When we get married, we make a bunch of promises. Some we make in front of God, legal authorities and our Aunt Bertha. Some are lovingly whispered in a car late at night in front of your apartment. There are even some politely demanded before any sort of engagement takes place.
I think the ones that give us the most trouble are the unspoken promises we assume our spouse is making to us when he promises to love and honor us for the rest of our lives.
Love. This includes making the bed together every morning with the occasional zany pillow fight thrown in for good measure, undying passion and of course squeezing the toothpaste from The Right End.
Honor. This includes supporting us in all our endeavors, not letting the kids ever talk to us “like that” and never asking if the fudge brownie fits in with our weight loss goals.
Before Dan and I got married, we promised a lot of things. Some of them we’ve delivered on and many others are a work in progress. When I said I’d stay home with the kids, he may have envisioned some sort of eternally clean palace of domestic bliss and constant learning. It’s… something like that.
One thing Dan promised was that he’d go camping with me and our future offspring. At the time we did not have kids so he had no idea what he was getting himself into. I also think he hoped I’d never call him on that promise. I assumed that promise meant he’d go camping and LOVE it, he’d plan the trips, buy the Jiffy Pop and pack the waterproof/breathable jumpsuits. He thought it meant he’d go camping.
This weekend I finally got my act together and we leeched onto some of our friends who are much more experienced hardcore campers and off we went. When Dan promised to go camping, I don’t think he knew I meant in the rainy cold weather. I don’t think he pictured a night where a freaked out 2-year-old would sleep between us, sitting up periodically, screaming, head-butting us and then screaming again while we tried to comfort/muffle him.
I also don’t think he imagined how much Laylee would love it. From the moment we arrived at the campground, she was a ball of joy, hugging us, declaring her love and begging to go camping again every day and forever. We ate great food, spent time with wonderful friends, slept in a beautiful forest, saturated Western Washington with hot chocolate, grew closer as a family and were not eaten by squirrels.
There’s almost always more to a promise than what you intend when you first make it. Luckily most times, like this weekend, most of the more is the good kind of more, the kind of more that makes you want to promise again.