When my family came to visit for the holidays, I insisted that we have a Hawaiian dinner, wearing the Aloha shirts my parents got each of us while on their 25th anniversary cruise. Granted, we ate German food–sausage & potatoes–but our hearts were in a warmer climate.
I spent days upon days preparing for my family’s visit–baking, cleaning, organizing, fretting, keeping busy so that the days passed more quickly as I awaited their arrival. The three days passed in the time it would take to sing that Hawaiian Christmas carol, & since they drove away, I’ve been left with an odd realization.
I’m always waiting for their visit. Or more than that, I’m always waiting for this game of house that Joe & I are playing to end.
A year before we married, I lived with Joe for the summer so that both of us could work in St. Louis. Each day, I’d check out the window around the time he should be getting home, trying to time dinner just right. I worried when he was more than a minute late. I counted down the days left in the summer. I finalized the details of our wedding. I lived in a sense of suspended reality–with the same feeling in my stomach that jerks you back from the edge of a fall in that last bit of a second before you wake up.
Here we are, more than a year married, & I’m still waiting to wake up. Waiting for him to drive away to where he really lives & wait another month to see him. Laying in bed last night, reading while he played video games in the living room, I looked around our apartment as if for the first time realizing that it was truly ours.
I wonder how long it lasts, the honeymoon phase of enjoying the laundry, the vacuuming, the grocery shopping, the coming home from work–enjoying it because you know that in the middle of everything that feels so out of your control, there are these bits of life we’re managing to accomplish together.
When my parents left & I realized it would be at least a month before I saw them again, & that this would be the rhythm of our life–our life, which seems so long & terrifying–I was at a loss. I wanted to call them & tell them they forgot something so that we could steal more time together. There are moments when I find myself trying to shake away from this dream, even though I’m loving living it.
Twenty-four has begun to feel somehow younger than 23, when I still felt that I knew all I needed. I suppose this is what they mean when they say, “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.” Do we ever stop being our parents’ children? And must this honeymoon phase end?
The blend of emotions has left me a bit fatigued & nostalgic. When I look at the new year, I wonder where we’ll be at the end of it–still tucked up & safe in Bloomington, but at what phase of our life? For surely, this feeling must be a transition. I want a fortune cookie to tell me what this year of the dragon will mean.