I was cleaning out my closet several years ago and casually tossed a black and white polka dot dress into the give away pile. My husband Art happened to walk by and ask what I was doing.
I knew I needed to ease into this conversation because he’s not much into giving away a piece of clothing just because it’s out of style. His theory is if it isn’t threadbare, it’s still perfectly good to wear.
Plus, he no longer grows out of clothes. That pretty much stopped for him in high school.
I, however, have a different body type. One that has issues which require size options…especially around my thigh, hip, and waist regions.
And I’m no fashionista but if people start asking to borrow things from your closet for the ugly Christmas sweater party or a throwback to the 80’s themed get-together, it might be time to get rid of some things.
So, I quickly replied, “Just getting rid of some things we no longer need.”
“Well you can’t get rid of this dress,” he stated with great passion.
And then just as I was about to explain what birthing babies did to the body that used to wear that dress he continued:
“I mean this is the dress you were wearing when I fell in love with you.”
Needless to say, I kept the dress.
But it no longer hangs in my closet.
Let me explain.
This past summer, as I was preparing for child number 4 to leave for college, I decided to do a little redecorating in our home. And as part of this process, I also decided I wanted the artwork in our home to tell the story of our family.
I didn’t want to purchase things to hang on the wall just because they looked cute and filled the space with a decorative flair.
I wanted my walls to talk and tell our story. It’s not that our story is epic. Not at all. But I love tracing God’s hand of faithfulness in our lives through the ups and downs of our imperfect love.
So, when you walk in the front door, you’ll find the dress.
This is where it all started. There was a crazy city girl in a polka dot dress that caught the eye of a farm boy from Alabama. And then all this happened because the two of them fell in love.
This is the copy of the prayer Art’s dad prayed over us on December 5, 1992. I wore a long white dress I got on the clearance rack for $200. My little sister, who was just 2 at the time, sang “happy birthday” at the top of her lungs during the lighting of the unity candle. And the first morning of my honeymoon I had to brush my hair with a fork because I’d forgotten to pack a hairbrush.
The first year of our life together wasn’t easy or blissful. But one of the greatest gifts we got that year was this letter from Art’s grandfather. After describing in great detail the homemade biscuits and giblet gravy Mamaw had made for him that morning, he wrote what has become our motto for marriage: “Life is more than just the living of it. Now, go discover it together.”
There were kids and dogs and beach trips with sunburns. There were sleepless nights and tears and a hormonal wife that threw orange juice across the kitchen. There was forgiveness and flirting and days we just pressed through.
And we marked how they grew on the doorframe of the kitchen. The days were long but the years so short.
This is the making of an imperfect family who is still crazy about one another. So, I guess you could say our walls do talk. They tell a love story. Our story. My favorite story.