50 Thoughts: Crazy Love (It's the Little Things)

It’s interesting these days, in the age of oversharing and social media, to see the lengths people go to profess their love.

In recent years, I’ve had friends and coworkers marry, and the workout I get trying to keep my jaw from hitting the floor at the cost of weddings today is enough that I can skip the bike and fat ass it on the couch for then night.

And I’ll be honest — it’s not 100 percent incredulity — there’s a smidgen of “Damn I wish I had thought of that” mixed in. Who doesn’t like custom shakes and doughnut walls and elevated cuisine in a back-40 barn that housed pigs two months ago but now rents for $8,000 a night? (I mean this. I am banking on custom shakes for one of my kids’ weddings.)

And to the best of my knowledge, these love stories with an over-the-top matrimony chapter are all grounded in a solid foundation. They’re not marrying for a kickass party. They’re doing it because they love each other.

(Buckle in for a short “back in the day” rant.)

It’s just that it seems that what feels like yesterday but really is eons ago, expressions of love weren’t graded on a curve or compared to similar events posted on YouTube — from lip dub proposals and elaborately choreographed wedding dances to high school antics like fireworks-themed promposals. I mean, c’mon. If your sophomore HoCo date is asking you to the dance in the middle of a flower-petal installation at halftime at the football game, what’s your fiance going to have to do to top that?

It seems, at least for now, the trend of fantabulous displays of affection has skipped over my house and my kids. So much so if my daughter admitted to holding hands with her boyfriend in public it’s possible I may faint on the spot. That is just.not.her.thing. And I am OK with this, even though if my husband reads this he may beg to differ. Because I do give him a hard time about being more affectionate.

Mostly in jest. Maybe a little teeny tiny bit because I am looking for attention. A little.

Really, though, if someone were to ask me about my impressions on love and marriage, and mine in particular, these first 27 years (I was a child bride), I would say this: It’s crazy. And it’s the little things.

Committing yourself to one person for the rest of your life really is a leap in faith. Unless you are in your 80s. Because we all grow. We all change. Our tastes and interests become more refined. Or simpler. Jumping the broom with someone in hopes of forever love is taking a chance and crossing your fingers that 5, 10, 15 and 50 years later, you’ll still find common ground you can stand on together.

From a logical stand point, that’s crazy. Marriage is a rollercoaster that never comes to a complete stop to let off passengers and let others on. Your emergency brake usually involves a lawyer. Then there’s the crazy that kids bring. Or job changes and relocations. Or when certain people (read: me) go off and rescue a dog without really thinking things through. All of this is simply an X factor on your wedding day.

For me, I lean on my god friend Gratitude to get me through the occasional frustrating time or two (Roof over my head / Job/ Food on the table /Companionship) and have long since learned to appreciate the little things. Grandiose gestures are always welcome (dessert carts are never a bad idea) but the love devil is in the details. Things like:

  • Rolling over at night when asked, without complaint.
  • Fixing a deck.
  • Picking up groceries on the way home from the office after a long day.
  • Walking the dog when you can’t.
  • Playing the part of team coordinator to save a few bucks in travel soccer.
  • Grabbing an extra water out of the fridge.
  • Taking a kid to an early morning practice.
  • Laughing at the same funny movies most of the time.
  • Driving the hand-me-down car when you buy a new one.
  • Picking up a favorite flavor of ice cream.
  • Doing the dishes. (This by the way, gentlemen, is HUGE. So many bonus points left on the table, really.)
  • Being the one to get up and turn off the alarm every day.
  • Agreeing to see a chick flick. Or not getting cheesed over the fact if you don’t, your partner is going out with friends instead of you to see it.
  • Buying crickets for the three gekkos that followed your son home school one summer.
  • Not judging questionable TV habits. (See, some tastes refine over time, or get simpler, or really just head straight for the gutter.)
  • Texting “I love you” in the middle of a busy busy day.
  • Sharing a bowl of popcorn.
  • Opening a bottle of wine.
  • Holding hands at the movies.
  • Making sure the gas tank is always full.

There are care-free days in long-term relationships. But the scales are more likely to tip toward challenging ones as the years pass. Marriage is a team effort. And it’s not especially easy. And for some, the walk away from one is the best possible choice. That’s why I am so incredibly grateful that one of my greatest pieces of me up to now is that partnership with my husband. We may be crazy, but we are still in love. He’s just so good at the little things.

Day 1: 50 Days, 50 Thoughts, 50 Books. Book recommendation: The Bitch is Back

Day 2: There Aren’t Any Do-Overs, Are There? Book Recommendation: A Place for Us

Day 3: Is Pop Culture Circling the Drain? Book recommendation: Live from New York

Day 4: Perimenopause in the Age of Trump Book Recommendation: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Day 5: Take A Knee at the Altar of Common Sense Book Recommendation: How Not to Be a Dick

Day 6: Perspective is the Gift That Keeps on Giving Book Recommendation: A Fine Balance

Day 7: The Accidental Editor Book Recommendation: Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977 – 2002)

Day 8: The First Last of the Firsts Book Recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge

Day 9: All Kinds of Tired Book Recommendation: Believer

Day 10: Overthinking is Anxiety’s Bitchy Best Friend Book Recommendation: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Day 11: Where Would You go with a Wayback Machine? Book Recommendation: A Little Life

Day 12: Fall in my Favorite Chicago

Day 13: On Having It All Book Recommendation: Lean In

Day 14: Where Were You When … Book Recommendation: The Nix

Day 15: 5 Things to Purge Before you Turn 50 Book Recommendation: The Art of Tidying Up

Day 16: A Labor Day Salute to Bad Bosses Everywhere Book Recommendation: Steve Jobs

Day 17: Do You Validate?  Book Recommendation: Less 

Day 18: Identity Crisis Code Purple Book Recommendation: Amp’d

Day 19: Character Really Does Count Book Recommendation: Believer

Day 20: Death Before Public Speaking Book Recommendation: The Gifts of Imperfection

Day 21: 15 Things You Should Do Before You Turn 50 Book Recommendation: Drop Dead Healthy

Day 22: Calling BS on “Sticks and Stones” Book Recommendation: Love Warrior

Day 23: My Feet Are My Favorite Part of Me Book Recommendation: Born to Run

Day 24: Self-Help Books Aren’t Half Bad  Book Recommendation: The Book of Joy

Day 25: Going for Gratitude Book Recommendation: The Gratitude Diaries

Day 26: Past Self Meets Future Self Book Recommendation: A Wrinkle in Time

Day 27: The Book is Always Better Book Recommendation: Big Little Lies

Day 28: Three Cheers for Volunteers Book Recommendation: A Secret Gift

Day 29: The Social Network Book Recommendation: The Circle

Day 30: 50 People Who Can Text Me Before Trump Does Book Recommendation: Purity 

Day 31: I’ll Take My Joy Where I Can Find It Book Recommendation: The Book of Joy

Day 32: Humor is My Sixth Sense Book Recommendation: Sick in the Head

Day 33: Anger Comes Second Book Recommendation: The Leftovers

Day 34: Hypocrisy, Much? Book Recommendation: The Favorite Sister

Day 35: Girl Power Book Recommendation:Girls

Day 36: The Kids are All Right Book Recommendation: Ohio

Day 37: Banned Books Week Book Recommendation: the Banned Books list

Day 38: An Open Letter to Congress Book Recommendation: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Day 39: The Importance of Guilty Pleasures Book Recommendation: The Actress

Day 40: On Stories Never Told Book Recommendation: After Visiting Friends

Day 41: Thank You, Judge Kavanaugh Book Recommendation: Missoula

Day 42: With a Little Help from My Friends Book Recommendation: Bad Feminist

Day 43: Life Doesn’t Flash ... Book Recommendation: Shotgun Lovesongs

Today’s recommendation: To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal. It’s just a really beautiful love story.

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