Sorry Iím late. Mike and I were making banana bread. In the kitchen.
Together. And were having a grand time doing it, I must tell you.
We had to make banana bread because we had six bananas that were
just a little too ripe to eat. At first we were a little confused
by it. "Whatís this?" asked Mike.
"Those are a kind of fruit. You have probably had them before. They
are called bananas. I buy them every week, but the kids have usually
eaten them all before you get home from work. You probably had them
when you were young and just donít remember."
"Yeah, bananas. I remember you eat them with that stuff that comes
in a box. With the rooster on the front. And that white stuff."
"Yes, honey. You can eat them with cereal. Youíre thinking of breakfast
cereal and milk. I buy those every week too, but the kids..."
You see, our kids are all off doing their various summer things
in various parts of the United States. There was some talk of a
whirlwind trip to Europe for one of them, but we have not seen any
sign of a passport yet, after 12 weeks, so that may fall through.
Anyway, Mike and I find ourselves alone together for the very first
time in our marriage. Not counting the occasional get-away. We are
a blended family. I had three kids and Mike had two kids (we later
had a shared child who cemented the whole crew together and baby
made six). We spent our honeymoon in a two bedroom house with five
children ranging in age from four to thirteen. For a week. During
spring break. I donít know about where you live, but in Oklahoma
it always rains all week long during spring break.
We all survived it, but it did set the tone for our marriage. And
by that I mean it set the tone for us as a child oriented family,
not as a family who spent long afternoons trying not to scream at
the children to quit fighting with each other in front of our new
husband and scare him silly type of tone. If you see what I mean.
It is hard enough to be a newlywed without the added stress of spending
a week with six other people in 950 square feet. It will make you
or break you. You will either become a child oriented family or
you will run screaming for the hills. Truth be told, we should have
known what it was going to be like when best man John, then nine
years old, tugged the sleeve of Daddyís suit coat as the minister
said, "Do you, Michael," and said in a stage whisper, "Dad! Iíve
got to pee!"
This week Mike and I have had a taste of what it is going to be
like when our empty nest is truly and finally empty. We have picked
up, tidied up, washed and folded laundry, sorted closets, worked
on the yard. In just seven days we have achieved a more orderly
environment than we have ever enjoyed before. We have had conversations.
I mean actual conversations about things other than schedules, car
insurance, tuition bills and grocery lists. We have had a little
trouble cooking in the tiny little increments it takes to feed two
people. But we are getting used to it. And it only takes us about
10 minutes to clean the kitchen up after dinner. One sixth of the
time it usually takes.
Tonight we dined on Ahi tuna, pot-stickers and salad. It was the
very first tuna ever served in this house devoid of either mayo
or egg noodles. Sounded fancy to us and we felt fancy eating it.
Then we cleaned up the kitchen. Together. We watched a thunderstorm
roll in. Together. We wandered around from the living room to the
dining room to the kitchen and back again. We did not trip over
anything or step on anything sharp or have to pick up anybodyís
discarded socks. We were beginning to feel at a loss for anything
to do. Until Mike found the bananas and we made banana bread. Together.
I was wiping
down the counter top and Mike was washing out the mixing bowl when
we said, "Wonder what the kids are doing." Together. Guess it will
take us some time to get used to things.
© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's
Theory of Everything"
July 14, 2007 Column
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