Last night, as we were watching the 20/20 special on the incoming first family, my husband threw out this question…
“I wonder what my Secret Service call name would be?”
Me: “Umm…’Holland’, maybe?”
Him: “What??!?! NO! If I need a SS name, then I’m doing something cooler than this!”
“This” being Band Director.
Me: “OH! So this is some alternate universe thing? Okay, then, I’m ‘Hemingway.'”
Him: “Of course you are.”
Me: “And you’re still totally ‘Holland.'”
Him: “You’re an evil person. Just so you know.”
And that is our relationship in a nutshell. We tease and flirt and laugh. A lot. We also discuss and debate and, occasionally, fight. Although, we generally only fight when we’re running on too little sleep. The children push our buttons but we’re intentional about backing each other up in both loving them and disciplining them.
At the beginning of this week, we spent some quality time in our “shelter” waiting out a tornado whizzing by us. The kids played their iPads cuddled up in their PJ’s and blankets. My son was initially scared but he calmed down when he saw his parents were calm.
My daughter was much more scared she might actually have to WEAR her bike helmet at some point.
A tornado in January reminded me of the tornadoes in December 2000. Our wedding day. The day began 80 degrees, balmy temperature, and an ominous looking sky. My family did their best to keep the weather reports from me and since this was the dark ages prior to smartphones, it was a fairly simple task. However, it didn’t escape me, as I walked down the aisle, that the 200 people I was expecting were, well, not there. We had less than half that.
Leaving us with a ton of leftover hand-carved ham at the reception.
Seven people lost their lives on our wedding day. Tornadoes hit various towns all around us but did not come near our church or homes. Occasionally, someone from my hometown will share a memorial of the day on social media and I’m reminded how much sorrow surrounded our joy.
The adventure continued with snow on the ground the next morning. An icy trip to our honeymoon and a just plain graceful slip on the icy ground left me on my back just as we were about to walk into our honeymoon cottage. Then came strep throat and a sinus infection. Not to mention we were incredibly broke. We paid for frozen pizzas to cook in our cottage with the cash a few precious souls gave us at our reception.
Somehow, we survived. Both literally, because the tornadoes did not hit us, and figuratively, because my husband didn’t ask for an annulment after our honeymoon week of strep throat and a bruised body.
Mostly, we’ve survived because we laugh.
And, truly, our wedding and honeymoon turned out to be the easiest of hurdles.
Infertility and then figuring out how to be parents…those put far more stress on our marriage.
Every season offers us a new chance to reevaluate each of us individually and as a couple. But at the center of any change, our laughter has remained.
I’m not gonna make the leap here and say laughter is the key to a long-lasting marriage. I will only say it works for us. It starts with a deep commitment to just plain staying together but apart from that, laughter has been good medicine.
I am grateful today for teasing and flirting and laughing with my husband. He still makes me laugh sixteen years in and I suspect that will stay true.
Love you, Holland.