One of my earliest memories growing up is a gift my dad gave to my mom. It was a watch with Mickey and Minnie Mouse on it holding hands. The watch had a cool trick. When you pressed a button on the side it played a little tune, a classic, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles. I heard the phrase other times in my life too. My parents held my hand when I was crossing the street, when we walked around in the grocery store. My hand was held when I went to the dentist or the doctor's office. Each time I felt uncomfortable, out of place, or needed a little reassurance, someone I loved was there to hold my hand.
In one of my classes last week, a young lady that has been married just a little longer than me made a comment that stuck with me. She said, "Newlyweds stop being newlyweds when they don't have to hold hands everywhere they go". I hope I never stop being a newlywed.
Getting married has made me feel like a kid again in a lot of ways. There are so many new experiences, new things to learn, and new roles to fill. I find myself looking for a hand to hold because I'm crossing new streets. I'm uncomfortable, out of place, and I need a little reassurance. I always find Jake's hand there for me.
Jake holds my hand each time we drive in his stick shift. He doesn't let go, not even to shift gears. He just takes my hand with his. Our heater went out today. It just happened to be the day that winter decided to return to the warm February we've had. I walked into the house and laughed out loud. It was freezing. I hate being cold, but I was happy. I knew that the colder it was in the house, the more Jake would want to hang on to my hands.
The heater kicked back on, Jake fixed it, but he held my hands anyway. I guess that's why my little wife life is so happy.
Jake and I went to Parowan High School together, but I wouldn't call us "high school sweethearts". The people Jake and I were in high school are not the people that got married two months ago. We're not those same people today. That's the important thing about who you marry. You start to change each other without even realizing it. For example, I'm a worrier. I'm naturally high strung. I over analyze everything and it keeps from enjoying myself sometimes. Jake's favorite response to any of my worries is, "Don't worry about it". At first, it bothered me. How could he not worry about the bills we need to pay or about the test I have in Communication Theory on Friday. How could he not worry about our careers and our future plans and this whole huge life we have to live ahead of us. I was jealous. I wished I could stop worrying. Though I haven't stopped, I experienced a breakthrough.
A few weeks ago Jake and I made our way to St. George to watch our brothers play basketball. It was a split second decision. So Jake and I hopped in his 1998 Saturn SW2. We were already late for the game, but thought we could make at least the last half. As we neared Hurricane, Jake's muffler fell off. His car became so loud my teeth shook. We had to drive on the right shoulder of the freeway before we could get off, and slowly made our way to the game. I was mad. I hated the car. Seriously Steve! (Jake named it Steve). We have so many other things to deal with this month and now we have to stick a car on the list! As I sat in my frustration we pulled up to the high school in silence. Jake turned the car off, we could finally hear our own thoughts, and he burst into uncontrollable laughter. I couldn't help it, I did too. "Don't worry about it" he said. And I didn't. Everyone could hear us coming whenever we took the car, but I didn't worry. I laughed.
When I was little my Grandpa Townsend and I wrote letters to each other when we didn't live close. He'd send me a note on a yellow piece of lined paper with a dollar in the envelope. I always responded with something like, "I love you Grandpa. I hope I get to come to Parowan soon". In lieu of a dollar I would draw a hand turkey whether it was Thanksgiving time or not. As I got older I realized what an amazing example my Grandpa and Grandma are of strong, lasting marriage. Their legacy has encouraged all 5 of their children to find their eternal companions and marry them. That legacy inspired my parents and has now inspired me. I married my sweetheart because they married theirs, and they are so happy.
Last weekend was my grandpa's 70th birthday. He wanted all of us together for a party. My parents, aunts, and uncles decided to plan a "fake prom" in his honor. We rented the high school commons area, and decorated it according to our theme, Elvis Presley's "I can't help falling in love". All of us asked and answered our spouses just like high school and dressed up in formal attire for the party. I got to go to a high school dance with my sweetheart, which I never thought would happen. My sister Shelbey got footage of the whole thing and created a video our family will keep to remember the occasion.
As we danced in our old high school surrounded by my favorite couples, I was overcome with the same feeling I had when Jake laughed in the face of the lost muffler. "Don't worry about it". So I didn't. I didn't worry about anything. I sang, danced, and held my sweetheart close. I couldn't help falling in love again with him that night. Some things are just meant to be. My happy wife life with Jake happens to be one of those things.
When I was growing up I loved puzzles. There's just something about putting everything in its proper place to make a bigger picture that has always attracted me. Marriage has become a little bit of a puzzle, but with higher stakes than the cupcake jigsaw I worked on a few summers ago. Becoming a Newlywed has introduced me to so many more "pieces" of life. There are the work pieces, school pieces, church pieces, family pieces, and spending time with your spouse pieces. Not to mention the cleaning the house pieces, trying to cook pieces, and getting the bills paid pieces. In looking at each piece, it's easy to get kind of overwhelmed. In looking at each piece it's easy to note my sweet husband still can't remember to turn off the lights when he leaves a room. In looking at just the pieces Jake reminds me I really could just have one alarm in the morning and actually get up when it goes off. But I'm learning that I'm happiest, we're happiest, when we see the big picture in the little things. Let me explain.
I worked a little later on Tuesday, I didn't get home until after Jake did, which never happens. Jake saw an opportunity in my late return. As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed something right away, There were only a few lights on in the house. As I came inside, Jake turned off the lights in the living room and led me to the kitchen. He had cleaned our little living room, and got all cute and ready for me. He had put some cologne on and made sure his hair looked good. In the kitchen on our table he had a date set up for us. Root beer floats by candle light. Sweet huh? Dates at home have become my very favorite. I saw the big picture in that little Tuesday night root beer float date with my best friend.
I spent a few minutes after work today looking at some of the pictures from our wedding day. Our talented photographer Karynn Elizabeth captured more of those little moments where I see the big picture. I look at our happy faces and I can't believe it has been 2 months since we got married. And I can't believe how much happier I have become since that day. So I think I'll put the puzzle pieces away, set one alarm for tomorrow morning, and focus on the big picture, little things. I love my sweet Jake, and I love my little happy wife life.
We got a kitty yesterday, or so Jake tells me, I haven't seen him yet.
Little Paul was nervous when Jake brought him home from the animal shelter. He headed straight downstairs to the laundry room. I spent a few hours sitting at the bottom of the stairs by his new food and water bowls waiting for him to come out from behind the washer and drier. No luck. I was kind of frustrated. What’s with this cat! I am so nice! His new home is so great! I feel for him though. Right after getting married I felt a lot like little Paul the kitty. In fact, if I could have fit, I probably would have hid behind the washer and drier too.
One of the toughest aspects of being a newlywed for me is homesickness. Getting married has all kinds of transitions. After the honeymoon and getting Jake moved into the house, I waited for things to settle down a little bit. They did, but I sill felt like a visitor in my own house. Surrounded by crock-pots and dish towels I didn't pick out, new responsibilities, and a new roommate, I just felt a little unfamiliar with home. So our first project as Mr. and Mrs. Topham was making our little Main Street house feel like home. My first effort? I bought silverware.
TJ Maxx had exactly what I wanted. So I bought the silverware, opened the packaging, cleaned out a drawer, and put each piece in carefully.
Jake and I made an effort to eat together at our own kitchen table with our own silverware like you do at "home".
That was the strategy: What does "home" actually mean, and how can we make our little house feel like that? I'm lucky, Jake is an expert.
So we did home things. We cleaned, moved furniture, and put up our own pictures on the walls. I put our books on the bookshelf. My sister Shelbey painted a watercolor of our house. We put it up in the living room. Before I knew it, I felt at home. We both do. We still do home things. We use our silverware every day. We talk nice to each other and laugh. As Jake and I grow closer together, we're happier at home. All I needed was some copper silverware and a patient husband. I'm happy at home. So happy. Paul will be too. I think I'll spend some time on the stairs today, maybe talk to him about how happy my little wife life is.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!