A cool night breeze floated into the room, giving the candle a little dance. The black summer sky flickered with stars while the glowing moon backfilled the window. Delicate notes from Josh Groban filled the air and we tipped sparkling glasses to each other. He looked deep into my eyes and spoke with a voice like silk, “I smell skunk.”
I did too, actually.
We gave each other an accusing look but moved on. I wondered if the candle had gone bad. He raced to the window to see what the dogs had drug up.
Often we enter marriage expecting a steady flow of candles and sparkling cider when sometimes what we get is skunk.
It’s not the mishaps that define us but the way we respond. In the skunk episode, I got the giggles.
In another absolutely unrelated episode, I was helping my mother move from her wheelchair to the front seat of the car. My job was to stabilize her as she stood and be sure she landed on the seat.
This day, we jigged when we should have leaned and Mom found herself lying across the seat, her back where her bottom should have been.
We looked into each other’s eyes and I could see a clear “Now what?” in hers. Another mishap. And I did it again.
I got the giggles. Both of us laughed until enough strength returned to boost her into the seat.
Once I thought that more than one mishap in a day meant the day was lost to morose self-pity. No more.
Now when things don’t go according to plan, I’m more likely to get the giggles first. I’m not sure that solves anything but it transforms a disappointment into a memory.