Potato Delivery

I was sitting on our front stoop and watching the boys quietly dig in the dirt. They each had their own holes they were working on and they were in their own little worlds. My attention then turned toward the house across the street. A sweet elderly couple lives there. The wife is not able to get around very well and spends most of her time at home. The husband is retired and spends his days loving and serving her. At this particular moment he had pulled into the driveway and he slowly got out of the car and then walked to the passenger side and picked up a bag of groceries, a Chick-fil-a bag and two drinks. He walked up to the front door and once the door was opened, I heard him say, “potato delivery” and then the door was shut. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched this little moment and reflect on the gift of marriage.

Two weekends ago, Dan and I had the opportunity to go on a retreat. Just the two of us. With no kids. Dan needed to attend for his job and since it was a retreat geared towards married couples, me joining him was kind of a must. I have to admit that I really was not looking forward to it.  My parents were gracious and happy to watch the kids, but I was having a hard time letting go. I know Joshua is almost 18 months old and is not a baby anymore…but I guess he still is to me?…We had to check in at the retreat that Friday afternoon, which happened to be All Saints Day. Earlier that day I was overwhelmed and anxious. I  hosted  a party/play date for the kids in honor of the feast, plus I had to pack and get the kids ready for my parents. Dan and I arrived at the camp and as we were checking in, the team asked us to leave both of our phones in the car because we weren’t supposed to have them throughout the weekend. Well the “mama lion” inside me came out in full form and needless to say Dan’s phone remained in his pocket.

We did end up having a fun weekend together. I know it is very rare for a couple with small children to be able to escape together, especially for a retreat, and I was grateful to able to let go and enjoy it. I mean, I was spending time with my best friend after all. It was wonderful to have time to pray together and separately, to be able to focus on Mass without running to the cry room, and to go to Adoration and Confession. One of my favorite moments from the weekend was watching one of the older couples that was there, they also happened to be the parents of one of the priests who was serving us all weekend. I was inspired watching them throughout the weekend, knowing they had nine children and one of them was an amazing priest. At the end of the retreat, campers were encouraged to give their testimonies about their experience and the husband walked up and what he shared touched my heart. He talked about how they may seem perfect and have it all together since they have been married for over 50 years. But he reminded us that marriage is difficult and there will always be rough patches. He said that actually one of the best things that happened, concerning their relationship, was when they were introduced to the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, just 5 years ago. So in the past few years they have really understood how the other prefers to be shown love. He ended by saying, with a twinkle in his eye, “And don’t worry, only the first 40 years are the hardest.”

Dan and I are both familiar with the 5 love languages, and understanding how each other prefers to be shown love comes up a lot in our conversations. Listening to this sweet man share about his marriage, brought about another great discussion between us. Often these conversations are hard, because it requires us to let go of our pride and open up, and  to also be able to listen to the other without getting defensive. It is definitely challenging and the good news is we only have about 34  more years to get through before it starts to get easier…

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 I was reflecting on my experience at the retreat while I was watching my neighbor love and care for his wife. God-willing, Dan and I will be doing the same for one another 40 years from now. I sat there trying to imagine us in that stage of life and then was suddenly brought back to reality when Kolbe and Joshua ran over and covered me with handfuls of dirt. And I think they were shocked when I happily responded with a smile. You lucked out, boys. Great timing.


1 Comment

  1. This is lovely! And I love that book also. My husband and I were talking about it the other day. We read it together on a car trip once and did the test, etc. So we know each other’s love languages. But recently, I did a little online quiz about it, and my top two love languages were actually flip-flopped. We talked about the fact that our life circumstances are different now than 6 or 7 years ago when we first did the book and my top love language is a reflection of that. The first time, my main one was Acts of Service. But right now, it’s Quality Time. My husband has a “regular” job, he’s a COL in the Army Reserves (which takes about an extra 10 – 15 hours a week), AND he’s in the middle of a Masters program with the military. So our time together is very limited until he graduates next summer. It was good to talk about it, and see the impact all this has on our relationship – making us more careful to try and nurture ourselves through this trying time.

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