Saturday, July 11, 2009

No Upgrade Please

Doesn't this couple look fabulously relaxed? It's amazing what a half hour nap, 8 hours without the sound of crying infants, dinner with no chubby little fingers grabbing at your food, and an hour watching the sun set from a beach-front swing will do for those stress wrinkles.

Grandmama and Granddaddy offered to keep all three kids while Doug and I went on an overnight Friday trip to Alabama. We haven't been alone overnight since...December 28, 2006, the night before Wyatt was born, and that was one miserable night of slowly increasing labor pains.

It was a good trip, even if it started out rather rocky.

Since Doug's Jeep is slowly dying, we rented a small car, but when he went to pick it up, he was "upgraded" to a larger Dodge Nitro. None the wiser, we took the vehicle, dropped off the three small dictators, and then discovered "free upgrade" meant "no cruise control" for our 4 hour trip.

Then, I learned Doug hadn't brought his Ipod, so no music for the entirety of the trip. But, very quickly, the silence of an Ipod-free world turned into an entire trip worth of talking and catching up without a toddler saying, "Don't talk, mommy!" Hmmm...another "upgrade" of a sorts that we were better off without

Upon arriving at the resort around 4 pm, we learned we'd been placed in the "Spa Building," the newest post-Hurricane Katrina building. The problem was it had a view of boats in the marina, not of the man-made sandy "beach" on the bay that we remembered looking upon from our balcony a few years ago. A call to the front desk let us know this was a "free upgrade" because we were in the newer, more spacious rooms.

As you can guess, we declined this upgrade in lieu of an "older" room in the North Bay Building. Sure, the room was smaller, the carpets more faded, the balcony door a bit more difficult to open. But there were the memories of us in almost that exact room about 5 years ago--young, in love, no children, and two very bright career futures before us.

As Doug surprised me with chocolate-covered strawberries, I couldn't help but think the difference 5 years has made. He's a lot skinnier than the guy I married. A lot less hair. A lot more wrinkles. A career future that isn't quite as bright. A lot more emotional scarring.

And I had the horrid thought that the world would also want to upgrade him, replace someone who has dimmed with age with someone flashier and new.

Then, at dinner, we sat by an elderly couple celebrating their 40th anniversary. They had weathered the economic highs and lows of life, the "for better or worse" of marriage, the all-consuming trials of raising children.

After dinner, my hubby and I strolled hand in hand down the boardwalk and lazily sat in the swing for over an hour until the mosquitoes drove us inside. But as we returned to our room, through the candle-lit glass, we saw that couple still sitting there, lingering together over their meal. No upgrade for them.

As with all good things, our getaway ended all too soon with a return to the "crying-normal" at our house Wyatt and my parents enjoying the gift of those remaining chocolate-coated berries. I think Wyatt enjoyed them most of all. "Oooooh, I love chocolate!"

But more than that, 24 hours served as a reminder that I love my husband for how God made him, less hair, quirks and all. We don't need an upgrade at this house, either.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jenny,
    What a sweet post this is to read, it actually brought tears to my eyes, as you mentioned that your Doug looked more skinny, had less hair, more wrinkles, less promising... my own Ernie, after 30 years of marriage had grown fat, lost all his hair, had health issues... we had our struggles and our differences, times when I wondered if I had made the right choice... then as the years went by we found our lives blending in beautifully, we became a team... and just when it was becoming really beautiful, God took him home, just 7 months ago.

    Thank God, I had the privilege of writing him a letter on our 30th anniversary when God brought us to spend one year in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and little did I know that it was our last year together.

    If you want to read it, here's the link:

    You have a beautiful heart. I know God smiles when He looks at you.