Sunday, August 12, 2007

Being a Wife

Today we went to my in-laws for a visit. Abbey has been missing her grandma, and Marcell just got back from Trek so we decided to go and see them. Brett's dad is 88 and doing pretty well physically. He has also softened over the years in his temperment and demeanor. He is fun to talk to now and he loves to tell stories about when he was young. When we first got there today though, he excused himself to go finish watching Tiger Woods win some golf tournament.

So we mostly visited with Brett's mom and his sister Marcell. Whenever we go to Ogden, Brett really struggles. He is uncomfortable and stressed driving there, being there, and coming home. He really can't relax until the next day. Tonight Brett's mom wanted us to watch a DVD that her brothers and sisters just had made where they combined all of their family "home movies" onto one handy disc. Brett seemed reluctant, but we started watching it anyway. Before our faces passed visions of the 1950's and 1960's. We saw Brett's mom, uncles and aunts in their youth. We saw his mom's parents looking young and vibrant. Best of all, we saw Brett as a chubby baby with two bottom teeth, smiling and being adored by his parents and grandparents. Then we saw Brett's parents' wedding. As the DVD progressed I felt Brett gradually tensing up. Then during the wedding part, Brett's Grandma and Grandpa McLean came into view. Brett quickly stood up and walked out, even out of the house.

Brett's mom and sister were surprised. I began to explain how much he missed his grandparents and tried to explain his sudden retreat. I don't know if they bought it, but I had a sense it was something more. We soon left after that, borrowing the DVD to finish watching at home. I didn't push Brett to explain. While we were driving home Brett asked me to just talk about when I worked at the Shakespearean Festival. That kind of gave me pause, but I consented and gave him a few of the highlights about tart selling and hooking up with boys between the Green Show and intermission. He asked questions, but I could tell he wasn't really that interested in my "wild" days singing to sell horehound candy and apple/raisin tarts. He just needed something else to think about.

Later, after many hugs, Brett told me that watching the DVD was difficult, not just because he saw loved ones he misses, but because it was a compacted view of his family, with all the strengths and weaknesses, all the pain and the joy, all the disappointments and highlights.

Brett has become even more sensitive to situations like this lately. The other night we were watching the Sandra Bullock movie Premonition and he walked out during a very intense scene. He wouldn't finish watching the movie. He said it stirred up some very confusing emotions for him. I am so proud of Brett for recognizing his feelings and doing something about them. For so many years he pushed them aside. It has taken him a long time to own them and then even longer to acknowledge them with action. It has taken me a long time to allow him the time to do this. In our early marriage I would try to force his feelings out of his gut so that we could "fix" them together. It was so exhausting for me and so wrong. I was so grateful for the day about ten years ago when I realized the disservice I was doing to both of us. We have been married for 25 years next month. We are still learning so much about each other and about ourselves as we continue this journey together. We have both learned more patience, more long-suffering, more tenderness, more forgiveness, more charity, and given more power to the other in the process. I love being a wife, but along with being a mother, it is the most challenging vocation of my life. I love you Brett!

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