Sunday, February 28, 2016

Storm. Sand. And unlimited Sammy Sosa's...

Our flight was canceled. 
The one we were supposed to take ALONE on Sunday, 
out of the country to our tropical get-away.

We rescheduled. 

Then that flight was canceled too.

The snow was on its way, in a just a few days, 
 and the state of Maryland was in a pending panic. 

Skim milk was no where to be found. 
Only whole-wheat bagels were left on the barren grocery shelf. 
The local airports shut down DAYS IN ADVANCE.
But yet not one snow flake had fallen from the sky yet...

I had spent the last two weeks getting ready. 

Cooking double meals. Making sure every drop of laundry was done. Toilets scrubbed. Drafting carpool lists. Praying I wouldn't be an emotional wreck leaving my littles as we headed out to the Dominican Republic. I cleaned out a part of my closet so she put her clothes away for the week she was staying here with our tribe. Of course, in my vacation prep, I found myself cleaning out every drawer, because what if, just what if, she needed a pencil sharpener or a razor or a battery or a swiss army knife (back story there) and couldn't find one (enter counseling here...) 

(Side note, if you're dragging your feet on cleaning and organizing your home? Just invite your Mother-in-law to babysit for a week and suddenly you will sort out your underwear drawer (cause she will certainly need to look in there...enter sarcasm and also more counseling here), label the pantry snack bins, and clean under bookcases that have never been cleaned before.)

"We're going on vacation, Jo. You aren't dying here. Just going away for one week," my hubby teased.  The men? They just don't understand what we go through! Amen? 

But I know you Sister-Mamas get it. Because if you have ever left little ones at home to get away for a day or a weekend or (gasp here) even one whole week, then you know it takes HOURS of preparation to leave our kiddos in the care of someone else. In fact, my first thought when I heard both of our flights were canceled was to think, "Well after all this work I've done to get the house ready, now I want to stay home and relax next week!" 

But my husband was going. 
Dead set on getting the heck out of dodge. 

No two-foot snow storm was going to keep him from warm sand and an all-inclusive tiki-bar. Normally I have been the one to insist we go but this time he was on a mission. I knew he was serious and desperate to get away from here when I overheard him securing a rental car and back-up plan that had us driving 15 hours to Miami to catch an international flight out there. It all seemed a like a little too much to me, which is why I gently suggested we rebook our trip or just wait to go another year. 

But that's why I'm writing today. 

To remind myself that the next time I have an opportunity to go somewhere, ALONE, with him, no matter how stressful or busy or snowy it is...I SHOULD GO. And should your husband plan a trip for the just the two of you? And you are faced with obstacles that seem to come out of left field too? Overcome my sister-Mamas! You should go too! The health of your marriage depends on it. 

We hurriedly packed our bags that evening. Our "DeeDee" gave up sleep and drove over here around midnight so we could head out, days before our scheduled trip. We didn't sleep at all that night.  Drove the 2 and a half hours to catch the last flight out of Philadelphia, direct to Punta Cana. We barely beat the blizzard. I had no idea what I had even packed in my suitcase, it was such a whirlwind. 

What an adventure! It was stressful. 
And it was pure heaven. 

As soon as we landed, the warm sun hit our faces and I was so grateful he insisted we still come. Within days, it felt like we were back to being 15 years old again. Back to when we laughed at each other's jokes and kissed long and held hands all day. Responsibility seemed to melt away and we clung to each other like we haven't in years. No kids. No jobs. No women's ministry. Just us and unlimited refills of our new favorite drink, the "Sammy Sosa". We swam and ate. We took really long, beach walks. Played tennis. We drank. We ate more. And read. And ate again. And drank more. And....did many other things that helped us feel 15 again! 

The time away was such a blessing. When we landed on the Dominican Republic, my husband grabbed my hand and asked if he could lead us in prayer. My heart beat fast in my chest. 

"Dear Lord, help us do two things on this trip. Help Jodi and I to be individually refreshed. Give us good sleep. Help us recover. But also help us reconnect with each other. Show us how to love each other better. Amen." 

On our trip, I was really convicted of how much care and energy our marriages require if they are to flourish. Ours had hit a dead spot, not because we didn't care anymore, but because there were (and are) so many things fighting for our attention. All noble things. Board positions and basketball coaching jobs and Bible study leader and field trip organizer. At the end of each day, we seemed to have nothing left for each other. 

I'm praying that I can be purposeful in making sure my husband no longer get my "left-overs". Our vacation reminded me of a quote I heard recently saying, "Action Expresses Priorities". 


Where is your husband on your priority list? He is buried at the bottom under the laundry and the kids homework and shuttling kiddos to and from rec ball practice and piano lessons? Is your husband getting your "best" today? Is he getting anything positive from you? I know that often my answer is NO! I am too tired, too frazzled, or just too distracted to really give him the attention he needs. 

But most of us, God willing, will only have ONE HUSBAND in this lifetime. In what other life will we go ALL OUT in loving him? 

And so if you have the chance, get away with your man. Pronto. Start planning. Start dreaming together. An overnight at a local dive hotel can work wonders if a week away is just impossible right now.  

Be intentional. But make the effort. 

The priority of your marriage? 
It's worth taking action on today 
(and maybe even getting a little sunburned!) 

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