This is our first spring in our new house, and one of the best parts about exploring a new house is seeing all the surprises pop out of the ground come spring. Apparently we have irises.
The iris is my very favorite flower. Back in college, I visited the Getty museum a couple of times and saw Van Gogh’s Irises in person. I cried and felt like I couldn’t breathe. I’ve had this experience with art four times.
1. Stepping into the room and seeing Irises in person. The saturate hues, the brush strokes, the texture and life in front of my eyes, a mere two feet away from a masterpiece.
2. Seeing the David. In one moment, Michaelangelo redefined sculpture for me. There was the David, and everything else. I’ve never seen anything like it. Breathtaking…and I don’t mean his junk, you sickos. ;) The statue is perfect, like he’s going to start breathing and walk away any second.
3. Entering the Basilica san Marco in Venice. It’s completed covered in glittering gold mosaic, and I was brought into a spirit of worship, the sense of standing in the presence of a holy God captured as best mere humans can do this side of heaven.
4. The parade of animals at the beginning of The Lion King in New York. Sobbing. Like a little baby. Couldn’t breathe, thought I’d fall right out of the balcony. Alex looked over at me wondering if I was okay as I had a total breakdown and made little choking noises.
Um, I also cried when I saw the New Kids on the Block in sixth grade, but that could’ve been because Jordan’s extra long little braid was super dreamy. Let’s not put that on the same level. I wore a huge button of the New Kids like a tee-clip around the tail of my oversized baggy shirt and I felt hawt.
But let’s return to irises.
Poking up through the ground and blooming around my new yard. I love their bluey purple color and fairy-winged shape. They’re spectacular and will always bring me back to that first moment in the Getty.
And my wedding. Because after I cried in front of that painting, I went home and planned my wedding, and it was all about irises.
So when I see my yard, I think about my wedding, and I think about my wedder, my Alex. He didn’t really care about the irises, but here we are getting ready to celebrate fourteen years of marriage.
I like to think the irises helped kick us off the right way. And I think our marriage is kind of like an iris. Our blooms are big and bold and delicate and we don’t stay bloomy all the time, but our bulb is rooted down in the ground and we keep coming up year after year.
Maybe our love is like the New Kids. Hangin’ Tough.
Whatever the proper simile, irises remind me of our love that lasts season after season. This last season hasn’t been an easy one, adjusting to three kids and lots of overseas adoption travel and upsidedowniness, but I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else, even if the David could come to life.
Sometimes art leaves you breathless, you know? Blood on fire, heart pounding, wide-eyed breathless. I’ve had that happen four times. But as I write this, I realize that there’s a fifth piece of breathless art on my list. A masterpiece that leaves me breathless with its layers and richness. My marriage.
I’m completely amazed at the partnership and friendship forged through these years of dreaming and laughing and fighting and choosing and staying together. The other day we were fighting, and we just kept talking, stayed in it, neither one bailing. As we talked, we finally worked our way through to the other side of the problem I can’t even remember now.
A few days later on our date night, we both marveled at each other in that moment. Apparently during our fight, we were both thinking similar things. I was proud of him for not losing his temper and he was amazed that I didn’t go to that toxic place of biting sarcasm. We both noticed that we were fighting well, respecting each other.
And then on date night we encouraged each other. Like, “Good fight, hon.'” That’s something we’ve achieved over years of friendship and a foundation of trust and mutual respect. It hasn’t come easily, and I don’t take it for granted. Neither of us won or lost that fight. We just arrived at a place of grace. And it was beautiful. Irises beautiful.
When I planned our wedding with all the bouquets of irises and matching purple napkins, I couldn’t imagine our actual life together, this crazy, unexpected road across oceans and plains. What a gift, a broken, stitched together, painful, beautiful gift.
It’s even better than crying at The Lion King.