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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"

A Blessed Event

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal

Whew! Sorry Iím late. Mike and I were making banana bread. In the kitchen. Together. And were having a grand time doing it, I must tell you. We had to make banana bread because we had six bananas that were just a little too ripe to eat. At first we were a little confused by it. "Whatís this?" asked Mike.

"Those are a kind of fruit. You have probably had them before. They are called bananas. I buy them every week, but the kids have usually eaten them all before you get home from work. You probably had them when you were young and just donít remember."

"Yeah, bananas. I remember you eat them with that stuff that comes in a box. With the rooster on the front. And that white stuff."

"Yes, honey. You can eat them with cereal. Youíre thinking of breakfast cereal and milk. I buy those every week too, but the kids..."

You see, our kids are all off doing their various summer things in various parts of the United States. There was some talk of a whirlwind trip to Europe for one of them, but we have not seen any sign of a passport yet, after 12 weeks, so that may fall through. Anyway, Mike and I find ourselves alone together for the very first time in our marriage. Not counting the occasional get-away. We are a blended family. I had three kids and Mike had two kids (we later had a shared child who cemented the whole crew together and baby made six). We spent our honeymoon in a two bedroom house with five children ranging in age from four to thirteen. For a week. During spring break. I donít know about where you live, but in Oklahoma it always rains all week long during spring break.

We all survived it, but it did set the tone for our marriage. And by that I mean it set the tone for us as a child oriented family, not as a family who spent long afternoons trying not to scream at the children to quit fighting with each other in front of our new husband and scare him silly type of tone. If you see what I mean. It is hard enough to be a newlywed without the added stress of spending a week with six other people in 950 square feet. It will make you or break you. You will either become a child oriented family or you will run screaming for the hills. Truth be told, we should have known what it was going to be like when best man John, then nine years old, tugged the sleeve of Daddyís suit coat as the minister said, "Do you, Michael," and said in a stage whisper, "Dad! Iíve got to pee!"

This week Mike and I have had a taste of what it is going to be like when our empty nest is truly and finally empty. We have picked up, tidied up, washed and folded laundry, sorted closets, worked on the yard. In just seven days we have achieved a more orderly environment than we have ever enjoyed before. We have had conversations. I mean actual conversations about things other than schedules, car insurance, tuition bills and grocery lists. We have had a little trouble cooking in the tiny little increments it takes to feed two people. But we are getting used to it. And it only takes us about 10 minutes to clean the kitchen up after dinner. One sixth of the time it usually takes.

Tonight we dined on Ahi tuna, pot-stickers and salad. It was the very first tuna ever served in this house devoid of either mayo or egg noodles. Sounded fancy to us and we felt fancy eating it. Then we cleaned up the kitchen. Together. We watched a thunderstorm roll in. Together. We wandered around from the living room to the dining room to the kitchen and back again. We did not trip over anything or step on anything sharp or have to pick up anybodyís discarded socks. We were beginning to feel at a loss for anything to do. Until Mike found the bananas and we made banana bread. Together.

I was wiping down the counter top and Mike was washing out the mixing bowl when we said, "Wonder what the kids are doing." Together. Guess it will take us some time to get used to things.


© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
July 14, 2007 Column
Bi-weekly


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