September 13, 2010

The Seven Year Itch

Today Dustan and I have been married for seven whole years. Seven years! That's a long time. I remember back when we were engaged. We were convinced the Apocalypse would come before September 13, 2003 and we would never get to leave a party together and go home and crawl into bed and say things like "You were my favorite person in the room."

But here we are. 2010 and many moons later. Sometimes I can't wrap my mind around how good it is to live life with Dust, to say each morning before he leaves for work "Don't go, Hus." We get to wake up together and take a big bite out of each day, the most tangible gift of God to me on a regular basis. We've been doing that for seven years...and it's still fun. Don't get me wrong, we have insanely routine days, filled with more oil changes, late movie fees and unwashed dishes than you can imagine. It's just that Dustan is THE most buoyant person on the whole planet, so life is always good. And nothing is ever too bad. Not "Hey Dust, I accidentally spent $261 at the grocery store" or "Um, I locked my keys in the car...and you're in Milwaukee." Not even "I hit a stoplight. IT FELL ON OUR CAR."

You know the phrase "No news is good news"? Not for Dust. He loves news. He loves action. Something is always better than nothing. That's why when our car gets towed during a snow emergency and we have to trudge to the police station at ten o'clock at night in the snow and it's snowing even harder, he says to me "Hey, shake it off."  How many times have you said that to me?  Suddenly we are running in the orange lamplight and our emergency turns into a secret giggling party because everything is going to be okay. No surprise that the two curly-headed old women working the night shift are now smiling at him, saying yes we'll call the cops and take you to the impound lot. He drums on the desk and says "Yeah, baby!" They're giggling now, and I want to clarify to them that he didn't just call you baby, but whatever.

Living with an adventurer, through and through, isn't always convenient. In fact, it puts me in the position of saying very stodgy grown-up things all the time. That's dangerous. We don't have time. That won't fit in our car. What if that doesn't work? Well, the cool thing is, it usually does work. Fabulously well. Dust is the king of flying by the seat of your pants, rolling with the punches, going with the flow - you know, all those sayings and more. It undoes me and teaches me at the same time. If we end up as that couple that totes their baby around to every swimming hole and fancy restaurant, it will be because of him.

Another totally bearable thing. Dustan is a rabid, ravenous, tireless worker. He works so hard - at everything! I don't even care that he makes me look aimless, because I end up getting canoe racks, cutting boards and custom shelving out of his energetic lifestyle. He demands way too little sleep from his body, and if a table saw or a new business idea is involved, you're looking at 2am. Easy. He rarely starts a project he doesn't finish. (Seriously. Do you know how many homemade Christmas presents I've started that still consist of a pile including a cool photo, a paper napkin, an amazing quote and a Mason jar?) One thing I've learned is that this kind of drive produces a certain amount of decisiveness that I'm now totally addicted to. When Dustan says, "I think we should quit our jobs this time next year and hike the Appalachian Trail" or "We need a money market thingamajig" or "There is no way we are getting another dog," I'm pretty much just along for the ride. (But I've been putting a lot of pressure on the second dog issue). I never think about the fact that there must be husbands out there who sit on the same worn chair, day after day, and stare at streams of dust mites in the sun. If Dustan did a little bit of that, it would probably make me happy. I like to sit and stare.

Sometimes I wonder if it will always be this good. Year Number Seven is supposed to be hard. The Seven Year Itch might hit us. Ok, maybe not that kind of Itch (because Marilyn isn't around to tempt anyone in a white windblown dress). What I mean is, we are expecting a little crybaby, a little milk-hungry baby, a little poo-poo machine. Maybe that baby will pop out and smile out us, and I will sit in a rocking chair like a goddess and Dustan will bring me cabbage leaves on a silver plate. We will sing "Puff the Magic Dragon lived by the sea..." in perfect harmony, and our baby won't cry. Maybe the carseat will lock into place without a hitch, the stroller will never collapse on our ankles and we will never get tangled in the Moby wrap. But... we might get itchy this year.

We might look back on days of camping and hiking and late night marathons of Alias and The Office and thumb our noses at the new loneliness that parenthood brings, him in one corner of the city making money and me in the other folding tiny onesies. All I know is, so far, it has been blindingly good. This past week we spent some long and savory days by the lake in the woods with our Mad River Explorer, the trusty Hubba Hubba, my brand new beach cruiser and his old clunker, and that ol' Baba Gurl. When the day woke us up with rain, Dustan said "Get in the car, we're going to find some indoor waterslides." (And we did).

Here's to 7 years, you.

Thank you for loving my friends.

Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit. It's contagious.

Thank you for being a lavish tipper.

On that note, thanks for never, ever, ever being a tightwad. It's more attractive than you know.

Thanks for liking other people so much. It's why we have friends in the first place.

All day long I make a list of things I plan to tell you.  It's the one thing that makes me most sad that Mom doesn't have Dad anymore.  I know she did that.

Sometimes I see you pick up other people's litter. That's so hot.

Thank you for surprising me with Trail six years ago. She is my dark star.

You pick up amazing pottery and say "You could make that, Bets." That's really precious. (I couldn't).

Thank you for loving to laugh, to smile, and to talk, talk, talk. We have so much fun together.

You can take the dog out of the city, but you better bring her blanket.


  1. If I had to be reading something over coffee this morning, I am glad it was this post. How blessed you are to be walking (or running) though this life with this man. And, how blessed he is to know you realize that. I can't imagine you guys doing anything less than incorporating a "Balkcom Babe" into your enthusiastic lifestyle.

  2. Happy Anniversary, Dustan and guys definitely have a special love. God was so awesome to bring you two together.

  3. Love you guys even more right now! Happy anniversary. You are an inspiration to all marriages (even the good ones!)

  4. Hi Betsy, This is a beautiful post and makes me so happy! Thanks for sharing! I linked to this post on my blog, because it really made my day. If you'd prefer that I didn't, just let me know and I'll take it down. Thanks!

  5. I never knew how much CJ and Dustan's personalities and view of life was the same, just in a different way...they have different passions but they are just as passionate all the same. I found myself agreeing with your post over and over and going, 'wow, I feel the same about CJ' :) I'm so happy for you guys and your new little one coming along, I have always thought y'all made the perfect couple, you SO do! :) Congrats to both of you and may the next 7x7 years be even better!

  6. I also loved reading this....loved getting to know Dustan a bit more as well.

    Congrats on 7 years, in this life, that is really something to celebrate.

    I hope you are feeling well.

  7. Oh Betsy, that was just amazing! Love seeing Dustan through your eyes. Congratulations. I think this is going to be your best year yet!! : )

  8. Umm...this made me cry (just a little). Way to go. You're such a great writer! It's inspiring.

  9. hey, mel and i miss you like something awful. when i read about your adventures, i know that i am just about a thousand miles from laughing about these memories made together. nevertheless, you guys inspire us to continue in pursuit of a great marriage. it is fun and hard and great and easy. again, we love you and long for big betsy and dustan hugs

  10. Again, I'm gonna say that this post inspires me so very much. I read it a lot. :) I love the beginning. The first paragraph is my favorite, mainly because it applies to me more than the rest I suppose. But thanks for being such an awesome example of what a marriage can and should be like. You guys are amazing.


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