I arrived home from my family reunion last week in the evening, at about 6:30 p.m. My husband was not supposed to get off work until around 6:00 p.m. so my kids and I packed up the car, explored the beach a bit more, shopped for memorabilia, and waited until the last minute for the long drive home. I was exhausted after the trip. I could hardly walk. My husband got off work at 4:00 p.m. and had been anxiously awaiting our arrival since then. He was disappointed that I had not rushed home to him, and he wanted to make sure that I knew. I really thought I had timed it well. (History has proven that he almost always gets off work later than expected.) We ate leftovers, ones that I had prepared prior to our trip but that he had not eaten during the week we were gone, and stumbled into bed.
My husband had left early in the morning for work. In a mad rush to get ready for church and prepare presentations, the kids had free reign of the house the next morning. A box of Grapenuts cereal spilled on the kitchen floor. A bag of old fashioned oats spilled on the carpet, with designs carefully fingered through it. Clothes, toys, scooters, and the excitement-to-be-home exploded throughout almost every room in the house, as well as the evidence that I had neglected to unpack upon arrival. My husband arrived home at about the same time we returned from church. He was astounded by the scene. I was numb, still tired, trying to adjust but really needing a vacation to recover from our last day of travel, trying to laugh about it. He cut me short, saying, "This is unacceptable!" and retreated to his office. Boom. The reality of life returned. A wistful, relaxing, fun, happy, carefree week on the beach. Over.
It's always a lovely readjustment for us both when we reunite after being apart. He gets used to the quiet, ordered house. I get used to the carefree, disordered everything. Then we meet again, usually both try to influence each other gradually, until we realize we cannot. This time it was not gradual, on either end. We reminded each other later of the status quo. I cannot be controlled. He cannot thrive among utter chaos. Really? We had to establish that? Everything is back to normal, for now.