We are happy to welcome back Lisa Matthews as our guest blogger. Today, she is sharing a beutiful story about her twenty years of marriage. Lisa has written for us twice in the past in All That Glitters...Is Gold! and Are You a Glam Cam Reject?
My husband, Scott, and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on November 18th. So, this is a story I wrote for him. Twenty short years ago he asked for my hand in marriage; now it's my turn to ask for his hand for another 20, that is, if he'll have me!
The Chair: A 20-Year Dedication
Once upon a time there was a rocking chair. Not just any rocking chair - an antique rocking chair - well at least it is now. It didn't used to be. Your beautiful young bride had her eye on that rocker every weekend you shopped the local flea market. It was hand-made by a local woodworker from the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina; she had her eye on the one made in a premium hardwood of black walnut. She begged and groveled for that rocker but you told her it was too expensive - a month's salary for something you'll never use! But, on every Saturday's trip to the market, she would make sure to walk by the woodworker's space to catch a quick glimpse. You saw those puppy dog eyes and the way she sighed when you walked past. Finally, you gave in and bought her that darned rocker! You surprised her with it for Christmas; you had to have a neighbor keep the chair until you could retrieve it while she was sleeping on Christmas Eve. You weren't real good at surprises so you just stuck it by the tree and draped an old blanket over it. She was ecstatic upon seeing it, although, you're pretty sure she had an idea you had gotten it. So much for surprises!
It didn't matter. Your young bride cherished that rocker and was diligent in trying to protect it from any nicks and scratches - even scolding you when you vacuumed around it - telling you were bumping into the base. It wasn't exactly a "man's" chair but you were amazed at how incredibly comfortable that rocker was - the way it hugged your spine in just the right places; you even enjoyed a football game or two in that chair. And, when the two of you were feeling a little frisky, things got a little naughty in that rocker on more than one occasion!
Then the babies came along, one after another - three on a row. Boy, did that rocking chair come in handy on those nights your first-born wouldn't sleep. You would go upstairs and bring her down so you could rock her to sleep, no matter how long it took. And, when your second daughter displayed some frightful temper tantrums as a toddler you would set her in that rocker for a time-out until the blood curdling screams subsided. Then, when your son arrived, your wife would nurse him in that very chair for nearly 18 months!
As toddlers, your girls would race around the family room in their Cozy Coupes, sometimes colliding with the rocking chair like bumper cars. Your oldest daughter loved to sprint around the house with her Little Tikes shopping cart, often stopping at the chair to unload her goods. And, sometimes that rocker seat even served as a table where the kids could color in their coloring books, usually drawing off the page and onto the wooden seat. Then, one night your son was running wildly around the house like Batman and took quite a tumble and hit his head hard on the corner of the rocker. You were out of town but your wife called you from the emergency room to tell you what happened. You and your wife thought about moving that chair to another room after that but your children loved hearing their favorite bedtime stories from that rocking chair while perched on your lap or hanging on your knee, so it stayed put.
Years past and the kids got older; they were spending more time in their own rooms or out with friends. You preferred the overstuffed chair for watching football now. Your wife would sit in the rocker every now and again but the chair began to squeak and you became very annoyed with the disturbance, especially when she would rock away while immersed in the newest bestseller, all the while you were trying to enjoy a new episode of Two and a Half Men. And, one night you even cursed the darn thing because you stubbed your toe on the legs while running to catch your BlackBerry! "Why don't we just get rid of this contraption now - maybe donate it or sell it on eBay?" you ask your wife - "nobody uses it anymore, it's scratched up, the dog has chewed away part of the base - it's dated and, well - it's just an eye sore," you say. You were envisioning a more contemporary replacement - like a leather chair with a built-in massage feature and an ottoman so you could put your feet up. Your wife seemed hurt. "Why would you want to get rid of something that has so many memories?" she asks. "It's just an old, ugly rocking chair - no big deal," you say. The next week you see that the rocker is gone. Good, no more toe stubs and no more annoying squeaks! But, to your dismay you learn your wife had taken it to the local antique dealer who had discouraged her from selling it - he said it was a one of a kind rocking chair - a priceless possession. He did, however, suggest a deep cleaning and a gentle restoration, which would bring out its natural beauty without camouflaging the nicks and scuffs, retaining its years of memories. In addition, your wife even made sure the restorer preserved the multi-colored moving van stickers affixed to the underside of the seat - there were 6 of them, all representing new friends and adventures from your moves across the U.S. She was so excited to show you the newly updated rocker - you really could have cared less - besides you didn't think it looked that different. All you could think about was how much she spent on such a ridiculous process!
More time passed. Your wife continued to nurture that chair; she was writing more now and said she wrote some of her best stories in that rocker. As you observe your wife during a quick Jeopardy! commercial you notice that the chair is no longer squeaking and that "eye-sore" of a rocker seemed to somehow come to life. You also notice your wife is no longer a young bride; the fine lines - they're there and she needs reading glasses now. Her hair is still long but it's tied up; she's still petite but far from frail thanks to her love for yoga and her continued passion for cycling. She says she is just keeping up with you - the "gym rat!" Your wife changes positions and crosses her legs Indian style and continues to rock. She's different now - so much more attentive and affectionate than she used to be. God, how you yearned for that when the kids were young; she poured every ounce of her being into nurturing those three beautiful children of yours. But, however belated, you can't deny the incredible feelings you get now when your wife holds you close and tells you she still thinks you are the hottest guy on the planet. She looks up and smiles at you with her eyes - it was angelic and sexy at the same time. The doorbell rings....
...your grandchildren flood inside. After a few quick hugs they are busy scurrying around for the toys. Your granddaughter finds the shopping cart and begins whizzing around the house, grabbing her "purchases" like it was Black Friday, running into anything and everything, including that darned chair. Your other granddaughter follows suit with the Cozy Coupe, pretending to be the pizza delivery girl. You feel a tug on the back of your shirt and find your grandson behind you clutching a book. He is still wearing his coat - a sable brown fur coat you used to wear when you were about his age (your mother had saved it all these years); and, like you, he never wants to take it off! "Papa", he says, "can you and Nana read me my daddy's favorite bedtime story"? Well Nana (your wife) is busy in the kitchen with the girls making cookies so you take your grandson's hand and lead him over to your big overstuffed chair. "No Papa!" he says -"I want to go read over there - in Nana's rocking chair!" Tears flow from your eyes. "What's wrong, Papa" he asks? "Oh nothing, son", you say, "I was just thinking about how much I love that chair too!"
Note from author: I truly believe marriage is a treasure. And, with good bones, it's meant to be preserved, not destroyed. The earlier you can begin nurturing your marriage, the better. However, if you find the years have left you with some scuffs, scratches, and squeaks, roll up your sleeves, put on your gloves, and get to work! It is so worth it. You'll see!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
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