We all go through different stages in our lives. And all of those stages affect us differently. And how we deal with those stages shape the people we become.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when my husband and I were first married, when I was at the ripe old age of 20. Actually, I got married 3 weeks after I turned 20 because I refused to get married as a teenager.
So, at the beginning of my marriage, we had no money. Like I-felt-guilty-about-buying-a-pair-of-socks… no money. My husband had a good, steady job, but I was still in college. So my contribution was minimal. It came when he could claim me as a dependent on his taxes.
You should also know that at the beginning of my marriage, I followed my husband 1500 miles away from my home to that steady job. Away from everyone I knew and everything that was familiar. From mountains to beach. From heavy sweatshirts to bikini wear (and even at that age I didn’t have the abs for it). From sweaty Birkenstocks at the grocery store, to shirtless/shoeless men with ferrets in the meat department.
Knowing that I was completely out of my element, my husband did his very best to make me feel at home. Now, I realize that for most men, feeling at home involves a good bean-bag chair and a six pack of Miller High Life. But my husband went above and beyond the manly/husbandly call of duty. Especially for an Engineer.
He bought me a piano.
I’ve played the piano since I was five. I’ve sung since I can remember. I even went so far as to get a music scholarship to college (which I promptly dumped because frankly it was just too hard). Music was my stress reliever. My outlet. My way to get back at the world in an out-of-tune way when reality just irritated me.
When I married my husband, I realized that I would be giving up my childhood piano and I had no idea when we would ever be able to afford to actually buy one ourselves. And that was okay. I loved him and I just couldn’t wait to be with him. So giving up something that was so much a part of me and replacing it with something that I couldn’t wait to be with every waking minute…it seemed like a pretty fair trade.
But one day, at an estate sale, my husband saw a piano for $200. And he looked at me and said, let’s get that.
Knowing that we really didn’t have $200 to spend on it, I said, Why? It’s not necessary.
And he replied, Because you need it. And I want you to feel like you’re home.
Okay. I know all of you girls are feeling melty.But I really hesitated. Ummmm, water bill, piano? Car payment, piano?
I looked at him (in my divine 20-year-old wisdom) and said, I don’t care what I have. I don’t care where we are. You’re home. And I can take you with me wherever I go.
I didn’t realize until later, how that moment, that realization, would affect me.
At 20, I possessed the naive belief that nothing bad would ever happen. That he would always be with me. That even if we ended up in a cardboard box we’d still be home.
At that age, I never thought I would be without him. I didn’t know that I could afford to have my kids involved in the activities they wanted to be in. That we could eat out some times and not have to worry. That I could have the material things that I needed.
But that without him, I’d still feel homeless.
I’ve had tears because a huge fraction of my family is gone. I’ve thought, He hasn’t been here to see my kids grow up. He hasn’t been here for the first loose tooth. He hasn’t been here to see who I’ve become.
No one else knows about those tears. No one else saw.
But every once in a while I have a feeling. I smile into thin air. I laugh when nothing is funny. I’m inspired by a blank wall.
There’s something in me that knows. I can take him with me.
And I’m home.
Catherine Tidd 2010