Love notes

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:7

For Peter and Abigale

I think they asked me to read because the Groom could count on me to use my best “project all the way to the back row” teacher voice and the Bride knows that I will make sure that the back of my dress isn’t tucked into my pantyhose before I walk up to the front of the church.

The day you get married, you think you have an inkling of what to expect from marriage. You’ve seen people you love stay together, or not. You’ve been in the weddings of a few friends. You know what “getting married” means.

And then, you get married and find out what marriage really means.

You embark on a journey that will take you to the highest highs and lowest lows of your life. Between those highs and lows there will be days, weeks, years, decades of going to work and mowing the lawn. You’ll have the same five arguments over and over about things that aren’t that important. You will wear out appliances and buy new ones. You’ll forget to pick up milk. You’ll laugh about stupid stuff. If you are very, very, lucky you’ll grow old together.

That is life. That is marriage.

You will maybe make a baby or two. You’ll potty train them and sit through what will feel like a thousand piano recitals. There will be math homework you don’t understand. They will throw parties in your house when you’re not home. You’ll blink, and those babies will be standing next to someone doing exactly what you’re doing today.

Together, you will bury your parents, or a sibling, or God forbid, a child, in the years to come. You will find out what “in sickness and in health” really means. You will find out what you’re made of on a thousand different days in a thousand different ways. You’ll break, and then you’ll mend.

That is life. That is marriage.

You will have joy. So. much. joy.  Your heart will swell to nearly bursting some days because you chose this person who is the best, kindest, most thoughtful human you know. You will have days when you look at the person you chose to spend your life with and wonder if you made a terrible mistake. Nope. You just chose a human with faults and flaws. Forgive each other for being human. Forgive, and forgive, and forgive again.

On your wedding day, look around at the guests you’ve invited. We are your cheering section. We have faith that when the road gets a little bumpy, that you’ll be patient and kind, polite and humble, brave and true to one another.  That’s the promise you’re making to each other. It’s why we’re here.

So get ready. Buckle up, and hold on tight. You’ve got this.

Love.  It’s just the greatest thing, isn’t it?

I think I read that somewhere.

Auntie

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A Southern gentleman

We ate, and ate, and then ate some more.

The older I get, the more I’m struck by how much the young eat, as opposed to the not-so-young.  The variety of dining options in a city as vast and diverse as Chicago is one of the reasons my girl loves living there. We ate ravioli in a buttery wine sauce in a tiny Italian restaurant, and savory Indian dishes I couldn’t pronounce at Devon Street. We had Chicago-style pizza in Lincoln Park, and grilled cheese sandwiches sprinkled with truffles in a pretty courtyard restaurant with a fountain.

I boarded the flight home stuffed full of happy memories and good food. The burly, red-bearded, young man seated in my row noticed me struggling to jam my suitcase under the seat and offered to put it between us. I liked him immediately. During the flight, we visited. He’d grown up in Mississippi and was on his way to a conference in Grand Rapids. He’d never been farther north than Chicago. He’d majored in Communications and History in college, had recently adopted a golden retriever pup who went everywhere in his truck with him, and had a mama who worried about things like bed bugs and her boy finding his way to a place like Grand Rapids, Minnesota in the middle of the night. I told him to watch for deer and that bed bugs weren’t generally an issue as far as I knew. He told me that he’d been traveling since 5 a.m. and hadn’t had time to eat dinner during his layover. I gave him my pretzels.

The lights of the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth caught his eye as we began to land. Once the plane was at the gate, he helped me with my bag.  I told him that when he got home, he was to tell his Mama that she’d raised a fine young man. He smiled. Our paths will not cross again.

To travel anywhere is to learn. We visit new places to understand different cultures, and to try new foods. Travel shatters the myths we’ve created in our minds of who people are based on stereotypes and caricatures, ignorance and fear.

Sometimes that happens on the way home when you offer a boy from Mississippi your pretzels.

The runway bunny

“If you become a bird and fly away from me, I will be a tree that you come home to.”

-Margaret Wise Brown, “The Runaway Bunny”

The flight from Duluth to Chicago usually takes a little over an hour. As the plane taxied for take off, the pilot’s voice came over the loudspeaker to explain that there had been some turbulence as he’d flown in, but that “thanks to the miracle of man-made flight” he anticipated getting us to Chicago ahead of schedule.

I will stop here to say that I had seen this pilot standing in the door of the cockpit as I boarded, and as God as my witness, he didn’t look old enough to fly an airplane. Seriously.

The flight was smooth and uneventful until we approached O’Hare. I don’t despise landings like I do take offs, because landings mean I am going to be back on the ground soon where moms who are afraid of flying know they belong. The plane started its descent. It circled the airport. Then, it circled again, and again. I heard the thump and whir of the landing gear.

Suddenly, the engines roared and the plane started going back up, not down. Then, we circled again and again. Finally, Skippy the Boy Pilot’s voice came back over the loudspeaker.

“Hey, Guys! You may be wondering what’s going on (you could say that, Skippy) I guess there’s a rabbit on the runway and we have been told to circle for a bit until they get what’s left of Bugs Bunny cleaned up. I should have you on the ground in about five to ten minutes. Thanks for your patience!”

A bunny? On the runway? A runway bunny? Shut the front door, Skippy.

Is an airplane sliding off a runway because of bunny guts something I need to add to my List of Things to Worry About? So many questions. So few answers.

In other news, I am visiting my daughter who lives in the sky in an apartment that overlooks the Chicago skyline. From thirteen floors up, at night, the lights of this enormous city are a sight to behold.

Even for moms who worry way too much about things they can’t control who wish that all bunnies would just stay in the woods.