Monday, May 17, 2010
Mister loves gum. Really loves it; asks for a new piece every time we get in the car, which means he could has five to ten pieces a day if I let him. A year or so ago, while he was staring out the window of the van, watching the telephone poles that connect us to the next town and Wal-Mart, he announced, “The world is whole full of bubble gum. I wish it rained bubble gum.” I could just picture him in his bubble gum heaven, catching what fell from the sky in his little hands and blowing bubbles as perfectly rounded as the back of his head.
While I was downstairs yesterday, Mister hit up Daddy for ‘da tind dat isn’t spicy, da pink one, da one dat tastes duud.’ Before I rounded the stairs I could hear the smacking. Like a herd of cattle in a spring meadow. Chewing with force and conviction and open mouths.
“Hey guys, remember, if I see or hear your gum I take it,” I reminded, in the interest of both manners and sanity.
Sis looked at me, and said, with saliva easing from the corner of her mouth, “Dad says that right after you got married you told him to stop smacking his gum.”
“Did you say that?” I asked my husband.
“How else would they know?” he smirked.
“Mister thinks Dad should get to do whatever he wants,” Sis added helpfully.
I rolled my eyes. It was a sugar-free mutiny, approved by nine out of ten dentists. I knew I could not win. I would have to patiently wait for Monday morning and the end to weekend power sharing with Dad. Monday morning would be gum free. Monday morning Dad would stroll out the door and pass Mean Mommy on her way in. Drab cleaning clothes. Stern face. Worn hands and sensible shoes.
The rest of the day I kept seeing a vision of my husband on Day Two of marriage. Fresh faced and hopeful. Ready for adventure. And I began to make a mental list of all the things he did not know he signed up for. Not because I was dishonest or misrepresented myself while we were dating, but because the process of building a life together kicks up dust. And how could I have known I was allergic?
And I thought of the passage from Philippians that was read at our wedding and has been worn and oiled by subsequent re-reads. It lays a foundation for beautiful relationships built on humility, sacrifice and the example of Christ. Who, I am sure, was not a gum smacker. I can almost guarantee it.
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4