This past weekend we found ourselves headed south into another county. Not my favorite as I am officially a snob and feel that I am terribly put out if I have to leave my 20 block radius.
But it was for a good cause. Someone from our old, old ward was celebrating a big birthday and a college degree. So we trekked. (And thankfully left the kiddos at home with grandma.)
The party was fun. Live bands, lavish neighborhood, and at the home of a full-fledged celebrity. Our connection to the birthday boy was back in the day at our first neighborhood we moved into as a married couple. So on the way home, of course we did a drive-by.
Picture a condo complex that used to be relatively rural on the cusp of greatness. We were shocked to find it so different, so developed since we left. A movie theater where we walked our dog. A splash amusement park looming in the distance. And every fast food chain one could ever want. Once inside our good old complex, we remembered our sweet friends who used to live right along side us. The neighbors we'd meet up with to walk dogs, the ones we'd invite over for pizza, and the ones we practically wore a path in the sidewalk to visit. It was the first time I had lived away from home. That's right folks, I lived with the parents right up until I said "I do." And it worked for me.
Bug and I were in the middle of our Bachelor degrees, spreading out the commute between colleges. I was working downtown getting my feet wet in social work, he was discovering how geeky engineering was (and even more so: how geeky he was). We tested out new callings together: first co-nursery leaders (a disaster, if I do say so) a stint in Sunday School, and then a lot of good times in Young Women's.
How foreign it seems now to reflect back on our time together pre-kids. How we could go run places together, and not consider "should I get a babysitter for this or not?" Impulse decisions to go out of town, late night grocery runs, and cooking just for two.
It was in that same kitchen Bug cooked his first meal for his newly wed. And I have no qualms about telling you...it was awful. (He is already well aware of my feelings on this matter.) It was the spaghetti sauce every elder in his mission reportedly loved and Elder Bug made it just like back home in the good old U.S.A. I remember sitting on the couch in the living room connected to the dinning/kitchen area and hearing him squeeze our large bottle of Costco-sized Ketchup into the pan. Then asking me where the cheese grater was. And that was pretty much it. Luke warm watery ketchup with grated cheddar cheese mixed together over noodles. The elders in Tokyo must be starving, poor things.
It was also in the same 4 foot by 4 foot backyard (with a 7 foot tall fence) I completely and utterly trapped myself in when I locked myself out of the house. The selfsame day I had decided to paint the bedroom the boldest red I could imagine. The same day Bug would be spending all day and into the evening at school. And me (the cute little wife) went to wave goodbye to him, having the wind blow the door shut. I will even admit I tried breaking the back door glass open with a shovel. Why do the movies teach us this will work? It didn't. So I had to muster up some serious guts (and muscles) to climb over a fence, in bare feet, in my paint clothes, no mascara, and start knocking random neighbors doors on a Monday morning asking to use their phone.
Since then, we've learned more about ourselves and each other. We cook better, we plant hide-a-keys in clever spots, and most importantly we have filled the moments with something that's the best of both of us combined: our two lovely children. Although I sometimes wistfully think of the days I could grocery shop without unbuckling and buckling two other bodies besides my own, I can't imagine a life without them. They make me laugh, cry, and grow in ways that are good for me.
That's the good stuff in life.
10 hours ago