Blood, sweat, & tears

July 25, 2018

So it goes. Another summer over. Another flight across the ocean. Another round of goodbye hugs and “See ya next year!”s.
As she dropped us off today, mom said she looked forward to when we would be sticking around a bit longer. I reminded her of how I’d quipped a joke I was rather proud of (as I get when I manage to say something that impresses others with my witty sense of humor …or perhaps, more precisely, that impresses me with my own!): “Well, we better come back to stay sooner than later, as we’ve invested blood, sweat, and tears into this place for the past month-Peter’s blood and sweat, and my tears!”
Yes, this has been a summer of blood and sweat for him, laboring on landscaping, roofing, and plumbing, and literally putting “blood equity” into our roof, as his sister noted when I told her about Peter’s nail gun mishap. That day in the ER, I displayed a side of myself that wins no spousal medals. “I’m going to be very mad at you for quite some time,” I promised, as soon as it was clear there was no lasting injury. I attempted to prove my point by shoveling a plastic spoonful of stir fry into his mouth. “This hand is fine,” he noted, attempting to take the spoon from me. I ignored him and continued my spoon feeding, quickly enough to prevent further arguments that might mix logic into my emotional angst. “So much for my special dinner tonight,” I added, sulking over the interrupted meal prep that had been quickly piled into styrofoam before heading to the hospital. And as the hours passed that evening, I began to pace the hallways, impatiently stalking nurses to wonder what we were waiting so long for. “I can see why people try to escape from hospitals. Want to try to hide your arm band and just walk out of here with me?” He smiled at me with a slight hint of bemusement, and it occurred to me that I was probably the one acting more like an impatient than he was. I glared at him then, wishing he would at least grimace from the pain of the hole in his hand. When we finally did leave, he didn’t even let me remind the doctor of the promise to give us something for the pain. “Really, it hardly hurts at all. I’m fine,” Peter insisted.
Did I mention tears earlier? Why yes, I neglected to mention that I did indeed break down into a few rounds of weepy messiness that evening, as if I had not yet sufficiently proven my ability to feel sorry for myself as if I was the wounded party. Not a shining moment for our summer memories, for sure.
But when all was said and done, that day of discomfort, and the necessary days of business following, play their part in the chapter that this summer has been for the story of our life. As unlovable as I felt myself to be, his steady love in the midst of it left my heart stronger where the scab healed over; the space where insecurity has reigned is now covered over by a scar of secureness-in-love. The ugliness I stuff into hiding has spilled out and, instead of being met with horror and rejection, has been calmly accepted. And I realize that he has seen through those walls all along, and loved what I have tried to hide. He has loved me–the “me” I’ve tried to hide.
Lest it appear as if my husband is a bright shining pillar of perfection, I can assure you that we are both very “normal” in our humanity. He is the first to remind me of this fact each time I lapse into “I’m so messed up!” moments of apologizing for my existence. But I am truly awed by the gift that has been given to me, in the form of this man–and this realization may be the main gift that the summer as a whole has been for us. In working through the series of life issues that this season has brought (financial stresses, health failings, family conflicts, and passport emergencies), we have done the business together.
I am a nut for saltiness, in all its forms. If I get a chance to swim in the ocean, I will refuse to shower for days afterwards, relishing the feel of saltwater on my skin and in my hair. Sweat itself, for that matter, can happily live on my skin for longer than might seem natural, if one follows Western standards of showering frequency (are you, dear reader, relieved to be reading and not in my presence at the moment?😉). We’ve joked that I should have been a villain in one of the original Star Trek episodes … beware the salt vampire, then, cause he’s my type!