Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Red Shoe Revelations: Part II

Okay, so I broke my promise.  I should know better than to assume that any day will go the way I plan.

I am hoping you will forgive me when I tell you that instead of revealing my RSR:II yesterday I was busying learning the two-step with my adorable husband.  

This was a pretty major night since we have never, in our two years of marriage (and 7 month dating/engagement period) danced together.  Never.

Not once.

Until last night.  

We were both TERRIBLE, but we had a blast.

So now, on to last Saturday evening when I donned my Exhibit B shoes.

For Christmas, Andy surprised me with tickets to the Pacific Northwest Ballet's presentation of the Nutcracker. 

I really wanted to go before Christmas, but we decided that financially it wasn't the best use of our money.  Instead we made a plan to go next year as a belated anniversary celebration.  Do the whole dress-up, dinner out thing.

I was okay with that.

But I was even more okay when I opened my presents on Christmas Eve and discovered two tickets that Andy had sneakily commandeered by way of my equally sneaky mother. 

His hard work at making it a surprise was almost blown when Ellery wanted to tell me about the tickets early.

But that has nothing to do with my red shoes, so we'll save that story for another time...

So, I finally got the tickets and Andy's mom, Angie, offered to watch Jack.  

Earlier in the day I had been totally drenched in snow-muck, so I was so excited to redress and give the day another shot at being cute. 

Plus, what woman doesn't like to dress up when she goes out with her hunky man?

My mom had also given me a very swanky black jacket and I put it on with my red heels.  I remembered the afternoon's debacle, but my vanity won out.  I was determined to be fancy for the fancy Nutcracker.

So I got all dressed and pranced around the house, preening for Andy and his mom.  My heel-walk saying, "look at me, look at meee!"

We made our way out of the house and down the steps...

But my first step onto the side walk sent me right back up the stairs.  

I just KNEW that it would be foolish to try and make it through an evening with those shoes on.  
Another day would be fine.  But Saturday was just too melty and yucky.

So I went back upstairs, put on my ugly, snow-safe, clogs and then traded my swanky jacket for my still cute, but not special occasion worthy, green peacoat.

During my quick change Andy had warmed up the car and was waiting for me right outside our door.  I got in the car and he sympathetically said, "I'm sorry honey."

He knows how much I like being dressed up, and he knew that the weather was putting a serious damper on my style.  

But here was the moment that I had the chance to choose to either pout, and have my evening spoiled, or just roll with the punches.  

On our last several dates, 
I am ashamed to admit that I have been 
the most unpleasant version of myself.  
I have given into tears and tantrums 
and carried a dark cloud into our rare times 
without a babe.

I don't know why I kept doing that, 
but it was becoming an issue and I resolved to stop it.  
What husband is going to want to keep taking his wife out 
when all she does is complain and cry 
when he tries to do something nice.  
It just doesn't make sense.  

So there I was, in the ugliest pair of shoes that I own, on my way to the most extravagant outing, probably of the last year. 

But when Andy said, "I'm sorry honey," something clicked for me.  The dressing up is my thing.  Andy doesn't need me to be all dolled up to have a good time.  He just needs me to be happy and comfortable and companionable.  

Truth be told, he probably doesn't think those shoes are all that great anyway. 

So when I got into the car, I made a choice to not even mention the shoes.  I would carry myself and behave as if I was the hippest girl around. I would smile, I would laugh, I would flirt with my beloved.

And can I tell you what!

My decision to enjoy myself, regardless of my appearance, was honored. Our dinner conversation was significant, full of hopes for the New Year, thoughts on the state of the Church, musings of how we as a family can have a greater impact for the Kingdom of God.  

And our car ride was peppered with mutual admiration for each other.  My lighthearted attitude provided an open door for Andy to express his gratitude for something I had done earlier, a small act that had made a big impact on him.  I would never had known if I had let the storm simmer.

And while Andy was totally miserable at the ballet (he fell asleep in the first act) we both, with unspoken unity, resolved that the night would be a fun one.  I didn't shame him for sleeping, he didn't grumble about being there.

In the past I have let the small things become large.  I have let my evenings be spoiled by unmet expectations or minor offenses.  I have decided to be mad. 

What a waste!

I can build the habit of happiness.  I can make the choice to set aside my ideas of "perfect" and enjoy what is.  

For this New Year, I want to train myself to be content.  To choose levity.  To breath life into my husband and son with the words I speak and the peace I promote.  To be unruffled by the minors of this world.  

So, my dear red shoes, thank you for this lesson.  I am sure there are many more to be had.  But I will take a day, or month or lifetime to soak this one in.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that."  
1 Timothy 6:6

Happy New Year!


Kel said...

I hope it is ok that I used your blog for my devotion today. I shouted 'AMEN' a couple of times and got teary and definitely felt convicted. I think that constitutes as a little devotional.
(I'm a friend of Emily G.)
Glad I popped over to your blog! =)

Michelle Ferguson said...

I have probably said this before, but I LOVE your transparency my friend. I can SO relate to what you said about choosing our attitudes, not focusing on the small things, the expectations that fall short, etc. I am also prone to being a terrible version of myself with my wonderful and patient husband. I am glad to know I'm not sure the only one who struggles with such things and resolves to change :) Quite lovely to read the results of your resolve!

Annie Parsons said...

You write so well, Emily. And you are a shining example to me of what is important, and what is TRUE, and what is going to make my someday-maybe-future marriage work.

Clogs are totally ugly. But yeah, I wear mine sometimes, too. :)