Hello there! I have a true story to tell you. You should know that it is full of silver linings and it has a happy ending, because if it had not turned out well I would be keeping this tale to myself. It will probably take a few posts for me to get through the whole thing, but even if nobody reads them, I will feel it was worth it to get out my thoughts in writing so that I can look back on this past week and smile. And maybe laugh.
I have dubbed April 5th through April 8th of the year 2014 the Mother Trucking Mudpocalypse.
Here is why:
The Mother Trucking Mudpocalypse, Part 1: Choices
April 5, 2014 was going to be a fun day. My husband, Drew, had planned a remedial Land Navigation course for some of the guys in his National Guard unit and was going to be spending the morning and afternoon out at a local park. He invited our friend Izak to join him. Meanwhile, Izak’s wife, Kris, and I planned to prepare lunch for the guys and then do a few spring/Easter themed craft projects.
Kris and I were at my apartment with dinner in the crock pot and dessert cooling in the refrigerator when I got a phone call from Drew around 3:30 pm.
“Hi! We are done with Land Nav, but . . . the truck is a little bit . . . stuck, so we’ll be home as soon as we can.”
He and Izak had been scouting out future sites for more Land Nav courses and got bad directions on how to get from point A to point B. Okay, fine. Trucks get stuck all the time. No big deal. Kris and I settled in to watch the UF/UConn basketball game when the boys still weren’t home at 5:00. We got another call.
“Um, can you ask Kris if she knows anyone in the Arlington area with a truck? We are really stuck and we need some help.”
I began to worry a little bit. Because of where they were located, no towing company would even entertain the idea of going out there to help with Drew’s truck, which is named Bruce, by the way. Kris started calling people she knew from work, and we were able to get in touch with one guy who had a truck and could help out. And then we waited.
Every time I heard a vehicle in the parking lot, I ran to the window to see if it was Bruce and the guys pulling up to the building. My anxiety reminded me of how I used to wait for what felt like forever for friends and family to arrive at my house for childhood birthday parties and holidays. It got dark and Kris and I decided to play cards, hoping our husbands would be home soon. The phone rang again.
“Well, one truck came out here to help us and got stuck. Then another guy came out here and got stuck. And now someone else is coming to help.”
At this point, Kris and I couldn’t bear the thought of waiting at home any longer, so we ordered three large pizzas and planned to pick up some beer for the stuck truck crew; it was almost 9:00pm and we knew they would be starving.
NOW, you might be wondering how I reacted to all of this. Among the list of things a wife doesn’t want to hear over the phone is, “Our very expensive vehicle is stuck in an unsecure location in very thick mud and we can't get it out.”
I will admit that several less than charitable thoughts ran through my mind at first, but since I was removed from the situation, I had many hours to contemplate how I would react to all of this in Drew’s presence. Thank goodness I had Kris with me all day, too, because I was able to talk through my thoughts and feelings with her before we headed out to check on Bruce and the boys.
Since getting married, I have realized that, although I tend to give other people the benefit of the doubt (unless they seriously disrespect me in traffic), I jump to criticism and judgment very quickly when it comes to Drew. I am not proud of this fact, but hey, at least I am aware of my weakness and willing to improve myself. It helps to have examples of good wives after whom I can model my behavior, and I know many women who are tremendous inspirations to me.
In this particular moment, though, I found myself thinking about a fictional woman: Cora Crawley from Downton Abbey. I'll be honest in saying that sometimes her character really annoys me, especially because of the tone of her voice, and I surprised myself when I had this moment of revelation about her. Let me explain: there is a scene where she finds out that her husband has lost all of her money in an investment that went kaput. They have certainly had contentious moments in their marriage and I expected her to be upset and reprimand him, but instead, I watched in awe as she considered only the feelings of her husband as she lovingly stated, “This must be so hard for you!” She knew he was already beating himself up over his poor choice and so she chose to simply show him love.
Channeling Lady Crawley, I went with Kris to gather sustenance for the men and we headed out to the scene of the stuck trucks. There were five trucks down in a muddy pit and I think three or four of them were trapped in the muck when we arrived. It was amazing that so many guys had wanted to help out, but frustrating that trucks kept getting stuck and unstuck and then stuck again. Drew had not been goofing around when he got stuck and none of the ensuing truck stuckness had been intended on his part. He clearly understood the consequences of his actions and I knew without asking him that he felt bad that all of this trouble was happening on his account. After surveying the scene and passing out beer and pizza slices, I took a moment to embrace Drew and tell him, “I love you.” I am proud to say that it took him by surprise to observe me being so understanding (I figured leaving him to wonder what I might be thinking would be torture enough.)
|You can see some of the trucks and jeeps that came to try helping out. None of these are Drew's truck. Thanks for the picture, Kris!|
|The truck in the foreground was stuck for quite a while. The red truck behind it spent a long time trying to get it out. Thanks for the picture, Kris!|
Choosing to be understanding and supportive made hanging out in that mud pit for a few hours tolerable and even fun at times. Drew did not get home until 4:30am, and his truck was the only one still stuck in the mud with a day full of rain ahead in the forecast. I hugged him again and said, "I love you." I was glad he was home safely and hoped he would be able to get some much needed sleep. I could tell that Drew really appreciated my attitude (believe me, I had chosen to act against my own instinct and it took a lot of strength to do so), but it wasn’t until the next morning that I realized how I would personally be affected by my choice.
Come back tomorrow to read the next part of our adventure! Sign up for email updates and you won't miss a thing. :)