One Thing At A Time


You may or may not have seen the movie Arsenic and Old Lace staring Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane by Frank Capa. At the beginning of the movie, Grant and Lane are newly wed and on their way home (they grew up neighbors) to inform Lane's father and Grant's old aunts who raised him that they've just gotten hitched. They are going to pack their bags and head off to Niagra Falls for a romantic honeymoon (barrel ride down the falls included). Grant teases Lane, chasing her around a tree. Lane giggles and chastises, "But Mortimer, you're gonna love me for my mind too." Mortimer waggles his eyebrows and replies, "One thing at a time!"

Replace Grant and Lane with Roger and Gia...and you have what has been fourteen years of marriage. I feel as if we live that moment around the tree, everyday of our lives together, saying to everyone else, "One thing at a time." Or, at least, that's how we feel. It is how it should be.

But life happens. It gets full. Dead bodies turn up in crazy aunts' window seats (as they do in the classic flick). Life isn't perfect. We don't always make it to Niagra Falls, and sometimes, we're more likely to find ourselves staring into the murderous eyes of Boris Karloff than we are ideal and picture-perfect love.

There have been some really terrible times in the Roger and Gia romance saga. But should you ask Roger and I what the secret to a happy marriage is, we are likely to sit you down and tell you about all our "terrible" times. You see, it's the struggles that refined and made us beautiful. It's the struggle that has bonded, shaped, and is molding a beautiful future. It is the struggle that brings a great deal of value and worth to anything we do, including sharing our very lives with one another and with our children.

The thing I value most about my marriage is the determination to make it work and push forward. So many times, we have been faced with adversity and pain. But those times--those emotional moments--were the most precious gifts:

The moment I first told him "I love you", just a friend, holding his hand on a swing...trying to encourage him and make him see how amazing he was when he felt anything but amazing... 

The moment I accidentally kissed him, having meant to press a quick kiss to his cheek...

The moment when we learned that one simply cannot wash their laundry in the bathtub because they don't have quarters for the laundry mat...

The time we had to sign up for government assistance because Roger had been cut loose from his job--that humiliating moment was a gift, as painful as it was...

The time that we clung to each other during yet another ultrasound showing that our unborn baby was dead--that horrific moment was a gift...

The hug and goodbye before war; the months of long separations; the eating of MRE's because we were attempting to stave off hunger...

When he drove our beat-up Tracker for months using the emergency brake as the only brake because there were zero funds to fix the brakes...

The fear of losing our home...

And then the shock when we learned we could keep it...

The very second we heard Lucy draw in her first breath and they placed her on my chest...

The time that Teddy was so sick and in the hospital and the possibility of cancer was placed on the table...

The second that I walked out of the bathroom and locked eyes with Roger, tears of fear and shock exploding from me, a positive pregnancy test dangling from my fingertips...

All the times that Roger has gently reached over in the night and ran his fingertips down my back, knowing how much I love the feeling, doing it despite how it makes his arms go numb...

The terrifying reality that parenting is the hardest thing we will ever do--harder than war and loss...harder than poverty and growing up...

The night terrors and the searching for imagined snakes under children's beds at three in the morning...

All the puke. All of it. The puke and poop. Just, all of it...

The fear that chokes when a baby's' thousand-degree-hands from nightmarish fevers wake you in the dead of night...

The tears...

The giggles and awe when our babies begin to speak and "sing" and reach for us...

The very moment when you realize your baby has just told you that they love you...

Soaking pillows with tears because we feel like we are failing, both individually and as a couple...

The fights that rock the core of our foundation and last through the night before we give in and reach for one another...

That time when we saved a woman in Wal-Mart parking lot, risking life and limb, flying through the cars like super heroes...

When we almost ended up in jail together...

The moment when you are seriously wondering if you will kill for the other...

All the good moments intertwined with the bad moments have been gifts. 

We have fourteen years of married life together that feel like much more because of the amount of living that has gone into them. And I am so thankful for them. I would not trade a moment of it. Not for more money. Not for prosperity. Not for hopes and dreams to be fulfilled. Not for the promise that from here on out, it will all be smooth sailing...



I'll tuck my hand into the boy's that I fell in love with and take on every single thing life has to toss our way. It's an adventure. Every moment of it.

But the greatest gift of all of them...

Has been the home that Roger and I have become.

He is my home.

So...even when the world looks like it might burn in flames, you will find me on one side of a tree, giggling and jumping just out of reach of Roger--his eyes sparkling with mischief and love. Because no matter what lists or chores or meetings or diapers or children that need tended to line up and demand our attention, we will chase each other around that tree declaring, "One thing at a time!"




Roger,

We are, you and I, champagne and nachos. 


~Gia

And just for giggles:




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