For a family that lives in a blur of activity, it seems redundant to say that the past few weeks have been hectic. Moving, as we have learned, is a process more than an event. Everyone should move every now and then if only to find out what, precisely, is behind the refrigerator. It isn’t pretty.
The past two weeks have provided a time to count our blessings. Most of those blessings came in the shape of friends — some new, some old. Friends swooped in and cleared the place, the way a plague of locusts clears a ripe grain field. They loaded really heavy stuff, figured out how to take apart and reassemble animal shelters, fenced and even brought dinner. It is humbling to be the recipient of so much goodwill.
For the most part, our move is complete. We are here and we are home. I have found my Shiloh, my place of peace. What I haven’t found is my razor, and that is getting to be a problem. Brian said I could use his. Actually, I texted him and didn’t get a response right away. I took that as a yes.
There are many self-help books out there about marital success, but I propose that separate razors are at the foundation of a good marriage. Brian’s razor has five blades. Five. Now I understand why we have to take out a loan every time he gets a package of refills. I needed both hands just to hoist it.
Thinking about razors, marital happiness and moving all at the same time led to some interesting comparisons. It has been 18 years since the last time I moved. Sunday marks exactly 20 years since I went on a first date with the man who would become my husband. Perhaps because both of those events occurred at roughly the same time in history, I have come to believe that moving is sort of like dating.
On the first pass, the new home is dazzling. The windows — dual pane, of course — gleam. The yard is perfectly manicured, the paint still fresh. The perfections of the new place are examined and magnified in time.
With the move comes the brutal reality. Those windows need a lot of cleaning to keep up that shine. Our family has a lot of little fingers leaving prints all over. The yard, apparently, doesn’t weed itself. Fortunately, I have a teen willing to take on that task. The paint has a few chips here and there. My to-do list is getting longer.
How, you ask, is this like dating? Speaking only for myself, I was a bit more dazzling a couple decades ago. I sported a perfect manicure and my makeup was always freshly updated. Oh, how things have changed. The to-do list I brought to the marriage — you know, all the changes I was sure Brian would be happy to make — has gone by the wayside. He has seen my flaws, I have seen his, and every day, we decide to forget them.
Maintenance, for the new home and for the marriage, is the key. A little bit of work, a lot of love and it all becomes as beautiful as the northern lights on a summer’s eve.
This post originally appeared in the Appeal Democrat on June 8, 2011.
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