Tag: marriage

promises: those we keep, and those we do not.

11th Anniversary

fresh scratch, ring box

Today the jeweler tenderly cleaned my wedding rings for the last time while I cried right there in the middle of the shop where we had purchased them years ago. Here is the box, wrapped up with a bow and awaiting the day I pull them out and give one to each of my girls. Because this is what they wanted me to do with them.

“Here is a promise that I made. This promise gave me you,” I will tell them.

This summer my husband and I decided that not every promise should be kept.

Our invitations to this decision arrived around the same time for us both and in the form of a simple knowing. A knowing that this long season of doing life together for over fifteen years had taught us all it could.

At first, my invitation scared me – I put it in the drawers of my heart and tried to forget it. I did the hard work to show that invitation that I ALREADY HAD MY OWN PLANS, thankyouverymuch. But, like the beginning of the Harry Potter series, the invitation started to find me everywhere. It wouldn’t be ignored. That knowing – which came as a lump in my throat or a little voice deep inside – simply couldn’t UN-KNOW.

It wasn’t an invitation away from something, but rather toward the next adventure, even though we don’t know exactly what that adventure holds. And so we each decided {with tears! with not always nice words! with frustration! with all. the. feelings!} to RSVP a “yes.”


We will leave this party and make our own way to the next one.


We will let this go.


We will be honest.


We worked very hard to keep this together and – yes – our marital therapist made a gold mine off of our regularly-scheduled sessions the last two years. But we already knew: our lifeboats were coming, and we weren’t going to be sitting in the same one together.

It’s not a tragedy, so we are trying our best to not treat it as such. Was telling our girls the worst thing ever in our lives? Yes. Do I cry about it? Yes. I mean, poor Mr. Jewelry Store today, see above.

But it’s because beginnings – all beginnings – are scary. And I cry because I worry about the ways this will change me and my girls. I don’t know exactly what we will be like on the other side of this knowing. But I have hope.

And when you have hope, you don’t need to despair {much}. Cheryl Strayed said of children, “If we rise, they will rise with us every time, no matter how many times we’ve fallen.” I have to believe her.

So hope is getting me through. Honesty is getting me through. And, damn, my people are getting me through. I was pretty sure I had a tribe of keepers, but there is no denying it now. I have the best friends and have never felt so much like so many have my back. When people say yes to honesty, others see that. They want to keep you moving toward the light. They cry with me, they know when to bring me pie, and their trust in my heart makes me endless amounts of humble and grateful.

Every time I’ve met you here, I have tried to give you something: a pretty picture, a laugh, some sass, a recipe, something. A thank you for showing up. Today is no different. I wanted to tell you this news, yes, but I also wanted to share the things that are helping me through this huge transition, just in case you or someone you care about is leaving one season for the next. Really, fall is here, so aren’t we all?

This podcast.

This quote.

This amazingly brave book.

And this quote from the wonderful film Benjamin Button, which I hear in my head always always always spoken in Brad Pitt’s voice:

I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over.

Sometimes breaking the promise we have made to someone else is the biggest act of courage, because, in doing so, we are keeping a more sacred oath to ourselves.

Thanks for your patience while I’ve been trying to figure out how to share this with you, and thanks for your support as Matt and I continue our most important work together: raising our girls to be strong women.

What’s next? Cross your fingers that my offer on a new house gets accepted…it has the greatest kitchen in which to bring you some new, butter-laden recipes.


ms. fresh scratch







10 {sometimes long, sometimes short} years.

wedding picthen…

Who is that couple, you may ask? Why, that’s me and Mr. Fresh Scratch on our wedding day, ten years ago!

What they say in parenting is also true about marriage, I think: the days are long, but the years are short.

Ten years.

We had a gorgeous wedding, filled with guests whom we love dearly. Some of them we’ve seen countless times since, and some of them not at all. We danced our first dance to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” Our dance floor was packed the entire night, probably because we made our own playlist and were sure to include songs like House of Pain’s “Jump Around!” I mean, you want people to have a good time at the reception, right?! My cousin gave a toast where she told everyone about how I think, “What would Julia {as in Roberts} do?” whenever I’m in a tight spot. My grandparents accidentally lit a tablecloth on fire. Mr. Fresh Scratch danced a polka with his mom. We drove off into marriage-hood in a pink ’57 Chevy, and we honeymoon-ed in Maui.


10 years!
…and now.

But you know what? Marriage has not always been blissful.

Marriage is dang hard, straight-up work sometimes. Um, most of the time.

My old cheerleading pal Jessi had it right when she sent me a book about marriage just before our wedding, and she wrote inside the front cover, “Marriage is no walk in the park.” I remember my eyes opening widely at those words, thinking that my marriage would most certainly be a walk in the park because I was going to make sure of it.

Silly girl!

Don’t get me wrong; we have had some amazing times. We’ve had vacations that will go down in the history of our household as absolutely epic; we’ve made traditions that I love; we have two beautiful and happy daughters. 

But sometimes Mr. Fresh Scratch has been a pain to live with. For example, the year after Teensy was born. Or in the thick of any given school year.

And it turns out I came along with lots of baggage and can be a big, OCD, nag.

Sometimes we have been at a disconnect, a crossroad. And sometimes it has taken a while to move forward from those scary places. That’s the work.

deschutes river, bend

Ten years came at a perfect time. We needed to celebrate surviving that first decade. Because that is what you do as a couple in those first ten years: you survive. Hopefully together.

So we went to sunny Bend, Oregon, for four days without the kids last week. We hung out along the Deschutes River a good bit of the time, lounging in the shade and reading.

After having a mini-mid-life-crisis a couple months ago {read about it here}, then traipsing off to both Hawaii and Europe alone, I had had some time to reflect on where I am in life and where I am in our marriage, and I was ready to put it into words and share it with the Mister.

A’ la Oprah, here’s what I know for sure:

* I spent a lot of crazy energy that first decade, trying to meld us into one being. I thought we would be stronger if we were solid and of one mind on all things and hobbies. Hilarious!

* We are better as two separate entities who come together when it counts. Mr. Fresh Scratch and I are both creative types, and we can be temperamental. We need our space. We need our own hobbies. We need our own friends that the other doesn’t necessarily have to spend time with or, heck, even like. 

* I need to be alone to recharge. Surprise-surprise, but I am an introvert. For me, this means going away from any place near my kitchen or vacuum or family. For the mister, this is simpler: it means going to his music studio in our garage for an hour or two. 

* I need to spend time with my guy friends. Without the mister. Before we were married, most of my closest friends were guys. I thought that wasn’t okay for a married lady, and so the time I’ve spent with them since has been with my husband, too, which totally changed the dynamic of those friendships. I’m changing it back. Because I can. Because I chose to marry him, not any of them, so what is the big whoop?

Thanks for listening – I feel much better!

mother's ring

And Mr. Fresh Scratch? Well, that trip I took to Europe for two weeks this summer really could have changed things for the worse. I could’ve come home to an angry husband who wanted to throw the kids at me and take off into the night and not want to hear at all about my adventures and “aha moments,” but that was not the case. Honestly, it sure could’ve been. I had never left him for that long, and certainly not with two kids to take care of for such an extended period. And also certainly not during a time when we were already sort of disconnected. 

I held my breath and sort of had that unsure, icky feeling in my stomach when I saw him drive up to pick me up at the airport that evening. In moments like that, you sometimes don’t know what you’re going to get or where it’s all going to go. But he was thrilled to see me. Thrilled to hear about all the things I’d seen and done without him. Happy to report that nothing went awry while I was away and that they actually had fun and he got to do it all his way. 

He was also sheepish to report that, while on Pinterest one night {is he the only husband on Pinterest?}, he found this blog. And it changed everything. Make your significant others read it! It’s awesome. 

And he said he loved me and appreciated all that I do for our family. He promised to never let me unload the dishwasher again {I haven’t in almost a month! Think it will really last forever??}, and he bought me that pretty emerald and diamond ring {our girls’ birthstones} to stack on top of my engagement ring. I’ve only been wanting it for five years; this was clearly a big deal and a turning point in the road. 

Does this mean that we are free and clear of troubles and arguments and tears? 

Uh, no. But it’s a good start at renewal. It’s a good place to be. It’s a good point at which to jump off into the unknown of what the next decade holds for us and our family. We are both lighter {my baggage has been checked, thankyouverymuch} and heavier {so much stuff has happened in ten years!}, and, so far, we’ve made it.

But will we ever fit into those wedding clothes again? Probably not.