Marriage Isn’t Always Fun (And That’s Okay)

Dating my husband was fun, especially when things started to get serious. We used to talk on the phone for hours, sharing our thoughts and our fears and our pasts with one another. We met early for breakfast and we gave each other loving glances over our coffee cups, soaking up each other’s good looks. We stayed up late watching movies in bed, cuddling close, even on 80 degree summer nights. We were always happy to see each other. Nothing beat those butterflies in my stomach and the excited feeling that accompanied the thought, This is the ONE.

When I hear people talk about marrying their best friend, I internally shake my head at their naivety. Do they really think it’ll stay that way? Dating and best friends are always fun. Marriage and spouses are not.

The thing about spouses, compared to best friends, is that they’re always there. My husband is not just there when I say, Yes, now’s a great time to get together! He’s there when I’m exhausted and need some peace and quiet. He’s there when I’m stressed and anxious and need an (hour/day/week) moment to myself. He’s there to witness each and every time I screw something up (and there to point it out, in case I didn’t notice). He’s there when I have unkempt hair and morning breath. He’s there, asking me to get him a glass of ice water when I just sat down on the couch. Once you get married, the butterflies in your stomach get replaced with a stomping elephant at your side.

After marriage, the constant togetherness melds with all of the crap that just needs to get done. It’s not all breakfasts out and movies in anymore. It’s figuring out how to deal with the woodchuck family that lives in your backyard, together. One of you wants to shoot it with a gun and the other wants to keep it as a pet. It’s installing cabinets in the bathroom, together. One of you loves to hammer and level and cut and the other cries tears of frustration after inserting ten screws because they’re so uncoordinated they can hardly rotate the screwdriver. It’s stocking the fridge and the pantry, together. One of you wants to buy loads of bacon and Fruit Loops and the other wants only organic lettuce and raw pumpkin seeds.

Dating is about getting what you want, but marriage is about getting what you both can deal with without either one of you completely losing your mind. Marriage means constantly teetering on the edge of madness due to the never-ending compromises that have to be made. It’s one of you not being able to sleep unless it’s dark and silent and the other not being able to sleep without the television on. ‘Til death do you part.

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For a lot of people, discovering that spouses and marriages are not always fun doesn’t go over very well. Once they realize marriage is far more work than play, they want out. They give up.

But, not us.

Over time, our hours-long conversations have whittled down to ones that last an average of three minutes, but that’s okay. It’s not that we aren’t interested in each other’s stories, it’s just that we already know them inside and out. At breakfast, we don’t always give each other lovey-eyes over our coffee cups anymore, but that’s okay. It’s not that we don’t still view each other as lovely, it’s just that we already have each other’s faces etched into our brains. Our activities together often involve boring house stuff instead of exquisite dates, but that’s okay. It’s not as exciting, but at least we don’t have to do all of that crap on our own.

I love my husband to pieces. So even though marriage isn’t always fun, even though marriage is work, and, let’s be honest, even though marriage is downright infuriating at times, it’s okay.  That’s just how marriage is. And it’s fine, it’s better than fine, it’s grand, if you just know that going into it.

Marriage is not only full of annoying bits, it’s also filled with laughter and love, giving and gratitude, truth and trust. It’s made of, ‘Thank you for shaving my back’, and, ‘Do you want to have sex?’ ‘I smell.’ ‘I don’t care.’ ‘Okay, let’s do it’, and, ‘Oh my goodness, can you believe what so-and-so’s spouse is like? I’m so glad you’re not like that’ and ‘Honey, I need a hug.’ And most of the time we don’t even need to speak those words aloud, we know each other well enough to say them without speaking.

Not too long ago, a friend of mine snapped a photo of me and my husband when we weren’t paying attention. She looked at it and told me, “I think I just captured a picture that perfectly epitomizes your marriage.”  In the photo, I’m giving my husband an annoyed look and he’s looking pissed off, his head turned away from mine. What makes the picture great is that even though our body language said, irritated spouse, it also said there was more to that story because both of us were smirking. Neither of us knew the other was smiling since we weren’t facing one another.

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I laughed when I saw the picture because it really DID epitomize our marriage. The love and adoration we have for each other is always there, even if we don’t always let the other one see it.

A Sad Reality: Trying to Schedule Time to See Your Mom-Friends

We all know how once we become parents, it’s hard to connect with our old circles. Oh, we don’t think it’s going to happen.  We’re going to get a babysitter once a week, we say to ourselves.  But, reality sets in and we quickly grasp that trying to find time to hang out with our non-parent friends is about as easy as trying to spear a salmon swimming upstream, without having any experience hunting or fishing, and without any sort of understanding of refraction.  They stay up later than us, they watch current television shows, they don’t have to work around nap times and those periodic babysitters are used so we can clean out the boxes in our basements or clean out the gutters, or put in a new water heater ourselves when the old one dies.

But we want to be friendly, we want to have friends, so we like to think we can at least find company with other parents, because they get it!  We list all of the reasons in our head why these new mom-relationships are going to be so. awesome. It’ll be so much easier than spearing fish. It’ll be like attracting ants with candy.

  • They are going through what we are!
  • Our kids can play together.  We won’t even care if they fight or hit each other with spoons.  We will laugh and nod at one another knowingly and consider it all to be social skills training.
  • They won’t get offended that when it comes to listening to them we only have the attention spans of goldfish, because of the constant I want water! Can I have a snack? Kiss my elbow, it’s bleeeeeding! (when it’s not bleeding), I peed on the carpet!  Watch THIS!  Watch THIS!  Look at meeeeeee…..
  • They don’t care that we come over wearing puke on our sweatshirts.
  • Or that we wear the same puked-on outfit day, after day….after day.

In some sort of cruel cosmic joke, realization sets in through a series of scenarios that are reminiscent of Twillight-Zone story lines, and parents soon face the facts.  When it comes to remaining highly social beings after having kids, the odds are never in our favor.

This is what text messages to your mom-friends look like

This is what text messages to your mom-friends look like

HER:   Doing anything fun today?  Are you able to walk to the park at all?

ME:  What the eff.  I’m sick.  I’ve randomly got a 103 temp.  Dying.

HER:  Stay away.  Don’t even text me back.  You sound too contagious.

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ME:  I’m feeling better!  Play date at the park?

HER:  Can’t.  Baby has pinkeye and toddler has hand, foot, and mouth.

ME:  Gag.  At least you don’t have super lice.

HER:  What the heck are super lice??? Do you have super lice??

ME: No!  I asked you to go to the park, remember?? And let’s hope you never find out what super lice are.

ME:  (Although, then you’d get that haircut you’ve been complaining you can squeeze in).

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ME:  Hey!  Up for going for a walk with the kiddos tonight?

HER:  Sure!  We’re almost home.  What time were you thinking?

ME:  5:00? Or earlier?

HER:  Have to run to the store, then make dinner and feed the fam.  5:45?

ME:  Ugh. Baby’s been going to sleep at 6:00.  😦

HER:  Our schedules are so off!

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HER:  Are you guys around today?  Thought I’d try to blow up the pool and can let you know when it is open for business?  Not sure if the kiddo will love it or not, first time trying it out.

ME:  Ohhh, nice.  We are on our way to Potter Park now.  Maybe after nap time?

HER:  Check in later.  We can let you know how it goes this morning.  Have fun at the zoo.  You’re brave.  It’s so hot!

ME:  I’m a warrior mama, armed with sunscreen and wads of cash to buy a copious amount of popsicles.  Text you later, let’s try to connect!

HER:  Hope nap times work so you guys can come over!

ME:  Okay, we are leaving the zoo, napping when we get home.

ME (hours later):  Still sleeping, but probably up any minute. what are you guys up to?

HER:  Kiddo JUST went down, so will probably sleep another hour and a half.  Is this not going to work again?   I can text when he gets up.

ME:  Good lord.

HER: I know.

HER (hours later):  This isn’t happening again, is it?   Are you staring your nighttime routine?  My guess is yes.

ME:  The family is heading to the cottage Thursday to Saturday.  Coffee Sunday morning?

HER: Yes!  Please!

ME (Monday):  Don’t kill me. I think we’re now staying until Sunday afternoon…

HER:  I can’t kill you if I never see you again 😦

I miss you, pal (In mom-speak)

I miss you, pal (In mom-speak)

ME:  Coffee tomorrow evening?  I’m free!

HER:  Yes! Yay!

ME (next day):  I guess hubs is coming home early so can’t do coffee today.  Maybe tomorrow though.

HER:  No problem.  I still haven’t taken a shower and really need to.  Will try tomorrow.

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ME:  Stopping over today after work?

HER:  For sure!  Stopping at the house briefly then we’ll pop over.

HER:  Sooooo baby is in my lap and hopefully falling asleep very soon. I could still come in a bit Or… For SURE come straight from work tomorrow. Sorry. I know my track record sucks.

HER (next day):  I’m agoraphobic. I’ll be by tomorrow. I really will 🙂

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ME:  We are around we are having some friends over tonight. Join? Maybe we will do a fire pit? If you can stay up that late.

HER: As usual, will see how things pan out. I’ll text. And if I have enough energy, although I can’t imagine being out past 9.

HER: (No text later)

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Since you can’t ever actually connect in person, sometimes you just chat via text:

ME:  I’m a train wreck. Eat. Eat. Drink. Gah.  I do NOT want to go back to work yet but I might need the structure.

Bark thins. Supposedly dark chocolate, but I think they are composed of something more addictive, and possibly illegal. SO. GOOD.

Bark thins. Supposedly dark chocolate, but I think they are laced with something more addictive. SO. GOOD.

HER: I remember you telling me about those chocolate bark things… My picture should be my fat stomach hanging out from my camisole but I just can’t bring myself to do it..

ME: Haha! Omg.  SHOW ME.

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HER:  You’re pinching like the tiniest little layer of SKIN. That ain’t nothing. And no, no picture here.

ME: I need a picture. I’m worried I might not recognize you if I walk by you at the supermarket.

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HER:  So I’m planning on swinging by on my way home! 5ish??

ME:  Sure!

HER:  Be there in 3 minutes.

We’ll see if it works out this time.

Marriage: It’s All About Teamwork (With a Dash of Competition)

There’s so much work involved in just pretending to look like being a functional adult, it’s common to feel over-worked and under-appreciated.   There’s a lot of aspects to adult life that really suck.  Taking care of the bills, the trash, the dirty dishes, the piles of laundry. Cleaning up messes, picking up toys, and wiping up spills.  Filling out the never-ending-Godforsaken work forms, the relentless (and often pointless) data collection sheets, the before-work and after-work and lunchtime meetings.  Dealing with the idiot co-workers and the idiot bosses and the idiot customers and doing all of these things without losing your shit.  Day. After. Day.

Being a successful grown-up person requires a crapload of work.  But, being a successful married individual requires even more.

Each person has their own way of doing things and their own viewpoints about what things are high priority and what is completely and utterly unimportant (generally there is an inverse relationship between Partner A’s List of All Things Important compared with Partner B’s).  Negotiating with each other, without compromising your values and sense of self, requires a delicate balance and a lot of alcohol patience.  It’s worth it, though, when we’ve found The One.  Having a companion who we cherish and admire, who loves and adores us right back, flaws and all, is one of the best things on the planet. Out of everyone on this Earth, the one person we most want to appreciate us, and all of our hard work, is our spouse.

Successful Marriage Formula = Love > Annoyance

Successful Marriage Formula = Love > Annoyance

 

Which often leads us to conversations like these:

 

SCENARIO 1: As I’m changing my daughter’s diaper I say to my spouse, “Oh my God, I just got poop on my hand! Quick, hand me a wipe!”

TEAMWORK: Spouse jumps up deftly and passes me a baby wipe faster than you can say, “Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew” five times fast.

COMPETITIVE EDGE:  After handing me the wipe, Spouse casually mentions, “I had WAY more poop on me yesterday morning.  She pooped on me, explosively, when I took off her diaper”.

 

SCENARIO 2: My spouse wakes up in the morning and complains, “I’m so tired”.

TEAMWORK:  I feel badly about the fact that Spouse’s day is already starting out so rough, so I go downstairs and make a protein shake for Spouse to take for breakfast.

COMPETITIVE EDGE:  …but not before I letting Spouse know how much more tired I am first, “I’m soooooo tired.  The kids got up three times and I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I’ve been up since 2:30 a.m.”.

 

SCENARIO 3:  After the birth of our second child (and nine solid months of reflux) I told my spouse, “I’m so glad I don’t have heartburn anymore!”

TEAMWORK:  “Yeah.  Heartburn really sucks,” spouse says, nodding in support.

COMPETITIVE EDGE:  Spouse then adds, “especially when it’s so bad you have to go to the E.R.” (spouse did). “By yourself” (spouse did).  “I know, I feel badly about that,” I concede.  It doesn’t stop there.  “You went out to coffee with your friends” (I did….ok maybe I really met them for a beer. But, shhh don’t tell him). (Spouse’s heart was just fine).

 

SCENARIO 4: A lot of things need to be taken care of in a household.  Yard work. Cleaning.  Finances.  Blah blah blah. Boring stuff that makes you sometimes wish you were a kid again, until you remember that as an adult you can purchase alcohol and no one can stop you from eating nothing but nacho cheese Doritos for dinner, if you really want to.  Adulthood means Freedom!  Unfortunately the road to freedom is paved with endless chores.

TEAMWORK: We each have “our” jobs we do around house.  We divide and conquer, and we do so quite well.  We each have our own things we care about – so that means that everything gets cared for.  For example, I care about the kitchen (dishes put away, counters clean, everything in its place) and the laundry (everything clean and folded and put away each week) and the family fun factor (fun, silly and engaging interactions).  My spouse cares about the finances (long term savings, how much we spend on the electric bill), safety of us and our possessions (doors locked, garage door shut) and the yard.

COMPETITIVE EDGE:  I’m quite sure we subconsciously sabotage each other’s efforts at times,  Spouse leaves 700 (give or take) dirty dishes on the counter directly above the dishwasher each week and always leaves the hand towel on the counter, instead of hanging it back up on the towel rack.  I leave the lights on, in every room, you can retrace my path by following the lit bulbs. Spouse insists (wrongly) that watching television is an interactive event.  I spend hundreds of dollars over budget on frivolous things, then complain that I don’t make enough money. He leaves his folded laundry piled up on the folding table until it reaches the ceiling.  I may or may not sometimes leave the front door unlocked (and possibly gaping open).  This type of subversive competition is the ultimate test of marriage strength: can we, as a couple, deal with the other’s laxity without cracking?

 

SCENARIO 5:  At a certain point in a marriage, there are no secrets left.  Personal grooming that used to happen behind closed doors becomes more of a shared experience.  Over time, people just get more comfortable with one another. And, at least for people like us, we also tend to get more hairy.

TEAMWORK:  One spouse shaves the other’s neck, and back, and fields the question, “Is my back getting really hairy?” with, “Oh, it doesn’t matter”.  One spouse plucks the other’s eyebrow(s).  One spouse gets pregnant and the other needs to help shave her legs ….and stuff…that can no longer be reached. One spouse clogs every drain with the constant shedding of Chewbacca-like tresses, while the other spouse cleans the clogs out on a regular basis.

COMPETITIVE EDGE:  No solid couple can resist letting the other know, “Your moustache needs to be waxed”, or “Your eyebrows are starting to connect to your back hair”.

 

The ultimate measure of a good marriage is whether or not you love the person you are united with more than you are annoyed by them.  If you happen to have that much affection for the one you spend almost all of your personal time with, you are really a lucky duck.  I’m one of those luckies.

 
“I love you”, my spouse always says.  So naturally my usual reply is, “I love you more”.

 

 

Marriage:  It takes teamwork. And, apparently, an underlying competitive edge.

Marriage: It takes teamwork. And, apparently, an underlying competitive edge.

 

You know I want to hear your marriage teamwork/competition scenarios. Let me hear ’em!

10 Things Pregnant Women Do Not Want To Hear Coming Out of Your Mouth

It’s highly likely that you will encounter a pregnant woman at work, at home, at the gym or via your Facebook feed.  While she may enjoy engaging with you on topics such as hobbies, families, work gripes or nursery decorations, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that she may not want to engage with you on everything and everything under the “pregnancy topics” umbrella.

In order to prevent any mishaps (i.e. her hormonal self losing her shit and punching you in the face) – here’s a list of things she’s sure to NOT want to hear coming out of your face.

1) Oh my god, my labor was absolutely horrifying. Worst pain of my life.  She is perfectly capable of visualizing worst-case scenarios in her own head without any help, thank you very much.  No need to tell her some godforsaken story that will haunt her for the hours/days/weeks after she hears it.

2)  I only gained 17 pounds during my pregnancy.  I totally craved organic apples and rice cakes the whole time!  Yeah, you’re a freak of nature.  And also?  An arrogant braggart.  Step away from her and her Cheetos or she might place that crinkly bag over your head and strangle you with it. That is, once she creases the bag into a v-shape and finishes pouring the last of the crumbs into her mouth.

3) Oh my, your bump is getting bigger every day!  The cousin to the “You must be due any day!” comment.  Believe it or not, pregnant women are pretty attuned to their bodies and can tell when their skin is stretched to the limit, their organs are getting mashed and wedged into every available space inside their bodies and can really feel that extra 30+ pounds they are carrying with them every time they take the stairs.

4)  How long are you planning to breastfeed/pump/?  Or any other questions or advice at all related to the why/how/when/where she is going to nourish her child.  It’s none of your freaking business.  Until you’ve lived INSIDE her body and/or have analyzed her genetic makeup and/or lived through her exact life situation, you are in no position to offer unwanted advice or analysis.

5)  Are you supposed to be eating/drinking/doing that?  Unless she’s drinking a six-pack of beer or chain smoking cigarettes, I’d say it’s safe to assume that she’s making sensible decisions for her unborn child, based on advice from her doctor.  If you’re questioning something as ridiculously benign as feeding her baby salty/fatty Cheetos, refer to possible consequence as described in number 2.

6)  When I get pregnant I’m going to _________________.  (Insert eyeroll here).  Yea, shut it.  You have no idea what you’re going to do. Even if you’re already had one, the second (or third or…) time around can be a whole different ballgame.  In reality, you will do what the baby tells you to do. It’s nature’s prep for when the baby is here and is in charge in person.

7)  We’re out of donuts in the lounge.  The horror! The horror!  Even if she’s never enjoyed a peanut-covered donut is her entire life, there might be a day during her pregnancy when ALL SHE CAN THINK ABOUT is swallowing a peanut-covered donut, and hearing the news that the peanut-covered donut-eating-opportunity has been stolen from her can be devastating.  Don’t be the messenger.

8) How are you feeling? Pregnant. She’s feeling pregnant. Exhaustingly, whalishly, hormonally pregnant. She feels like shit and wants to stab everyone around her in the eye with a fork.  Even if she feels happy, she also feels like crying.  Frankly, it takes physical and emotional energy she doesn’t have to fake a smile and tell you she’s feeling just fine.  Don’t steal precious energy away from the baby by asking this question. Unless you want to harm her baby.  Stop harming the unborn babies!

9) Hi Mommy! Okay, hearing anyone other than your own flesh and blood call you mommy is just disturbing as hell. It’s not even sort of cute. Pure creepo, right there. If it’s said in a high pitched voice, it makes her think you might actually be psycho enough to try to murder her in her sleep. Stop creeping her out.

10) Shrimp. Raw chicken.  Mangoes.  Or any other word that conjures up even the notion of a smell so offensive that it makes her literally gag just from hearing the utterance. I realize you may not know ahead of time which word will cause this response (especially if it’s something seemingly ungagworthy, such as the word “dust” or “wall”), so just let the bobbing Adam’s apple be your guide.

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10 Things Pregnant Women Do Not Want To Hear Come Out of Your Mouth

Flu Season Preparedness Tips For Parents (Hint: You’re Screwed)

Flu season is upon us. Flu shots, Vitamin C and hot green tea with honey can help keep the symptoms at bay….for awhile. But, even if you lucked out before, at some point it is inevitable that the flu will wreak havoc through your household.  Vaccines, vitamins and all-natural remedies (can I get a what what for my neti pot?) can support your immune system functions, but they’re not magical potions.

I’m generally opposed to parents complaining about anything related to taking care of their own children. Sleep deprived? No personal space? Have to play with your kids and teach them stuff? And you’re STILL expected to clean your own house? Yeah, shut up. That’s what you signed up for. There are plenty of people out there without kids who have other responsibilities that result in them feeling just as tired and stressed out. And, don’t even get me started on the many who are struggling to conceive who would do anything to have our so-called “problems”.

Except there’s this. Being sick when you have children is a specific type of agony.

Uh huh.  You parents know what I’m talking about.  Being sick is never fun, but when you’re a parent, it brings the misery to a whole other level.  Here’s why:

1)  You can’t rest.  Back in the day when you were sick, you’d stay in bed all day feeling sorry for yourself, sleep for hours on end, and give your body some time to heal.  You might manage to summon the energy to call your mom or your significant other to ask for a home delivery of saltines and ginger ale. But, once you’re a parent, there is no resting in bed. You still need to feed your children, get them ready for school, and then feed them AGAIN for dinner (they’re so demanding).  You also need to make sure they don’t flush all of their toys down the toilet or impale themselves with a shish kabob skewer they pull from a kitchen drawer.  You trying to “take it easy” is exhausting and physically demanding.

2)  You don’t get any sympathy.  In the PK (pre-kid) era, your spouse used to feel bad when you got sick.  They’d make you chicken soup, take your temperature and say sweet things like, “Feel better, babe!”.  Nowadays when you mention your scratchy throat, or cough extra loudly for attention, your significant other just responds by getting pissed off. Gone are the days of getting special treatment and here to stay are the times of getting leered at with disgust and a growled, “Don’t get sick” request/threat. Because chances are, if you’re sick, so are they.  Or, at least on the verge and you being sick means more work, and more exhaustion, for them.

3)  Your body never actually gets a chance to heal.  In the past, an infection would run its course, and be in and out of your system in a jiffy.  No, back then a few days didn’t FEEL like a jiffy, but now you have the perspective to realize that your body used to heal itself with lightening speed.  These days, your immune system is less efficient than the federal government, and you’re lucky if that seemingly harmless cold doesn’t linger for weeks, or more.  A virus that doesn’t mutate into a lethal condition is reason to celebrate. I’m quite certain that the white blood cell count of parents are at a perpetually statistically significant level of elevation, compared to non-parents.

4)  You might infect your poor child. It’s not just about you anymore.  Nothing is worse than a sick child.  In contrast to being completely pissed off when it comes to your spouse being sick, you have nothing but sympathy for your little one. When your spouse gets sick, don’t be surprised if you alternate between thoughts of, “Help me out you lazy bum!” and, “Get away from the baby – what are you trying to do, kill your own offspring?!”

5) You will probably get infected by your poor child if you have escaped contamination thus far. This sucks for multiple reasons. For one, you probably got infected while having face the repugnant task of cleaning up a bunch of puke from the kitchen floor, from the kid’s car seats, or – the worst – out of the heat vent when your kid leans over the side of the bed to puke in the middle of the night. Great placement, kid!  You earn some parenting bonus points if this happens when you’re sitting on the side of the bed, placing a cool dishcloth on your germy bundle of joy’s head, and some of it splatters on your face/lap/in your own mouth. Not only does this make you sick in the Stand By Me sort of a way, but it exponentially increases the chances of you becoming actually infected, and from the looks of it, possibly with Ebola. If this happens to you, suck it up and don’t expect any niceties from your spouse until Spring.

If you liked this post you may also like 10 Key Pointers For Picking A Mate or Ten Tips For Sustaining A Long-Lasting Marriage.

Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food ...

Sleeping On Your Deathbed or Yes, Those Are My Great-Grandfather’s Teeth In A Jar, On My Shelf

Recently my happy-go-lucky, remarkably polite, phenomenal great-grandfather, Ed, passed away.  (How it came to be that someone my age still has (had) a great-grandfather is a story for another day.)  As usually happens, this resulted in a family reunion, of sorts, and a lot of quality time spent with aunts, uncles and cousins we don’t generally get to see much of.  While at my grandmother’s house, a few days before Ed died, we were talking about our individual visits and how Ed looked when we went to see him at the nursing home.  My Aunt Gia said something along the lines of, “What struck me most was how his mouth was gaping open“.  My uncle made a “Hm” noise that seemed to indicate he had no clue what she was talking about.  I didn’t say anything at the time, but I knew immediately what she meant.  I had visited Ed the day before, and when I walked in, I saw him sleeping with his mouth open.  But it was more than that.  His mouth was wide open.  Really wide.  And his jaw was slightly crooked.  His skin clung to his jaw and his lips were invisible.  I actually thought he might have passed away, and no one had yet noticed.  I moved closer, put my hand on his chest – and his chest raised.  We both exhaled.  There was something about that mandible posture that just looked…..deathly.  As his end neared, and his dentures were removed, this just became more pronounced.  His lips were now completely gone, sucked into the chasmal opening of his mouth, his face more skeletal, and the gape even wider.  Still about the same amount of crooked.  It made me wonder, “Is this what my mouth will look like when I am on my deathbed?  Is this just what happens?  Or, did he always sleep like that?”

A few days passed by and then lovely Ed was gone.  But, our brief family reunion continued.  My uncle from California had just knocked out his front teeth (no fun story there, he has had a bridge since childhood, and it broke when he was eating cereal, of all things.  How boring).  As a joke, my dad thought it would be funny to bring him Ed’s dentures. Get it?  He needed teeth? (Sidebar:  There are two types of people.  People who find this type of joke hilarious and people who find this sort of thing repulsive.  If you are the type who finds this repulsive, I probably don’t like you very much.)  Since everyone in my family has a demented good sense of humor, we all got a good chuckle out of this.

But, then I asked, “What will become of the dentures?”  I mean, I’m not a sentimental collector like my grandmother (who would save an empty tissue box for 25 years if someone she loved told her they liked it), but I mean…  these are his teeth.  You can’t throw them away.  He just had them in a couple of days ago.  They were basically a part of him.   These are what could be used by the police to identify Ed, as Ed (I think, although this made me question, could you identify a body from dentures?  Are they as unique as real teeth?  I really don’t know!)  So, the question was asked, “Do you want them?”  I looked around.  Was anyone else looking like THEY wanted them?  I wouldn’t want to take them from someone who maybe was closer to Ed than I was.  Shockingly, no one jumped to claim them.  I scooped them up and put them in my purse.

Incidentally, this all happened right before I was on my way to my cousin’s fancy schmancy wedding shower.  I so respect my cousin, that I followed all of the fancy rules of etiquette and I didn’t even take them out.  Not even once, just to take a peek.  Once I got home, I went into my craft room.  I have about 30 Ball jars on shelves, used as decoration and as beautiful storage vesicles.  I gently placed the teeth in one of the empty jars, as a memory of Ed, and a reminder that even during sad times, it is okay to enjoy one another and to even make a joke.

Do you see them?

Zoom in.

Hello there, Ed!