The title of this post could also have been “Learning to Like the Smell of Guacamole.”
My husband and I fell in love in a classic way. We lived in two different cities. I was visiting a friend and we stopped by a shop that offered books in every foreign language imaginable. I saw a guy working at the cash register who I knew in one second was the man of my dreams.
Ben, who speaks 10 languages fluently, was a graduate student at Harvard. I worked up the courage to speak to him. I told him I had an interest in Celtic languages even though I had never really thought of them until I met Ben that first time in the bookstore.
Now, nearly 15 years later, we have lived in two countries, four different states, crossed two major oceans, and have one glorious child. It sounds magical. It still is, but not always. We have also changed jobs, received news our child would be born with an extra chromosome, started life again in new cultures partly because of the extra chromosome, lost family members, and survived the challenges of Ben’s recovering from an out-of-nowhere stroke at age 42.
Real life, is, well, real life. Long ago I lived in a monastery. I loved the simplicity. I had one desk, one chair, one bed, very few clothes, a radio that I played only two hours on a Sunday afternoon, and maybe 20 books. I shared a bathroom with other monks. We ate our meals together. Once a month on a Friday evening we all gathered in the library, prayed, had cake and decided on which television show we would watch that one time for that month.
It’s hard to live that way having a spouse and a young child. At least once a week my husband and I have the The Merits of Accumulating versus Decluttering discussion. He loves to fly. I could live on a boat. He loves guacamole. I do not. He is a voracious reader of science fiction. I like biographies. I turn off lights whenever I can. Ben sighs when the house becomes darker.
The list could go on, but living together as a family is about compromise. And rediscovering pink and white terraces.
I recently read that the eighth natural wonder of the world may have been found again in New Zealand.
Cascading pools of water that flowed over pink and white silica terraces into Lake Rotomahana once awoke excitement, awe, and devotion before they were buried long ago by a volcanic eruption.
How many marriages where everything flows in the beginning of the relationship are lost to inexorable mudslides of the daily grind or inability to tolerate guacamole?
Is it not better to look past the mud and be open to falling in love all over again?
Of course! It may entail losing control, letting go of old dreams but maybe finding new ones, forgiving each other, and remembering gratitude for having someone to share the victories and losses.
And never giving up on finding pink and white terraces.