My husband and I were married in 1990. That was twenty-two years ago. Since then, many grand changes have taken place: the
birth of our first child, the first big move (to Bangkok), the fight, the big jobs, the fight, the births of children numbers two-three-
and four, the fights in between, the second big move (to America), the fight, the starting over, the fight, the first child in college, the
fight, the second child about to go to college, the first child about to graduate, and many more. I don't recall a moment without
surprise, laughter and tears. There's never a dull moment in our roller coaster ride, and the most wonderful thing is that we are all
in the same car. Some of us may look away or close our eyes at times, but we are always still within reach of each other.
While doing house cleaning for Christmas, I had to take several trips to our basement- an area to which I am not a frequent visitor.
Upon searching through piles of boxes and bags for Christmas decorations, I saw -covered with dust and sitting on top of a box- our
wedding guest book.
My emotion was excitement tinged with slight intrigue, since from time-to-time during the past eight years living in this house I had
wondered where it was, but I had never bothered to search for it. "It's in one of those boxes," I used to chuckle. When we had first
moved in, my husband and I unpacked as soon as the movers delivered our belongings; but we soon realized that we had neither
the space nor the energy for everything- or even to finish unpacking. I counted thirty-eight unopened boxes, and we said to each
other that we would finish the job after we bought more furniture. Together, we moved those boxes to the basement.
We have bought more pieces of furniture, but we never finished with the thirty-eight boxes in the basement. Life continued as we
filled our basement with more boxes, things our children outgrew, things we simply put away in order to make more room in the
house, boxes of things we bought, et cetera. Our family roller coaster took many quick turns and a few steep climbs during those
years. I justified it thinking that it's normal for a family of our size often to lead a more chaotic lifestyle, and that therefore there's not enough time in any day to catch up on previously unattended-to tasks. Boxes pile up as certain tensions grew between me and our
kids, me and my husband, and among the siblings. Not only were boxes put away, but also our feelings toward each other:
wonderful, memorable moments and resentments were cast aside- put away in the basement.
I can't speak for my husband, but this is the reason why I don't go down there. Out of sight, out of mind. I choose to look away to
avoid being in a vulnerable situation; and, just because I don't have the time.
Seeing our wedding guest book- an item once cherished and assigned importance equal to the wedding and to the sacred tie that
came with it- awakened something inside me. I put it on top of the ornament box. Upon reaching the top of the stairs I went to get
a micro fiber cloth, and I sprayed cleaner on it, carefully wiping the cover of the 22-year-old book and then dusting the inside pages.
I read along as I cleaned. Well wishes and thoughtful messages from relatives and friends brought back fond memories of one of
the most important milestones in my life. I started playing the events of our wedding day in my head. The memories were as fresh
as if it had just happened. Smiles came upon me.
Our family has gone through quite a few changes, some more dramatic than others. It's not that my husband and I have stopped
loving each other, but because there are often matters that need our immediate attention we temporarily put our love in a box and
store it in the basement, along with all our other things. Naturally, there is always something urgent- especially when it comes to our
children's needs (and there are four). We say to each other, often with tired smiles, that one day we will rekindle our relationship
and strengthen our love.
I don't know how the guest book, after all these years, suddenly showed up. Maybe my husband found it and left it there. Maybe...
who knows? However, it brought to the surface something very important that I had put aside- for too long. Perhaps putting aside
our love in our chaotic crazy up-side-down roller coaster was not necessary. Perhaps we can all be busy, stressed, and still have
room "upstairs," above the basement on a day-to-day level, to love each other. I’ve now placed our wedding guest book along with
our other wedding photos, so that every day I can smile when I see it. Love is no longer locked away in the basement; now I know
what to do.