Give up a little.

I’m going to talk a bit about marriage. If you haven’t started rolling your eyes yet, just give me 2 minutes. Hang in there.

My husband and I are entering our 10th year of marriage. It does not get easier. It’s a little like the sand in the bottom of your shoes at the end of a beach day. Persistent and sometimes annoying and mostly, a lovely reminder of that great day at the beach.

And then there’s the changing. No one is ever done changing. As Michelangelo said at age 87, “Ancora imparo. [I am still learning.]”

We were 25 and 32.

We are now 35 and almost 42.

A lot of learning happens. A lot of changing happens. And yet, we’re still here.

The thing about binding yourself in perpetuity to another is really the whole permanence of it. Our generation is not one of sticking. We are into growing and changing. We are into development. We are into our kids; epically into our kids. We are not so much into ourselves. We are not so much into each other. Therefore, we stick like those craft googly eyes to yarn – not very well.

Many of our parents divorced. Hey, we all turned out alright. And, we did. It’s true. We turned to Annie and The Neverending Story and E.T. – the real-life stories of broken homes healed us. We found a way to be resilient. And it worked because our parents were happier apart than they were together. We learned that if you cannot be happy in your own skin, you should never inhabit the skin of another.

And like elephants, we remember.

Marriage is hard. It’s give and take and mostly, it feels like you’re the one doing all the giving. Of course, both parties feel this way. It’s love and unrequited love and both parties take turns feeling the pangs of rejection. It’s the day-to-day with small children and nights when you want to talk, but, then sleep wins. Because sleep always wins.

It’s sex and no sex and not enough sex. The sex, it matters.

And it’s hard. And, it’s wonderful. And, it’s fucking hard.

Then, there are times when you come to a cross-road. It’s not about one thing. It’s about all things. You look at that face you know so well and wonder if you really know it at all. You do a lot of wondering…

The changing is happening every moment. You have very little control over how you change and how you grow. You just do and you expect the people you love to come with you.

Sometimes, they don’t. But, sometimes…they insist upon it.

I’ve only packed a bag once and I meant it.

And yet, we’re still here.

It’s not perfect and it never will be, but, it’s really quite beautiful in its difficulty.

My husband and I had a stand-off last week; a This Is Who I Am vs. I May Not Like Who You Are Becoming. It was intense and there was no give.

And then, there was give. Because someone gives instead of giving up. It’s part of the growing. It’s not all synchronized swimming. It’s bloody knees and stopping to help each other back up.

This is my marriage. It’s ugly and beautiful and hard and ultimately, perfect.

But, it’s never easy.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Off the grid

A few weeks ago, I got “the itch”. I looked around my domicile and every square inch was covered. The tops of cabinets held dusty artifacts that had long ago become cozy homes for spiders. Cabinets were as packed as my pants. There was no room at the inn.

The thing about stuff is that it permeates every pore of our idea of what home is and all of our empty spaces beg and plead to be filled. We happily concede away from minimalism. We are all collectors. We are connoisseurs of life’s flattened pennies. Things = time and time passes quickly.

I started with the goddamn kitchen because that’s what I call it. The goddamn kitchen was full of the mother I want to be. The stand mixer that I’d never used. I took it out and I let it go and with it, I let go of my dream that one day I would be the woman making 15 dozen cookies for my son’s soccer team. He hates sports. I burn cookies. The english stoneware tea set I found at a hospice store in Burbank before my daughters were born. I was so sure we would have a tea party with real tea cups. It turns out, I am not the mother who plays tea party with real cups. “Let me go!”, they said and I did because some dreams have to die, or, be shipped to Chicago to another mother who will find the cups and saucers’ true calling.

And for days and now weeks, this practice has continued. Letting go of the small toys that their big hands no longer touch. Letting go of the idea of who we are and who they are. We were frozen in time, tied to dusty wooden train tracks and clinging to the dolls with dirty faces and unbrushed hair.

And my closet…dear Zeus…my closet. A time capsule of forget-me-nots and 4 inch heels and sizes my hips would burst through like the Kool-Aid pitcher through a brick wall. I need to make room in my closet for the body I have because I love it and it deserves its time to shine. It’s hard to find space for the new you when your hangers are pressed against a size 4 teal number that looks like I stole it off of an extra on the set of Showgirls. I am not that girl anymore. Wait, I’m that girl’s much older sister and, while she is still there, she is not living fully right here and right now and my closet was a fucking living memorial to my 20s. I flung things on to my bed and when I was done, I kept the glitter zebra print Pat Benatar shoes because you’ll have to rip my beating heart out of my chest first.

This process is intense and really quite beautiful. Every day, we learn to let go and the fear that kept us clinging to these things is gone. The fear that says, “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. This is who I am and I can’t let that go.”

“They’re JUST things.”, I’ve been known to say. But, I know it’s not true. They are pieces of a life built and they mean something. They mean a great deal. But, there is a difference between reverence for the past and being held captive by it.

We’re not done. Not even close. A little bit, every day, we watch our rooms and home transform into our present selves. It’s inspiring and it’s exciting. Seeing how much space we have to grow into the next chapter. What is going to fill that spot of the stand mixer? Probably a recessed wine fridge. Yes, change is good.

I may even wear those zebra heels next week. To the market. On a Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. – just to pay reverence. If for no other reason than the fact that after the great purge and a great reconciliation, you should really embrace and honor the things you keep. A reminder of how far you’ve come and how damn good your ass looks when you wear heels.

"There's no place like home. There's no place like home."

“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”