Off to Hawaii — ALOHA!

Newlyweds Nate and Meg are half way through their first married year, but at this point their adventures must go on hold until September.

Engaged... 7.19.17Our firstborn, Nelson, will be getting married to his true love, Ann Sophie, on August 26. They live and work in Kona, Hawaii, where the wedding will occur, and tomorrow I board a plane, headed their way.

 

 

Door County, 2016.After that it’ll be a drive to Iowa to spend time with Emerald and her parents.

Before I leave, though, let’s find out how things are going in Champaign as 2 young adults and 2 very young doggies learn to live together.

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Newlywed Love (#67)

June 4-5, 1970

Our first night as parents-to-puppies didn’t go very well. Although we took Toby 2 and the Baron outside right before we went to bed, by morning there were pee-pee and poo-poo spots everywhere. Neither of us had ever personally trained a dog and were astounded at how much our little charges could “go.”

Puppies making messesWhen I left for record-keeping day at school, Nate had his work cut out for him at home. But we couldn’t be mad at our precious pooches. It had been our fault for assuming they could last 8 hours without “making.” Somehow we’d have to solve the problem of servicing them and also getting some sleep.

My school day was a breeze – no students, just lots of paper work, followed by a faculty luncheon given by the district Parent Teacher Association. It was fun to socialize with Linda, Judy, and many other teachers, lots of whom we’d never met.

Cannon School.I got to shake hands with the principal at my new school, Mr. Atkinson. The Cannon School across town where I would be teaching kindergarten was four times the size of little McKinley, but that was OK with me.

When I got home, Nate had been out to buy enough plastic to cover the area rugs in our living and dining rooms and had been getting a workout running up and down the stairs with our little darlings every 15 minutes.

Puppies nappingHe reported good progress and was confident they’d catch on soon. He had also made a decision about night times. “We’ll take them out as late as we can and then shut our bedroom door as usual. Whatever messes they make after that will just be the cost of a good night’s sleep for us. I’ll clean everything up.”

I couldn’t argue with that!

As Linda, Judy, and I made our last drive to Danville together, it was bittersweet. We’d had a happy year sharing as newlyweds, building friendships we hoped would last. And though Judy and Bill were headed for New York, Linda and I promised we’d get together during the summer.

The last morning with my 1st graders was spent partying — cupcakes, candy, and special badges I’d made for each of them, highlighting their best character qualities. It was one last chance to build them up before they slipped out of my life.

When the bell rang at noon, each one gave me a warm hug, telling me how much they would miss me – and I reciprocated. I sincerely hoped, as I waved them off, that they’d been properly prepared for 2nd grade.

EnamoredNate drove to Danville to join us for the McKinley teachers’ bar-b-q at Principal Scarce’s house, and he brought Toby 2 and the Baron with him. The whole world loves puppies, and our little guys didn’t disappoint, providing non-stop entertainment throughout the afternoon. Mr. Scarce’s two young boys were especially enamored (right).

After long goodbyes and well-wishes, Nate and I were off on a 10 day vacation with our tiny pets – first to a Nyman family reunion, followed by several days with Nate’s parents and brother in their home. After that it would be on to Wilmette to join my family.

What we didn’t know was that when we returned to Champaign, we would be short one doggie…

“Look at God; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him.” (Psalm 34:5, The Message)

Newlywed Love (#61)

May 14, 1970

A-plus

Nate was a natural worrier, something new I was learning about my young husband. Although he was a good student, he always doubted his readiness for class participation and exams. I thought of him as one of those people who was “sure” he would fail every test but then would end up getting “A’s”.

My experience had always been to worry about getting a bad grade and then get one. It bothered me that Nate worried so much when most of it was unnecessary.

Worse yet, he was already stressing about a first law job, where it might be, and how grueling the interview process to get it would be. He was also concerned about how his active duty military requirements could possibly fit with his graduation from law school and his first “real” job.

My philosophy had always been to worry only about the thing in front of me and leave the next one alone till it came into view. But I had to admit, that plan often resulted in being unprepared and missing opportunities.

Nevertheless, I wished Nate wouldn’t worry so much. I knew that career issues were big for guys and that Nate wanted to be successful so he could provide for me and whatever family we might have. That part I liked.

Studying.Our differences in thinking, however, were probably one of those things married couples couldn’t change about each other. We’d been warned not to try that, and though I would have preferred Nate not worry so much, I knew telling him to stop wouldn’t make any difference.

He was programmed to be concerned for things far down the road, and the truth was, I could benefit from having some of that rub off on me.

I wrote in my journal:

Although I can’t share his worry and anxiety over his future career, I know the need of a male to be successful is great. I love him more for desiring to get so much out of life. And ambition is one of the qualities I admire most in him.

(I also admired his body, telling him he looked like Michelangelo’s sculpture of David.)  I wrote:

He’s so neat and strong looking, and looks like the statue of Michelangelo’s “David.” Nate is a beautiful, generous, manner-ful, gracious, tactful person. I’ll love him more with each tomorrow.

Journal

And with all that going on, maybe a little worrying wasn’t such a big deal anyway.

“Let God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.” (Philippians 4:6-7, The Message)

Newlywed Love (#59)

May 9, 1970

About this time, Nate and I bumped into an unexpected disagreement. My cooking was improving as I learned from my many failures, but our dinner hour presented a new problem.

Nate looked forward to our evening meal with enthusiasm every single day. He came to the table hungry and was always generous with compliments and kisses for the cook. Though I loved spending time with him, my perspective on dinner was a world away from his.

Dinner for two.

I didn’t like cooking, and my M.O. was to get the process over with as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, over the months of being married, that same mindset had spread to wanting the whole meal finished fast, too.

This was in direct conflict with Nate’s desire that we eat slowly and linger at the table. I wolfed down my food without considering his point of view and then jumped up to head for the kitchen sink. While still turning to chat with him as he ate, I attacked the pans and cooking mess, wanting to check that off quickly, too.

One evening as we sat down to chicken and rice he said, “Can I talk to you about something?” The way he said it worried me. What could possibly be wrong?

“Sure,” I said. “We can talk about anything you want.”

“Well…” he said, hesitating, “you know how you always finish eating before I do?”

“Yes… because you’re hungrier than me, and you eat more, which is how it should be.”

“Right,” he said, measuring his words. “But then, when you’re done, you leave the table.”

“You mean to start washing dishes?”

“Yes.”

“Does that bother you?” I said.

“Sort of.”

“Why?”

Eating alone“Well… because each day when we’re apart, I miss you a lot. And when we finally sit down across from each other, I want to talk to you and hope you’ll talk to me. But you get up before we’ve barely gotten started.”

Although his words were spoken with gentleness, they hurt my feelings.

“But I’m just trying to be efficient,” I said, defending myself. “And that way, by the time you’re done eating, the dishes are pretty much done, too.”

After making his point, he wisely backed away, leaving me a minute to think about it. Then he made one last comment that poked through my defensiveness. “How ‘bout if we sit together for a while longer, and then, after dinner is over, we do the dishes together?”

“Really?” I said.

With that I melted. “Gee, I’m really sorry,” I said. ”I didn’t realize.” The tension disappeared, and I learned that even though his plate held more food than mine, if I didn’t gulp mine down, we could finish together.

Dirty dishesFor Nate, conversation was as big a part of having dinner as the eating. And it was much nicer talking face-to-face than to my back as I stood at the sink.

Once I decided to stay at the table longer, we had much deeper conversations – exchanges that continued as we stood side-by-side washing dishes together.

And I’d learned something new and very special about the man I loved.

“Be good…. and be ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18)