Taken Root

Valentine’s Day came and went, and my sweet hubby and I stole a couple of hours out at a favorite local cafe of ours. But it seems like I should honor this great person who has shared a roof with me for many years now, before the candy heart sales are over.

Living under one roof doesn’t quite do it justice, does it? It’s more like sharing a kitchen, a bathroom, a laundry hamper, and a closet….with one person for years on end. This person, the one who is always there during the ins and outs, ups and downs. Stomach viruses, birthday parties, hairballs, and all.

I keep an early photo of us as a couple on the cut-out-window ledge between our kitchen and living room, to remind us of the freshly-pressed days of romance. It captures the total girl and boyness of each of us 13 years ago. Even at 30, yes, we were very much like children stretching our wings, taking brief flights across the valley of it’s-getting-to-be-time-to-grow up-already.

In our earlier days, we’d make cards, write poems, or create crosswords or trivia games for one another on V-day. All of that stuff doesn’t happen as much anymore. It’s true. In the last couple of years, our emerging standard has been handing one another a blank card that we have not had time to fill out. Yet giggles and laughs ensue, knowing neither of is ready for the occasion. “I had all of these ideas in my head of what to write or what to make,” I tell Eric, and I do; I did. It’s true.

There are a thousand and one other times in the year when sweet words are written or small acts of love are exchanged, however, so these holiday transgressions don’t add up to anything but a more worn-in type of love, one that is comfortable and can wear slippers and curlers around the house. One that doesn’t need to hide or pretend. That has settled into the ground like a white oak’s branches after they’ve taken root – lengthening, twisting, and grabbing hold of the earth as they grow.

 

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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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