July 5: A Poem: Dancing Embrace

If you were at WalMart tonight and heard what sounded like a group of dying pigs, it was my children playing incessantly with the dog toys. That was actually slightly better then being stuck in the car with them in their post-holiday state of over-tiredness during the Home Depot run. 

The morning after fireworks and festivities comes just as early as any other ordinary morning. In fact, it seems to come even earlier. The children burst into our bedroom in the wee hours of the morning with loud voices, completely oblivious to the fact that we had been sleeping peacefully. The door begins revolving as they come and go, asking about cookies and TV, staying to snuggle a bit and springing back up to run out again. Some days I have every last one of them piled up in the bed with me after Ben has left for work, but I really enjoy mornings like this. Mornings where I can snuggle with the littles as long as they stay, and when the middle of the bed is vacant again, I can slide back across the empty space and snuggle with my husband once more.

Back in college I took a Marriage & Family class, and I vividly remember a chart that displayed statistics on the level of marital satisfaction throughout the duration of a marriage. As you can imagine, there's normally a high level of satisfaction at the beginning of the marriage, but then satisfaction takes a sharp dip during the child-rearing years and slowly proceeds to climb out of that valley and increase as the children grow up and leave the home. Now, this is a generalization, of course, but I remember thinking...

Wow, I didn't realize how much stress children could put on a marriage relationship.

Those would be the naive thoughts of a non-parent.

Because, being in the valley of the child-rearing years as we speak, I can personally vouch for the stress-inducing characteristics of those sweet, wonderful, adorable children. And not only that, but there just isn't as much time for your spouse as there was before. He (or she) who screams the loudest usually gets the attention, and there are lots of small people screaming around here. All. The. Time.

So for whatever odd reason, I was lying in bed this morning thinking about all this wonderful statistical and nostalgic information, and I began to get a picture in my head. I thought about us snuggling over the years, and how there has been more and more children snuggling with us as the time goes by. I thought about how we still hold onto each other even though we have them sandwiched between. I thought of marriage like a dancing embrace, and it went like this.

Dancing Embrace
by Jacqui Roberts

A woman is wed and becomes a wife,
and the couple begins the dance of marriage for life.
That very night at the reception,
they dance and twirl throughout the procession.
The world behind them fades away,
as they only have eyes for each other this special day.
They dance together long and close, full of passion,
forming traditions, creating memories, a bond they fashion.
Their love for one another grows their family, full of joy,
they dance and twirl together, cradling their new little boy. 

But they get tired now like they didn't before;
sometimes caring for the baby is quite like a chore.
The small life requires so much just to live,
but they love that baby and sacrificially give.
Give of their very selves, their time and their breath,
their body and life and would unto death.
They continue to dance and twirl as a family,
adjusting the steps and the sails, toddling wambly.
Three becomes four, and then five and then six,
maybe even more someday will add to the mix. 

Huddled close, they continue to hold each other tight, 
to dance together, sometimes all through the night. 
Holding six together is more difficult then two,
the marriage must bend and stretch and form anew.
The twirling sometimes is choppy at best, 
and there are many days when they all need some rest. 
There are moments it feels like their fingers are slipping, 
trying to hold it all together and at straws they are gripping. 

But there's joy in the mess, laughter and celebration, 
it's not only our arms that are bigger but our heart's admiration. 
For these little lives that have stretched us and grown us, 
that have loved us unconditionally and blessed us and known us. 
Although they'll only snuggle between us for a time, 
our lives will be forever changed once they've left the conga line. 
Our embrace will be closer and sweeter once more, 
knowing what love and life has danced inside before.