Disney movies always show the romantic side of relationships. Forest animals frolick, brooks babble, and invisible orchestras serenade the princess and the prince off to a faraway castle to live happily ever after. The movie ends, and your 8-year-old self sighs and eyelashes flutter. Years pass, and the princess is now you, driving in the shiny white Nissan Titan to the townhome you now have moved into with your prince. The marriage is just several weeks old into happily ever after, and you begin to wonder why the Disney movies never showed Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Ariel, Whatever-Other-Fantastical-Princess-Name living the day to day life in their kingdom.
Your wondering only lasts maybe a few seconds, because you've just sat down on a toilet seat that doesn't have the seat part down, and the feeling is probably the next worst thing from stepping on a slug. Maybe even the same, depends on how long ago you cleaned that sucker.
You come back from Target for only the 5th time that week, and it's only Wednesday, (which is normal, right?) and your husband innocently asks you what you bought. Immediately, you enter the imaginary boxing ring because surely he's asking you that because he knows you have 5 shirts all the same, just different colors, and you don't want to get caught. So you freak and kinda yell crazy-like saying, "Why? What's wrong with Target? You bought a power tool last week! So there!" And off you flounce up the stairs and wonder why on earth the invisible orchestra isn't heard in the background.
And then you wake up one Saturday morning with a searing pain in your right side, and you wonder if you have appendicitis, an ectopic pregnancy, anything that could possibly kill you in 4.9 seconds because you are a nurse and you always think the worst.... You sit there rocking back and forth, trying to vomit but can't. Try to poo, thinking maybe you just ate too many chocolate covered almonds from Target, but no such luck. So off the two of you go, in the brand new Nissan Titan to the emergency room. All this craziness for a kidney stone, which at the time felt like the worst pain of your life... and thank sweet Jesus you didn't know that it was most definitely NOT the worst pain in your life, especially after squeezing two 9 pound sweet babies out several years later. Ignorance is bliss. And you see the concern on your new husband's face, and you realize he really does love you, even though your breath stinks in the morning and you are really the worst dish-washer/laundry-doer/toilet-cleaner/house-cleaner in the entire world.
You drive home, thinking enough drama has happened for the day, when a car nearly takes both of you on to Glory. The good ole white truck is nearly totaled, but you and your Gilbert are safe.
You stay up late on nights he coaches football, worried sick when you can't reach him and just as mad that he won't answer....and all is right with the world when he gets home and falls into bed to do it all again the next day. You sit in the stands with the other coach's wives, cheering for the boys and hoping no one realizes you have absolutely no clue what you are watching.
You work those 12-hour-shifts and the two of you are like 2 ships passing in the harbor...and you drift just like those ships that first year.
The happily ever after seems to shatter along with your glass slippers. You don't know it now, but this is the way Ever After is supposed to be. Not happily, because that is a fleeting feeling and dependent on circumstances. It's a holy growing of two souls. The giving and taking, sowing and reaping, crying and laughing, all intertwining into the dance that was choreographed before the dawn of time. The dance of a husband and wife in all their imperfections, choosing to love the other each day, even when they don't really like each other.
The movies don't show the Ever After for good reason. But we get to live it and grow into the parts that our Director crafted for each of us. That first year was so good-hard, and I would choose my prince over and over again. Even knowing that the glass slipper wouldn't fit over my swollen feet just a few short years later....
~To be continued~