ronald mcdonald and my marriage.

There is something tragic about a McDonald’s drive-thru window. Like, I’ll take a hamburger and some chicken nuggets and possibly a lecture about healthy living and positive decision making, you know what I mean? So there we are, in the McDonald’s drive-thru, hungry and super irritated with each other. We’re already an hour late to a picnic with my family, and Sam is ordering food because he “can’t make it” to the park without eating something first. This makes sense, mind you, as it happens to be 1:30 p.m. and neither of us has eaten anything yet today. (Also. I would never live like this on my own. I love to eat. Love. Sam eats about once a day, twice if you count a bowl of popcorn.  After 5 years of marriage I sometimes roll the same way, and I can’t believe it, and how long can a girl even GO without an elaborate weekday breakfast? Come on!)

We haven’t eaten yet today because it took us forever to get out of our house to meet my sister and mom and some of my nieces at a park for lunch, for which I have packed a sweet little picnic, except now we’re going to be an hour and a half late and WE’RE SITTING IN THE MCDONALD’S DRIVE-THRU.
So. We are not going to the park.
It’s too late, everyone else will leave before we can get there.
No, I say, don’t order me any food. I hate this place.
And I am super mad.

Sam hands me a hamburger.

I devour it. Sheepishly. Wolfishly.
And in a surprising turn of events, Sam makes a plan.
The thing is, I’m the idea guy in our relationship. I come up with grand, complicated ideas, and Sam makes sure all the details get ironed out. When things aren’t working, it’s Sam and Clara whose (ridiculous) tempers run the show, while I rustle around for plan B.

But today,
today,
Sam Horney has a plan.
And I saw that plan,
and I called that plan good.

We gobbled up our burgers, then stopped by our house to grab the camera and the picnic blanket I’d forgotten. We drove 20 miles out of town into wine country, situated deep in the Snake River Valley, on the rich soil of the Bonneville Flood Plain. Our freshly washed car collected the dust of a winding gravel road as we climbed above the sloping patchwork of grape vines. Sunlight filtered through barren trees and looping cirrus cloud trails, warming the shocked white skin that peeked out our t-shirts and shorts.

We unloaded our baby, paid the ladies in the shop for a bottle of riesling, smoothed out our quilt under the bright blue sky, and nodded at each other in surprised satisfaction at our adventurous selves.

It’s been a tough month over here. A tough season, really. School sucks. I hate every minute of it, even though I should be thankful for an education. One of my best friends lost her husband, and there’s just no way to sneak around that boulder of a fact. We must face it every day. It won’t move- we must climb over it. And all of this hellish business can put a strain on our marriage, for sure. I find myself stretching to be kind, having to work to be patient, and losing it way more often than I should.
But God is gracious.
Even when I want to toss my husband into a McDonald’s parking lot,
even when I stomp my feet in cranky frustration,
even when I cannot handle one more change or disappointment,
God gives me peace.
God gives me Sam. And Sam gives me the gift of a good idea.
And Clara attacks a strawberry with the ferocity of a starving zoo monkey, and one more day feels a little bit better.

ps totally nursing in a few of those. you’re welcome, world. 

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