Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Wheel: Thoughts on Marriage

He ran away with me, and he wouldn't have done it if he hadn't made a hotel reservation; he said so, himself, because we were in Tennessee, and his mama is so sick, there, that she can't stay by herself. He'd stayed with her the night before while the kids and I had slept at my parents', and--when I pulled into his mama's driveway bright and early the next day (the kids in my mom's care)--he was standing on the porch, dialing my number.

He thought it best, he said, to help take his mama to the doctor because he might have to carry her down (and back up) the porch steps. In the end, he turned the chair backwards and wheeled her down, and careful as he was, she hollered so loudly at the little bumps that the neighbor came running. She's not one to holler, so we were every one shaken and out of sorts. I fetched one of her pillows from inside, and we built up the passenger seat of her car and helped her get settled, collapsed the wheelchair and put it in the trunk.

I tell you these things to give you context for Jim's and my night and (almost) two days away, and I don't know how one enters wholeheartedly a getaway when there's no getting away: no getting away from the tick-tock of limited time on the clock, no getting away from the concern, responsibility, helplessness, grief. None of my any of that touches his, but I'm not unaffected, and seeing as how it was my first night away from the baby, I was a nut bar for a whole different set of reasons that confound me to just about the same extent as Genesis 3:16b's being fulfilled through me.

But anyway, napping was at the top of my list of things to do during our getaway, as was lovemaking, shopping (mostly thrift), eating good food, and drinking beer. His list was similar to mine (subtract drinking beer, add playing arcade games, and understand that "good food," to Jim, doesn't automatically mean "gourmet cupcake" like it does to me).

At the last minute, I added an item to my list: riding The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. The Wheel--which travels 200 feet up in the air--is an attraction at The Island, a new retail and entertainment center in Pigeon Forge. We were promised three full rotations and got five. I thought Jim was going to hurl. "That was one time in the history of the world," he said, "that I would've been alright with someone's shortchanging me." So The Wheel wasn't exactly a romantic experience, but I loved it, anyhow.

It  ends up being analogous to this life Jim and I are living together; I mean, I remember full well how I'd romanticized it, and it ain't that. It's mostly just two people working their hind ends off for a house full of (very demanding) kids. We get a day or two away, and we're so exhausted as to flop into the hotel-room bed and fall asleep (within minutes!) smack-dab in the middle of the day. I cry periodically, during our getaway, and gnaw my fingernails to the quick. And every single time we make a pit stop, he has to remind me: we can go inside together; no one needs to stay in the vehicle with the kids.

It's not what I'd doe-eyed dreamed, but I love him. My desire is for him. I permit him to rule over me. (That last bit blows my mind.) And--when I take his hand across the table at breakfast and ask: "Do you regret me?"--he shakes his head and looks at me in that seven-years-ago way that seems much further back.

"I don't regret you," he says. "I still remember. I still remember how I begged God to let me have you."

See my reflection in this one?


  1. I laughed out loud when one of your things on the list was beer. We would like each other yes we would, my choice if I drink anything, cold beer, ha!

    I'm sorry about Jim's Momma and I love that he is such a good son to her.

    Glad you got a way for half a minute (smile)

    Love to you friend, let's talk soon.

  2. I love your love story. Great photos too!

  3. Lovely. He may rule over you, but after watching my parents for 40-odd years, I know what a partnership marriage and family raising is. I know that God has smiled on all of you, even when the "getaway" seems like a "getanap"!

    And BEER! YES!!! A lady after my own heart! But it's got to be good stuff, no rubbish!

    Peace <3

  4. That last line. My heart. ♥

  5. Glad you had that time away, even as much of a sacrifice as it was. Praying for your MIL!

  6. YOU DESERVED THAT and your ferris wheel photos you