Saturday, March 26, 2011

Escape to Girlyville

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:12

What a strange and wonderful land I visited yesterday! I was dying for my favorite Italian restaurant, needed to run a few errands and my car was in the shop. Missing my buddy Debi, I called her to see if we could swap her wheels for me treating for lunch. Always up for a driving adventure, she agreed and met me at the mechanics' office Friday morning. Leaving behind the black and white checkerboard decor and the aroma of tires and motor oil, with lattes in hand, we were off to our adventure!

The errands were ... errands. Debi made them much more fun! Our lunch, however, was divine! I rarely remember my waiter's name (and I always get the SAME ONE); he is usually just known in my mind as, "that dear fellow who brings me gluten-free fried calamari and espresso in a teensy cup." We took turns clutching our collarbones in sheer bliss. We were dining in a lovely world of exquisite food, people who whisper "Pardon me, Miss ..." instead of "Moooooooo-ooooooooom!" and beautifully decorated tables that had no begging puppies near our chairs. *Sigh* It was lovely.

Just when I thought our day could not possibly contain another drop of estrogen, Debi introduced me to the loveliest purse and luggage galleria in the known universe. Femininity, thy name art Vera Bradley! Surrounded by floral walls, gingham over-stuffed chairs and lovely sales girls bringing me bottled water with a label that matched a purse near me, I was overwhelmed! Every article I studied was simply beautiful. I tried to take it all in, but there was almost too much cute for my brain to absorb! This mysterious land was void of cammo patterns, dinosaurs and dog hair ... This was GIRLYVILLE! Over an hour later, I left with the prettiest disposable water bottle I have ever seen and a purse that had called my name. (Clearly, not answering would have been rude.) Even then, I didn't want to leave, but I knew if I didn't, I'd be explaining to my husband why I had a coordinated set of purses, overnight bags, luggage, a picnic set, stationary and an entire beach collection, but I'd sold the car. Hugging the sales girl Claire good-bye, I promised to return again someday. *Sigh* It was lovely.

Returning to the real world of waiting for my car at a nearby McDonald's was quite a rude awakening. Joined once more by my charming sons (who were thrilled to see that mommy bought a bigger purse that could hold MORE SNACKS!), I watched them climb through plastic tubing for over two hours. There was no soft music here. There were no gentle floral prints on the walls. My beverage, though bubbly and delicious, was not in a pretty container. Even my house was more peaceful than this place! Playland, I decided, was the "Anti-Girlyville."

Returning home, I was thrilled to have "just my boys" with me! There is nothing like constant screaming from several children you can't reprimand to make a gal appreciate the life she'd been clamoring to escape from. I hung up my dahlia-riffic new purse on the hook by the front door. Hanging there among cammo-clad hats, Carhartt jackets and head lamps, it didn't "coordinate," but it represented my family. It fit there, just as the four of us "fit" together.

Looking at my house, our artifacts seem somehow intertwined in every space imaginable. I find action figures with light-up flaming heads in my yarn bags. My husband's truck has lip gloss and barrettes in the middle console (courtesy of his wife; the "vehicle primper"). My children graciously (a.k.a. they don't have a choice) share closet space with their loving parents. The dogs have generously sprinkled their dog hair throughout the house (thank God for lint rollers!). While my hubby enjoys a good hike or hunting season, the boys love playing with their friends and I love having girl-time, we belong here. What good is a purse without the crayons inside to calm an anxious child waiting for a shot at the doctor's office? What good are the boys' Lego's without daddy to make the biggest, coolest vehicles with them? What good is a hunting magazine without a spouse to jokingly offer the his and hers pistol set in a stunning pink and black? (Yes, it really was a Valentine's Day catalog special the hubby showed me!)

While I do love to "escape" from time to time, I need the differences brought by the people I love and live with. Not just the testosterone that hangs heavy in the air here, but the differing personalities. I need the perspective brought into my life by my dry-witted, introverted, organized hubby, my inventive, dramatic and hugable Alan and my quirky, enthusiastic, endearing Wyatt. I don't always want it; but I need it. Sometimes I'm sure I take them for granted, because they're always "here." How backwards is that? The mall will always be "there." Even if it closes, they'll put up another one. How long will Alan want to snuggle in my bed on Saturday mornings? How many trips will I have with Wyatt bobbing through the grocery store, proudly holding my hand? How many nights will I have in a bed with a blanket I hate, but a man whom I love? Maybe a lot. Maybe only ONE.

Lord, remind me each day that these dear ones you've brought into my home and heart are a privilege. Thank you for time to regroup and relax. By Your grace, show us all how to complement, appreciate and truly love one another.

In Lenten Love and Friendship,

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