The 4th of July typically involves sparks, and ours was no exception, although the sparks came sooner than expected...
It was a miscommunication--my family was coming for a BBQ at 6, only I forgot somehow to tell Scott that 6 meant they wanted to eat at 6, and were coming sooner than that to put their meat on the grill. So add to that the fact that Scott wanted to convert our grill to natural gas before the party (because the propane was nearly gone anyway) and the fact that things always take longer than he thinks they will, and you have him gone to the hardware store, the grill waiting for a gas line, and everyone in my family walking in the door, ready to cook their food, at 5:40 p.m.
Now, when it comes to my family, food and eating in a timely matter are extremely important. Otherwise, tempers flare or emotions get the best of us. In this case it happened to just be my temper and emotions, but it was in part due to the fact that I know that my entire family is driven by time and food, and the situation I found myself in was a bit more than I could handle.
Keep in mind that it has been a stressful week with Scott's nephew being run over (and as a mother, me being unable to get the resulting images and panicky feelings out of my head), fears about the future of our marriage (more on that later--keep reading), bad timing for my hormones, and the fact that I was hungry and therefore getting more and more ornery by the second...well, if you don't know me well, maybe you can't imagine the result. But if you do, oh boy, it was bad.
Our children drove me crazy all day. Like usual on Saturdays, they didn't want to do any chores, and today of all days, it was a holiday. Mom, can't we just have one day off? Who cares about the family party. They didn't actually say these words, but their actions screamed them. Eventually things got done, but in the meantime, our 11 year old was driving me crazy as usual, because instead of doing what he is supposed to do, he is usually chasing or teasing his younger brothers and making them cry. In fact, as all the children raced to the door to let grandma and grandpa in, one child got "pushed" by another child and there was more crying and blaming, as there had been all day, and I had HAD it, and sent the boys to their room. Then, as my frustration with the whole grill situation increased exponentially for every additional minute that Scott was STILL gone to the hardware store, I hear my sister say, "Oh they have new furniture. I think they've got LESS seats than they used to. And then my dad, "Yeah, especially with all the pillows." I was on the phone with Scott, "Where are you? They are all ready to put their food on the grill!" while I overheard the couch conversation.
As soon as I hung up the phone, I lost it. I don't remember everything I said, but it was about a month's worth of build up with regards to things my dad has said. "I'm sorry you don't like my new furniture and the damn pillows. Why don't you all just go home. I'm sorry you don't approve of the parties we have at our house once a month. I'm sorry that you don't like the fact we told our kids and our ward that my husband is gay. I guess I just can't do anything right."
I stormed off to my room and slammed the door and sobbed into my pillow. Why in the world did I just say all of that? I don't think my sister had yet told her 3 youngest children. Well, I guess they know now, huh? I felt so stupid, so humiliated. Our youngest child came in. "Mom, where is Dad?" "He's at the stupid store." I found out later that he repeated this to my mother a few minutes later when she asked him, "Where's your Daddy, huh?" and he matter of fact replied, "He's at the stupid store." While I was crying, my mom was chuckling at the response of my 4-year-old.
I finally slunked out of my bedroom after Scott arrived home and had the grill hooked up and working. I felt really awkward at first, but everyone just seemed to ignore what had happened, and they were visiting and getting their food out and searching for a pan to cook corn in.
We ate, we visited, we lit a few sparklers and sparking fountains in the street. As the two families and my parents left, they hugged and thanked me, and I apologized, and they said not to worry about it.
But I still felt stupid. Stupid sparks. My brother's wife commented about how it is more healthy to blow up and get it all out than to keep it bottled up inside. Well, I definitely let it all out, I guess. What a day. What a week...
How important are sparks in a marriage? Not firework sparks, not angry lose-your-temper sparks, but sparks--chemistry, love and attraction.
I believe Scott and I still have some sparks between us. At least I feel like we do, and I hope they are not all one-sided.
But what if the day comes when the sparks are extinguished, and we become "emotionally" divorced. Is it better to keep the marriage together, just in appearance, without the sparks? Living in separate rooms with separate lives, but sharing the house and finances and children and grandchildren, but otherwise being alone. No soulmate, no companion, no lover. . . no sparks?
Or is it better to separate legally as well as emotionally, remaining best friends and sharing children and grandchildren, but seeking "sparks" elsewhere, away from one another?
These are questions Scott asked me last night as he had pondered the marriage of another MoHo friend and how it has become like this first situation. And so, he wondered, if we found ourselves in the same situation, would we do the same thing?
It freaked me out. I told him I don't want to lose him. He asked me what I meant by losing him. I said that if we weren't married, living in the same house, sleeping in the same bed, that would be losing him. It was too painful to continue the conversation, and then sleep did not come easily for me.
I don't want to lose the sparks. I hope we never do.
5 weeks ago