6/7/09

His love is bigger than an elephant

Sunday~June 7, 2009





Before Ryan and I got married, I was told it would be nearly impossible for me to get pregnant. Obviously that doctor swallowed her words when not even a month after the marriage certificate was signed, I was pregnant. We were really glad she was wrong.

So we hooked a parenting car to our marriage engine, and started the best kind of train ride. One filled with mystery and beautiful surprises, never knowing exactly where we were going.

Yesterday we boarded an actual-non-metaphorical-real-life train, and witnessed a wedding while the train creaked along the tracks. After the bride was kissed and the applause filled the car, we hugged the happy couple and I joked that it was time for us to leave. Of course that was entirely impossible, unless we were going to jump from the moving train, into the woods, and then walk a few miles to our car.


So we stuck around, riding the train and simply enjoying the view, which is much the same thing we've been doing on our family adventure. And just like yesterday, as I made my way through the train's cars in high heels, there are days when it seems our train is a little too rocky, tossing us off balance.

So we find our footing and do our best to make the experience our own.

And yet, the truth is that Ryan and I didn't get much time to settle in when we first boarded the marriage train. We didn't get a chance to take a look at our luggage and dig through it, spending time together alone. Sometimes that's really hard. That doesn't have to be a secret, because there are things that are really hard in every marriage. To think otherwise and compare, assuming you're failing more than others is a one-way ticket to complete defeat. There are big elephants riding in cars on marriage trains everywhere. Sometimes I take a look at our very own elephants, and they're just so big. When I do that, there's a part of me that wants to jump into the woods and walk a few miles to my car.


But I don't.

I fail a whole lot of the time, but I want to keep riding and catching all the small things. The good things that wrap themselves up in the every day, and grow until they're bigger than the elephants. He wrestles with the boys. He mixes up sayings until they come out as "don't put your chickens in the horse cart," and "it's not brain rocketry." He does the dishes when he sees I look stressed. He moves to another room if his snores keep me up. He cracks jokes that only I would understand, and keeps going if I start laughing hard enough.

He would go anywhere with me, and he doesn't mind at all that he can't get off the train. His love is bigger than an elephant.


47 clicked right here to comment:

Susan B. said...

So true. I feel like a lot of couples I know give up when the train ride gets a little bumpy.We've already had friends get divorced or separated. We've been over some bumpy areas in the tracks too, but we just keep riding, smoother track always seems to be a few miles ahead of those bumpy spots. And what a great ride it is :)

Jami said...

His love is bigger than an elephant. Beautiful. And true. Thanks.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh, I understand this SO much. It is true, too, that so many marriages have several big elephants crowding the space... I think we're all intimidated by another's "perfect" marriage when really they have the same imperfect stuff going on that we just can't see. We had kids really early on, too, (I was pregnant within 6 months) and I wonder how it would be if it had gone differently. I am so thankful for the path we've taken (or just gone along with) and the view we've seen on the way.

Steph

Sheryl said...

great truths here! your man is blessed because you recognize his strengths. and you write about them!!!

have to tell you that when i read about the "train wedding" - i had a little visual problem. i read "after the bride was kissed, applesauce filled the car". i was like, what in the heck!!!

jubilee said...

What a great tribute to your man. Oh, that more couples' love would grow bigger than their elephants.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Exactly.

For the record, we waited 8 years before starting a family -- and by that point, our marriage was such a mess, it barely survived.

There is no perfect road. We all have to play with the hand we've been dealt. (To mix metaphors.)

mrs boo radley said...

God's timing is so much more perfect than we can imagine.

Great post.

xx

Kristina P. said...

We've been married 5 years and don't have kids, and I have to say, I think that we will be better parents because of that. We know each other very well and have been able to just enjoy being married.

sara said...

beautiful post!!!

Carrie said...

Neat post, Heather. We have the opposite experience - married almost 5 years before our son was (FINALLY) born! :) Lots of waiting & praying for us, but God uses all those experiences to draw us closer together. And, also, sometimes the longer you are married with no kids, I think it can get harder to add kids b/c you're used to the way things are. :) Thanks for this post!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

So true. So worth it to stay for the ride!

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Well, you've been reading my blog for a while, so you know how I feel about marriage - all the imperfections, all the disillusionment the world can give us, all the baggage and expectations we go into it with - The wonderful amazing thing it can become if we let God call the shots and if we love with every thing we are.

I could not agree more with this post. Great Train analogy. And how cool that a wedding was on a train! :)

L.T. Elliot said...

What a beautiful analogy of marriage. The part about the high heels and being too rocky--that really resonated with me. (I also liked that you said you can't just jump off. Granted, you meant it physically but I'd like to think of it in the eternal perspective. I don't want to get off this train, ever.)
Love you, Heather. Love you lots.

minnesotamom said...

Agreed! The other day Antique Mommy said something to the effect of "I stay married because, let's face it, who else would have me?" Not that that's her only reason, of course, but honestly, I can't think of another person besides Husband who would put up with all my elephants.

Jen said...

I just love the way you think and the way you write. Thank you for this post.

Heather said...

It's so reassuring to know other people have elephants crowing their train, too. Glad we aren't the only ones moving around those guys to even out the weight capacity. ;)

happygeek said...

Beautiful metaphor.

Muthering Heights said...

This post is completely precious! I love the last line. :)

MidnightCafe said...

This is SO well said.

Mrs. Dunbar said...

I am so glad that you acknowledge the "elephants" and continue to press forward in your marriage anyway. We found out this week that some of our friends are getting divorced. Friends that we thought were the "perfect match." I was so bummed, still am so bummed, and I just keep thinking "What went so wrong that you couldn't work it out?" Thanks for this post. I needed it.

CHERRANNE said...

Very sweet metaphor! A train wedding sounds fab!

Corinne said...

This post really hit home. We were only married a few months before I got pregnant, and often times I wonder if we should have waited a bit longer to have more "us" time... but then we wouldn't have our beautiful babies and our crazy hectic elephant filled life ;)

Kudos to you for a beautiful post. Keep on riding... the ride only gets better from what I hear!

Angie said...

Delightful! I wanted to clap my hands for you and your man. :)

You have such a gift with words, able to create the emotion and beauty of life in beautiful way. I'm so glad you have each other, and I'm so thankful for the glimpses of your life and love you give us.

Jules from "The Roost" said...

What a great post! :)

Cynthia said...

We were talking about a few of those elephants this weekend ourselves. We're so different in many ways and yet it's so necessary to our own growth that it be that way. I'm just glad I've got a man who CAN talk about elephants from time to time. It's really hard for me but he causes me to grow.

I didn't know we shared the 'You'll never be able to have kids' thing. It still took us 3.5 years but we proved those doctors wrong.

You always know how to find that half full glass- but you are also able to acknowledge the half-full part too.

LisAway said...

Such a FABULOUS and BEAUTIFUL analogy, Heather. This post goes in the best of the best.

Sometimes I get so frustrated with the elephants and I feel I don't know how to live with them. So I sit down in despair, and what does that elephant do? He comes right over and sits ON TOP OF ME. And I know I'm going to die. And then, just as I almost do, he stands up and walks slowly away. And Greg offers his hand to help me up. And I still don't feel like touching him, but I recognize the effort he's making, and over time we start ignoring the elephant again. Sometimes we even talk about what a nuisance he is to us both. And we plan for how to keep him from ever sitting on either of us again. Sometimes the elephant just squishes one or both of us up against the wall, but we both know that when the train rounds the next bend his weight will shift and we'll be able to breathe freely again. Good thing there's so much shifting and stuff on trains. If not, I don't think many people would board, or stay on them. But you're right. It's soooo worth the ride.

Luisa Perkins said...

What a lovely metaphor.

Brain rocketry: I love that!

Lisa said...

Marriage really is daily work but you don't know that until you start the ride. I guess there is no perfect way to do it. We were married for 11 years before we decided to take the kid plunge. As a result we are "older" parents and we well remember our selfish, carefree days before kids, which can be hard. God gives us what we can handle and we've got to rest in His timing.

What a cool thing to get married on a train.

Becca said...

This is a great post - I love marriage affirmations! We also had a quick leap from marriage to pregnancy, and though I wouldn't change how things have been (beautiful and messy and poor) I sometimes wonder how Husband would have enjoyed being married to a wife instead of a mother...

But he's handling it with a smile, all these 15 years later, and I'm so grateful.

H-Mama said...

loved this post. well spoken. :)

charrette said...

Ditto every single word of LisAway's comment. I can't possibly say it better than she did. I just want to add that I've been thinking about this very idea A LOT lately...but more in terms of a roller coaster (look for that in a future post). But I love the train analogy. (I reminds me of the ending of North by Northwest, too!)
And I really, really needed to read this today. Thank you!

charrette said...

p.s. I'm so grateful for the three years we had alone together before the kids started coming. I can't imagine adding pregnancy to that difficult first year of life-meshing. Bless you!

Kimberly said...

What a beautiful tribute to your sweetheart, and all you've gone through and will go through together.

I remember my wanting to jump off days, and now, so much further down the track, it's hard to believe how tempting those moments were. His love is bigger, indeed.

Fresh Mommy said...

This was wonderful!! Such a great way to look at it, I completely agree. Seems like you and your husband have a wonderful relationship.. and have come through so many things. I'm sure it's not as easy with having a baby right away! Kudos!!

:)
~Tabitha

Mylestones said...

Wonderful words--loved the analogy.
I can only imagine how tossing kids in the mix before "settling in" would be VERY hard. My hats off to you for making it work and enjoying the adventure. Marriage is nothing if not hard work, but oh so worth it!

Abra said...

What a wonderful post Heather. I love how descriptive you are :)

Lee of MWOB said...

Awesome. The marriage train. But why in the world would you ever ever walk with high heels on the marriage train?

:-)

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

What a great analogy! I love how he messes up the sayings--that made me laugh!

And yes, everyone has elephants. I have never really thought about that before. I sometimes feel like such a fake...like everyone thinks I/we have it SO together...ha ha! It's good to know that we've all got one or two.

Jessica said...

wow, this is beautiful.

love isn't always perfect, but bigger than the imperfections . . . so good.

Deb said...

this is sweet, and slightly weird, and i TOTALLY get it. jack and i met and were married w/in 6 months. very whirlwind-y. lots had not yet been figured out, and boy, were we young. many elephants were riding our train, and they even brought friends!

but yes, true love (and hard work) can tame any elephant (or other circus animal, for that matter!)

Motherboard said...

I knew we were long lost twins. I had the exact same thing happen when I got married. 3 months married, I was 2 months pregnant.

I have often thought that maybe, just maybe, it was for the best.

My daughter became the glue that sealed us together. We didn't have the "memories" of traveling here or there or partying hither and yon... We had something bigger/better to keep us together. A child.

It's easy to compare our marriages to the "store front" images that everyone else portrays, and feel bad. However, I have come to realize that marriage is work, a lot of hard work. And, in the end? It's worth every single bit of it.

Debbie said...

I'm working hard to catch up on your posts. I keep hitting that darn "newer post" button instead of the "post a comment" button. Proving again that I should not blog while sick!
I am so happy for you that you have such a wonderful partner to go through life with. I do as well and I just feel so sorry for those women who don't. I can't even imagine.

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

Reading this makes me want to hug you both.

It is so true that every marriage has big elephants along for the ride.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

so lovely - I can feel the love you have for your hubbie in this post . . . marriage is hard - but each one must work hard to make it survive.

Karen MEG said...

What a sweet, sweet post!

Trains and elephants never sounded so romantic!

susannah said...

my mantra before we got married was "marriage is hard." my poor husband- i can be so fatalistic. through those seasons of hard (we had a great tiff just last night) we emerge richer, better, whole-r people. i love that. so good to be known in the ugly and the beautiful, over time. wonderful post. now, even though marriage can be hard, i think i would say, "marriage is fuller than i ever imagined. makes us both better. shows me what grace looks like in the day to day"

Eowyn said...

People really need to stop posting all of these posts that are making me cry.

This was beautiful.

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