jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Date Night and the Wind Turbines

IMG_9780

Wind turbines, out of focus
April 2014

I’ve been thinking about marriage lately. It may be the spring weather (finally), the birds looking for love in all the wrong places, mating for life and so on.

I think it’s the time in my life too, or our collective lives really. Among our friends our kids are mostly all in school (and by school I don’t mean clown school or college, I mean pre-school) and our parents are aging, looking to move, getting the scan or the X-ray or the biopsy. Some have even passed. We are the next “big” then, the next big mortal, permeable, vulnerable thing.

And I began thinking about marriage, how it’s so often like breathing or an old car or not throwing up.  It’s one of those things that you’re really not all that grateful for, at least not until it’s jeopardized, by illness or disregard, or made more precious by the proximity to someone else’s marriage being jeopardized by whatever jeopardizes marriage.

Then I got to thinking about how much energy and emotional capital is wasted on the petty things, the nagging about the fact that he opens a new jar every time he needs a condiment; jelly, mayonnaise, peanut butter, salsa (oh my god, the rows of opened salsa…) How I treat my friends, the barista and people I’ve just met with the utmost of deference and polite gratitude, but sometimes I’m just too embroiled in the self-created mayhem to do the same for those I love most.

Because somehow in the nitty gritty of every day, the chores and the folding and the driving and the bill-paying or whatever, it’s so easy for us to forget. The things we value fall to the bottom of our purse like loose change or a diamond engagement ring, all covered with sticky dust from smashed Oreos and crushed Crayons.

Wednesday night was date night. Wednesday night is always date night. It’s a night for dressing up a bit, getting a sitter for a couple hours and going somewhere where the entrees aren’t too pricey and they pour a mean glass of wine (and by mean, I mean big.) We went someplace new and talked about the kids or work or our days, like we always do. We held hands and he gave me more bites of his far better meal than I deserved (for ordering so poorly myself.)

IMG_9403

Ethiopian date night
March 2014

 

As we headed to the car we noticed the light outside. The sun was only now beginning to set. And as we looked at the time we realized the unthinkable; it was too early to go home because the kids were definitely not asleep yet.

So we stopped by the river deli near the town landing, the one with the excellent cookies, just as the proprietor was locking the door. With an imploring look and a jiggle of the handle we gained entry and a paper bag filled with cookies. Down to the beach where the parking lot goes right up to the sand, we drove. And we parked and listened to the mix my husband had made me of all the new music he thinks I’ll like. It’s been stored on our joint Spotify account under the name “Jen Playlist- Listen in Time”. I had never thought to look for it.

We talked about nothing important that I remember, but maybe everything important happens in those moments. We may have even held hands some more.

Turbines at sunset  April 2014

Turbines at sunset
April 2014

Once the sun had nearly set, we drove home, past the marshes and the weathered beach houses. As we rounded the bend I saw the wind turbines in the distance and they took my breath away. These two massive structures, buried in the ground side by side, were turning perfectly in sync for a moment, parallel and pointing to the sky. It was like watching the Olympic ice dancers in a flawless twizzle, razor sharp blades spinning so close to soft flesh, utterly aligned. Magic.

It seems an impossible thing to be that in sync, or at least a rarity. It’s the flash and dazzle and take-your-breath-away moment for sure.

But maybe even more stunning are those two turbines, standing sentries keeping watch over the tides, the moonrise, the wind. Side by side they stand, regardless of the synchronicity of their blades, rooted in place together, weathering the crazy storms, the snowfall, those windless days in July. Two ageless giants, united in Tadasana, the mountain pose, sometimes synchronized, mostly just silent partners, like an old married couple, late in life, on date night; enduring, steadfast, everlasting, beloved.

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96 comments on “Date Night and the Wind Turbines

  1. ianmooremorrans
    April 12, 2014

    Wonderful post. Thank you so much for reminding us that we are “an old married couple, late in life, on date night; enduring, steadfast, everlasting, beloved.” Words to cherish even in the midst of a what seems at times like endless illness and care-giving. Love prevails and God is always there with a steady comfort and helping hand.

    • Cindy Johnson Baumgartner
      April 12, 2014

      “And I began thinking about marriage, how it’s so often like breathing or an old car or not throwing up.” Jen, you are a hoot and honest or I guess an honest hoot. Hank and I have been married nearly 34 years. Living life with Hank is at this juncture in our journey, is breath. Sometimes slow and steady, perhaps other times so fast I think I might just keel over and faint. And sometimes he just simply takes my breath away. Still! And I gotta agree don’t you just love an old car! A reliable one anyways. One that helps get you where you need and want to go, even if it hasn’t been cleaned out for ages. Soda bottles, gum wrappers, sales tags, dental floss… Yes, “an old car,” a reliable vehicle, like a good steady husband. Well, about the “not throwing up,” girl don’t hold it in! Let it rip (with love) all the uglies, unspokens, pains, hurts, “I need a little help here honey!” It’s cleansing that’s why God gave us the gag reflex. Go ahead and use it. (with love and for love) Cindy

      • jgroeber
        April 14, 2014

        How happy am I that you got this?
        And 34 years? You are the original wind turbines. How lovely how you describe Hank. Truly.
        As for the throwing up, I was thinking more about how we don’t know how good it feels to be healthy (or be married to a gem) until we’re not healthy (or we see people around us with marriages in jeopardy.) But I like your take… it suggests that sometimes we need to get a little sick (throw it all up) in order to feel better and all cleaned out. That suggests that every disagreement isn’t a bad one in the end if it’s with love for love.
        Such wisdom- no wonder you’ve lasted so long.

    • jgroeber
      April 14, 2014

      Oh, thank you for this thoughtful comment. I hope you really are half of an old married couple. What an achievement!

    • Sky
      April 18, 2014

      Loved your post, the picture caught my eye and the words my heart

      • jgroeber
        April 20, 2014

        That Hipstamatic App on my iPhone is a treasure, I tell you.
        And marriage is a hard thing to capture in a post, especially when the wind turbine is the metaphor. Thanks for your kind note.

  2. ianmooremorrans
    April 12, 2014

    Reblogged this on Ian Moore-Morrans, Scottish Canadian Author and commented:
    Wonderful post. Thanks to Jen Groeber for reminding us that we are “an old married couple, late in life, on date night; enduring, steadfast, everlasting, beloved.” Words to cherish even in the midst of a what seems at times like endless illness and care-giving. Love prevails and God is always there with a steady comfort and helping hand.

  3. Burns the Fire
    April 12, 2014

    Beautiful. That word keeps cropping up with you.

  4. DCTdesigns
    April 12, 2014

    This is utterly poetic Jen. I feel inspiration coming on.

    • jgroeber
      April 14, 2014

      Now how nice is that? What sort of inspiration I wonder? Hmm…

  5. Margie S
    April 12, 2014

    This was lovely! One we can all relate to. So nice you can count on your weekly date night – babysitters are a rarity around here.

    • jgroeber
      April 14, 2014

      We’ve had endless good luck with sitters. And ours we ran into last week on the one night we took the kids with us out to dinner. What are the chances?

  6. Nadia
    April 13, 2014

    Jen, so so beautiful. Marriage is like that – I forget how much it means to me during the everyday hassles and fights over toothpaste and toilet seats.

    • Matt
      April 14, 2014

      Nadia tweeted FP about this. Made me want to read it. So glad I did.

      The entire thing was gorgeous.

      Thank you, Jen. And Nadia.

      • jgroeber
        April 14, 2014

        Thank you for that, Matt. Checked out your gorgeously authentic blog and totally saw the connection.
        Wishing you a year of being the Tadasana turbine, solo or in a yet unforeseen pair, whatever the weather requires.

        • Matt
          April 15, 2014

          🙂

          Thank you so much for visiting.

          We write about some of the same things in some of the same ways. You just do so with exquisite beauty.

          I really did love your post. Capturing life. Like a photo. A stunning one.

    • jgroeber
      April 14, 2014

      Yes! The toothpaste and the toilet seats. My husband hates when I leave the seat up!
      But really, it’s so easy to get mired in the salsa jars. Also the French press on the counter, but my husband thought that one example hit the literary point better than the litany of complaints I’d started with…
      (And a little birdie mentioned you tweeting me to FP? I hardly know what that means but it sounds like something complimentary, and so thank you for that. Your writing is like a gorgeous tornado. A compliment from you is a gift.)

      • Nadia
        April 19, 2014

        Jen, I’ll say it again: the FP nod is so so well deserved! Congratulations!

        • jgroeber
          April 20, 2014

          Thanks so much again for the FP nod. Clearly you are a trend-setter extraordinaire.
          So what’s in for next year? Mom-sailor pants or more mom-skinny jeans? Or nothing prefaced by mom? Ha! But you’ve brought wind turbines back, and for that I thank you.

  7. francisguenette
    April 13, 2014

    Well, that made me tear up a bit. Here’s to all the wonderful years of date nights to come – may you weather it all like those two wind turbines you described with such lyrical prose.

    • jgroeber
      April 14, 2014

      Thank you for that.
      Be the turbine. Be the turbine. Be the turbine. It may have to become a refrain in stormy weather.

  8. evelyneholingue
    April 14, 2014

    Beautiful thoughts on the passing of time and what matters in life. Also the descriptions of the turbines caught my breath away. Here where I live we have some too, and your poetic words touched me.

    • jgroeber
      April 14, 2014

      I love those turbines. I’m from New Jersey, formerly the Garden State, now the land of disregard and waste. Wind turbines are just gorgeous to my eye. Literally, awesome. They seem to me to be attempting to be purely a force for good. How often does that happen?

  9. segmation
    April 17, 2014

    Next time I pass by the turbines, I will think of you and your beautiful blog!

    • jgroeber
      April 17, 2014

      Who doesn’t love wind turbines? (Actually, some people don’t I know. But I do.) Thank you for the lovely comment.

  10. juliacastorp
    April 17, 2014

    Think about marriage too

  11. awax1217
    April 17, 2014

    My wife and I are old, married and think each other thoughts.

    • jgroeber
      April 17, 2014

      I just love this. There is hope for us all.

  12. mynameisyoudid
    April 17, 2014

    A great post which reminds us at something and somebody.

  13. rarasaur
    April 17, 2014

    Beautiful, Jen, as always. 🙂 Your writing takes my breath away. 🙂

    • jgroeber
      April 17, 2014

      Ah, Rara. Thank you. From such an amazing wordsmith as yourself, those words are a treasure. 😉

  14. activearmywife
    April 17, 2014

    Your last paragraph I just love!
    Awesome writing. So true.

    • jgroeber
      April 17, 2014

      Thank you for that. It’s amazing that you can start out writing and you think you’re headed in one direction, and then next thing you know, you’re at the wind turbines having date night.

  15. I Like Nice Things
    April 17, 2014

    This post is amazing, a great reminder of how we take such moments for granted! Thank you for sharing!

    • jgroeber
      April 17, 2014

      It’s amazing how we take it all for granted, or at least I do. My kids, my husband, my friends. I mean, I appreciate them all, but not every minute, and not enough. Writing it all down helps me remember.

      • I Like Nice Things
        April 17, 2014

        I agree, I try my hardest to show my appreciation everyday but when you get caught up in your own little world it can slip your mind..

        • jgroeber
          April 20, 2014

          It’s how well I treat the barista that kills me. And I don’t even drink coffee! And yet it’s so easy to get so exasperated with my soul mate. Go figure.

  16. arunstar11
    April 18, 2014

    nice pic

  17. lizard100
    April 18, 2014

    Really pleased to read a positive post about marriage and wind turbines! Both controversial these days. But both celebrated here. Thank you

    • jgroeber
      April 20, 2014

      What could be controversial about either, right? Everyone should have as much of both as they need to find good health and good livin’ in this world. But that’s just me. A husband-wind-turbine hugger… (Thank you for reading.)

  18. mylenebesancon
    April 18, 2014

    Beautiful writing and post!

    • jgroeber
      April 20, 2014

      Thank you for commenting. Hope to see you here again.

  19. youngfreewifey
    April 18, 2014

    Reblogged this on youngfreewifey and commented:
    A beautiful account of why it’s so important to take time-out from daily-pettiness and invest in simple time together.

  20. kasthuri27
    April 18, 2014

    Im not married yet. But I can feel what you are feeling. Really magic. Or maybe not magic but just one of the beautiful experiences our universe has blessed us with.

    • jgroeber
      April 20, 2014

      It’s the everyday stuff where the beauty can be found. Thanks for reading.

  21. kellyhodo
    April 18, 2014

    Perfect timing – I needed to read that! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful perspective.

  22. vamsithas
    April 18, 2014

    Nice blog and a different view on turbines 🙂

    • jgroeber
      April 20, 2014

      I’m telling you, I love a turbine at sunset. Also, date night. I love date night.

  23. Denise [But First, Live!]
    April 18, 2014

    beautiful 🙂
    And wind turbines always look so alluring ❤

    • jgroeber
      April 20, 2014

      Right? Love the wind turbines.
      And thanks for the comment.

  24. Thank you for this beautiful post! Your writing is so heartfelt and genuine, a pleasure to read, and is also inspirational. I totally agree with the sentiment you expressed so well. Taking time to appreciate and really ‘see’ the ones we love is so important yet they are often the ones we overlook in the busy-ness of life. Thanks for reminding me to stop and breathe and love with intention.

    • jgroeber
      April 20, 2014

      Love with intention… You’ve said it so well. That’s exactly it and so difficult to do.

  25. sbhansen2014
    April 19, 2014

    I stumbled across this post on Freshly Pressed. What a beautiful post. You have written something so positive, so encouraging and so engaging to help us all reflect on the treasure of marriage. I’ve been married for 26 years. And trust me, when that bowl, plate, cup gets set by the sink (not in the dishwasher), and the bed isn’t made, and the snoring is elephant-like, sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel (the dirty one, smashed against the shower);). Thanks for reminding me what NOT to focus on 🙂

    • jgroeber
      April 20, 2014

      Ah, the French press by the sink I edited out! My husband pointed out that the condiment example was sufficient.
      It’s a good reminder for me, too. Be the turbine, be the turbine.
      And congrats on 26 years! Amazing…

      • sbhansen2014
        April 20, 2014

        Thank you…husbands can be very annoying;) But we love them anyway. Besides, WE are perfect, right? Thanks for the post!

  26. Silent~Dugood
    April 19, 2014

    Date night allows you to be thankful for alone time and yet have the joy of turbines good,bad or indifferent.

    • jgroeber
      April 20, 2014

      Date night is clutch. Even if it’s just one dedicated night a week, after the kids go to bed, sitting on the deck with a baby monitor and a game of Scrabble with your one and only. No phones or iPads or tv. Just the people we chose to spend our lives with.

  27. moujahidaabdo
    April 20, 2014

    Reblogged this on moujahidaabdo's Blog.

  28. Milieu de la Moda
    April 20, 2014

    Reblogged this on Milieu de la Moda.

  29. Bebe Lee
    April 20, 2014

    Reblogged this on Busy Mom Chronicles.

  30. johnmosesctri
    April 21, 2014

    Reblogged this on christian life.

  31. tamberrinoartstudio
    April 21, 2014

    Loved that. I, too, cherish my husband of 20 years and our happy marriage. It’s nice to read a post about someone who values that bond. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    • jgroeber
      April 24, 2014

      20 years! Lovely. I hope you still date night.

  32. phiilosophii
    April 21, 2014

    Art, motherhood and life. All the things I love. Really looking forward to continue reading your stories and thoughts. All things good/ sophie

  33. Dani
    April 22, 2014

    This was lovely and written in a way that touched my soul.

    • jgroeber
      April 24, 2014

      Thank you for your kind words. I love when the stories we tell belong to us and belong to others, too.

  34. amlakyaran
    April 23, 2014

    very nice post…

    • jgroeber
      April 24, 2014

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  35. andredelicata
    April 23, 2014

    Reblogged this on Thoughts & Reflections.

  36. Tara Aarness
    April 23, 2014

    My husband always reminds me with a wink, “Don’t sweat the petty things, just pet the sweaty things.” He’s right, just as you are. It’s the small things that make big impacts on our lives, yet we rarely notice until something forces us to do so. Then our hearts are filled with longing and regret, and optimistically, gratitude for what we still have before us and hopeful we never forget again. The simplicity of existing has created chaos in relationships the world over. In this vicious cycle we fail to find, more importantly keep, perspective until a simple twist of fate forces us to surface for air and appreciate our surroundings before being sucked under again. Thanks for the kind reminder to appreciate my surroundings.

    • jgroeber
      April 24, 2014

      Ha! I love that response from your husband. That sounds like a date night classic.
      It’s amazing how easy it is to be kind to those whose lives we just brush up against for a moment but compliments and generous gestures are forgotten for those we love the most. Every once in awhile my husband will remind me that he just sneezed because I totally forgot to say Gesundheit, something I would fall out of a seat to say to a stranger in a waiting room.
      I like your last line, “Appreciate our surroundings…”

  37. michaeltremblay43
    April 24, 2014

    That’s cool

  38. appslotus
    April 24, 2014

    Reblogged this on Apps Lotus's Blog.

  39. jamiediger
    April 24, 2014

    Beautiful post. This part really resonated with me

    “The things we value fall to the bottom of our purse like loose change or a diamond engagement ring, all covered with sticky dust from smashed Oreos and crushed Crayons.”

    thanks for sharing

    • jgroeber
      April 25, 2014

      Thank you for reading. That’s the part that seems to fit my life the most… every day is a little like the bottom of my bag, and the crushed Oreos and Crayons are the least of it.

  40. Pingback: Husband Haiku | Leslie's Music Studio

  41. Pingback: Husband Haiku – Parchment Cadenza

  42. Leslie Newlin
    April 24, 2014

    This is SO beautiful. I love your story. Thank you for such a hopeful and realistic image of marriage. Your post inspired me to write a little something on my blog! Hope you don’t mind I referenced you and included a link to your post 🙂 http://parchmentcadenza.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/husband-haiku/

    • jgroeber
      April 25, 2014

      Lovely haiku, the perfect way to capture such a small but enormous moment.

  43. Povonte
    April 26, 2014

    I’ve never learned so much from any other blog post. Enjoyed reading this today.

  44. adrianapridemore
    April 28, 2014

    I am glad you wrote this. I’ve been married for 17 years and I cherish every moment we have together no matter how mad I get at him for silly things. Oddly enough he works on the wind towers and has to go wherever the wind blows him for work, so the kids and I rarely see him, maybe once every six weeks. So count your blessings that you have yours around to have a date night every week and never take it for granted.

    • jgroeber
      April 29, 2014

      How wild that your husband works on the turbines! He may have even been part of the crew that brought that big turbine through town to deliver it on the marshes.
      Thanks for the reminder to cherish the fact that I get to see my husband every night.

  45. Megan L.
    May 4, 2014

    So very, very true! Thank you!

  46. Pingback: Getting Out of My Own Head. The Reasons I Write. | Perfection Pending

  47. Rambling
    August 13, 2014

    Reblogged this on She's Rambling and commented:
    although not exactly my scenario it got my attention. My husband is at the top of the tower.
    this made my day Thank you so much

  48. jgroeber
    August 13, 2014

    Husband at the top of the tower? Hoping that’s a metaphor and that you’re there with him, too? Ha!
    Thank you for the re-blog and the comment.

  49. talesfromthemotherland
    November 22, 2014

    *Sigh* Stunning! I must have missed this, when I was away… so much!… in the spring. I was looking for your email on your site, and found it. So, I still need your email. 😉

  50. Pingback: 50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude | jen groeber: mama art

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