."

But experience stopped me.

If I had said something nasty because I was temporarily uncomfortable, it would have broken Taylor's heart and ruined our whole day. Can you imagine if I had sassed the man who just let me nap while he took care of the whole family and packed up a delicious gourmet picnic?! It would have altered the whole dynamic. Taylor would have felt unappreciated, I would be trying to apologize and regretting my words. Instead, I sucked it up and silently tried to appreciate the forest we were driving through.

The picnic by the Applegate River did not disappoint. It was lovely. Roger said the prayer, in which he thanked Heavenly Father that families can be together forever. In between bites of pasta, Carter adorably begged for more 'doda' (soda). The boys played tag and Pooh Sticks. Taylor lashed together a little Huck Finn raft out of sticks and grass and they watched it float down.

When Blaine fell in the river we knew it was time to go.

I was a little blah all evening and even fell asleep halfway through the Project Runway we were catching up on. And I'm wearing one of Grandma Tillie's housecoats as I write, so I'm not entirely out of my bluesy, tired funk. But I'm pleased with myself for staying silent. Too many couples engage in too many arguments over silly things that never should have been voiced.

In my humble opinion. (It's my blog. I can dole out advice if I want.)

Happy Monday,


Mel said...

Just the reminder I needed. Thank you, Anne.

sarita said...

"Know when NOT to say something"was the only piece if marriage advice my MIL gave me, passed down from her own father.

It has served me well for almost 8 years.

I loved everything about this post. thanks for sharing.

liz said...

This is great, but you're going to have to explain what Pooh Sticks are. Huh? Love you.

Rylee said...

I love this! Definitely a lesson that I myself need reminding of from time to time ;-) It's so easy to be selfish and focus on our own struggles on hard days and can be easy to forget to just be silent! I love marriage/relationship talk! I think there should be more of it! Who doesn't need or benefit from the experiences and advice from others? It feels so good to relate to other couples. Although I do understand that some find marriage a more personal subject. But I personally find comfort in reading stories like this and being able to relate and know that I'm not some crazy emotional (sometimes very grumpy) wife! Or if I am at times, I'm not the only one haha

Mrs. Cropper said...


It's from Winnie the Pooh. Everyone throws a stick in the water and runs down the riverbank to see where it goes/whose gets to the finish line first.

Elizabeth said...

Love it, I could have used the reminder yesterday. I don't know why I keep forgetting it. You're great!

Joan said...

Anne, I needed this advice several days ago when I whined to my hard working husband who was/is taking on all my responsibilities as mom too because I'm sick. I told him he wasn't being sympathetic enough and that he should pay more attention to me. Wow. Pretty ridiculous.
Thank you for this much needed reminder.

Katrina Troutman said...

Anne, I could learn a thing or two from you. Silence, they say, is golden. I myself have a bit of polishing to do! Thank you for the reminder as we can all benefit from the loving advice of others. I hope you are feeling better soon.

Mrs. Cropper said...

Thanks for your nice feedback. I'm always glad to know that something I write can be helpful at all to someone else.


Glenn Martin said...

Dear Annne with an e....
You are an incredible writer with lots of insight. Nearly forty years of marriage has taught me that you don't sweat the small stuff.. which most of what happens is. It is the big stuff that makes the difference and relationships are always more important than the petty things that we like to focus on. We loved seeing you guys last month. It was fun!

jeanine said...

What a great reminder for me! Thank you!