I have a strange relationship with a vehicle in my driveway.
We bought Curtis’s Dream Vehicle about a year ago. No one coerced me into it…I was of sound mind and body when we told the hungry salesman, “Yep. We’ll take it.” It was Curtis’s declaration of freedom after years of being tied to a doctoral program and a job that drained him. You’ve got the degree now go get the car. (Well, not the car… the Jeep.)
Curtis isn’t a things person. I’ve never once seen him attached to something tangible. He didn’t grow up with much luxury, so things now are pretty utilitarian. We have this so we can do that.
The Jeep is a little different. He really, really, really likes his Jeep. And he should! Talk about challenging narrow-minded people. You wear ties to work. You like the theater and chorale music and sushi. You’ve never jaywalked. You don’t own a gun and you use big words. You’re a roller skating phenom who reads classics. And…you drive a Jeep? Like a real Jeep, not a mom Jeep. A top off, doors off, lift kit Jeep?
The weather’s been great lately. And with the string of rain-free days, my husband began to methodically take apart the Jeep. First he took off the front panels. Then he took off the entire back. And when the invitation to go mountain biking with friends came his way on Saturday afternoon, the only natural thing to do was take off the doors.
No doors. Really?
“I think I’m going to take the doors off the Jeep before we go.”
That’s what I said. But that’s not what I meant. What I meant was. “Ok. Dummy. I can’t believe you’re going to do something fun when I wanted to stay home and do nothing. I super hate that idea and I super hate your stupid Jeep. Go ahead and have fun with your cool friends. I’d rather die than ride in that dumb Jeep and have a good time.”
I didn’t say what I meant but I did the next best thing. I spent the afternoon pouting. The whole afternoon…and evening…because Curtis took his sweet time having fun even though he knew I was at home feeling not so gracious about the whole deal. And what did I get out of it? Nothing. Except a really boring afternoon and a heaping dose of shame when I realized that I was throwing an adult temper tantrum. Interesting how easily bitterness creeps in when we see people around us do things well.
Curtis is doing life well. He’s more aware of how to communicate unconditional love to me than he has ever been. He’s spending one-on-one time with our boys (more on this later — it’s awesome). He’s pursuing relationships and making a difference with students. He’s taking care of himself and paying attention to details and being present and to top it all and knock me further off my heels…he’s having fun.
Curtis’s renewed lease on life needed to happen not only for him but also for me. I take life too seriously. Some people think they take life too seriously…I KNOW I take life too seriously. If I subtracted all the minutes when I’m not either worried or frustrated about something, I wouldn’t be left with very many minutes. Why not enjoy little things? Why not do something now that you wouldn’t have done five years ago? Why not learn something new or develop a new hobby or be wild and crazy and take the doors off your vehicle on a Saturday afternoon?
We spend a lot of time being responsible parents. Making good choices for ourselves and for the boys. Making decisions to intentionally guide them on the path toward maturity. Setting a good example of how to live and thrive and take care of their own stuff. I appreciate my husband for reminding me that even in the good choices and the guiding and the example setting, fun can happen.
“Mingle a little folly with your wisdom; a little nonsense now and then is pleasant.” – Horace