I don’t know how long it takes to fall in love with someone. But I do know precisely when it started: under the gazebo on our first date.
We were munching on the picnic you brought, and as I took a bite of pineapple, a thought ran through my mind: This man treats everyone with kindness and respect. And I was right.
Who would have thought, nine years ago, that we would someday be married and have a baby and live within walking distance of that very gazebo? (Okay, I was secretly hoping those first two would come true, but number three was a surprise.)
This might sound strange, but after we moved into our house and I realized how close it was to our first date spot, I was a little worried. Would the place become too ordinary somehow? Would I cease to see it as a sacred space, commemorating the origin of the Daniel and Stephanie Team?
Truth be told, I was a little nervous that the same might be true of marriage too. Would the sacredness of love wear off amid the ordinariness of life? Would I start taking it for granted if we brushed our teeth at the same sink and paid the water bill together and picked up each other’s dirty socks? Would our love become mundane?
But almost a decade into this, I’ve discovered that the best love is the kind that’s found in the beautiful ordinary.
Ordinary love is the way you load my toothbrush every night. (And the way you inevitably make me laugh with a mouthful of toothpaste.)
Ordinary love is the way you change the oil in our cars and change our son’s diapers.
Ordinary love is the way you fix the leaking ceiling and take out the trash and rush home for family walks after work.
Ordinary love is the way you play the guitar for us after dinner and the way you put chocolate chips in the Saturday-morning pancakes.
Annie Dillard says, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” So I suppose we don’t have to wait for grand gestures or epic moments to build something beautiful. These ordinary moments that we’re stringing together, one day at a time, are creating a life of love.
When Graham and I go on walks to the library, we sometimes pass the first date spot. Almost without fail, I point it out to him. “See that gazebo?” I say. “That’s where Mama and Daddy went on their first date.” Although he’s too young to roll his eyes, I’m sure that day will come. But that’s okay. Because we are writing this story of ordinary love together, and he is part of it.
How long does it take to fall in love? I propose that it takes a lifetime of ordinary moments, stitched together with toothpaste and laundry and chocolate chip pancakes.
God’s great love and purposes for us are all worked out in messes in our kitchens and backyards, in storms and sins, blue skies, the daily work and dreams of our common lives.Frederick Buechner
Linda MacKillop says
Beautiful, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing your sacred moments with us.
Thank you, Linda!
Janice Ceszyk says
This was lovely. Reminded me of my parents and how the mundane always seemed magical to us kids. I can repeat word for word the story of their first date. It was a great home to grow up in and how great that your little boy will get that too.
I love that you hold those stories from your parents, Janice! They sound like special people.
Kristen Joy Wilks says
Exactly! You have reminded me of the beauty of the ordinary. Thank you! My ordinary love is stitched together watching my guy tell a cheesy dad joke to his three exasperated sons and then watching them roll their eyes a second time as I quote that scripture about fathers not exasperating their sons. It’s in how he rallies the crew to do chores with: “Your mother and I should not have to do all of this. You live here, too!” And how he built a sledding fort at the top of our driveway so that they had a launch pad for their sleds in the winter. It’s how he chooses funny audio books for road trips, urges us to the river to swim after church, and always sneaks up and tips the boys over if he sees them reading in the hammock!
What a great guy you have too! And kudos to you for noticing those acts of love.
So beautiful and true, Stephanie.
Thank you, Eva!
Jenni Ho-Huan says
Just what I need for my starry-eyed adolescent, and shhhh… myself too!
Hee hee! We all have a bit of starry-eyed adolescent in us, don’t we?
Aimee Elftmann says
I love this and love you both! Thank you for your perspective and wisdom, they are both such a gift!
And your wisdom is a gift to us too!