A Pinata for Jesus (a non fiction story for John and Marie)

“Come on and just hit it once, babe”, he said trying to include her into the family tradition of LasPosadas (a re-enactment of, No room at the Inn) . This was their first Christmas together as a young couple yet the tradition of going room to room, knocking on the door and asking brother or sister if there is room in the Inn, ending the festivities by hitting a pinata and eating tootsie rolls and faux Starburst  while opening presents was enough to put the love and integrity of this young couple to the test.

It was disappointing to Marley (he had been named after Bob Marley during his parents hippy, foreign substance days- at one point his parents had moved the family into a tee pee)  Lucy was not more into this family tradition. These are those awkward and disappointing moments where young couples discover that they liked the other one better when they were playing along and acting like everything they did was cute and adventurous. It’s when couples start asking themselves, “What happened to this person that found my jokes humorous and my anecdotes intriguing?” Yet, every Hollywood illusion must come to an end. The reality and annoyances of couple-hood set in and  we eventually have to ‘deal’ with the task at hand. We have to face the fact that the sound of their jaw clicking while eating a ciabatta role is enough to make you want to hit them over the head with the Heinz 57 bottle, the glass ones. What happened to the love? The cuteness of stinky feet and bad breath? The gazing with a half smile while they tell a boring story? I’ll tell you what happened, the ego kicked in! But I digress….

As Lucy was ‘forced’ to go room to room, singing with the family on the ukulele and asking if there was room for this baby to be born, she became more and more annoyed by the minute. “What have I gotten myself into?” she thought. “I liked him so much better when we drank Earl Grey together and talked about old movies that we watched while separately growing up in the eighties. Who knew that someone else saw Blazing Saddles and laughed during ‘the sheriff is near’ bit? Now I am singing, We Three Kings to the sound of a Hawaiian guitar, feeling like a fool and wanting desperately to Yule someone’s log to the pavement.”

Lucy and Marley are like all of us who have experienced love. This is always how it begins. We feel nothing can go wrong now. Others may struggle in their ego but not us. Jeff and Jan may argue publically about the exact quote from Seinfield episode 177, but not us! We’re solid and what’s more we know how to give and take. Give, take, Give, take. That’s what it’s all about; give and take!

But we are who we are, human, that is. Our ego lives and it is dying to stand it’s ground. One moment we will give our beloved the moon and the next we are slapping their hand to take it off of our friggin’ star! We become toddlers who cry, MINE! This does not denote love, it just exemplifies the reality of our humanity. Our egos are not evil, they just need crucifixion in the face of selfishness. Our love for one another grows stronger in the midst of our battling egos, and I do believe Lucy and Marley are rejoicing that their egos live.

After Las Posadas with Marley’s family a decision was made in this fresh relationship; never again will we surprise one another. Never again will we argue over petty incidences. Always will we mature in our communication and always will we give to the other what the world does not have, peace with one another! Today is a new day and we shall be triumphant!

Marley and Lucy exemplify the norm for most of us; the reality of disappointment and unmet expectations with the ones we love the most. I have no patience for couples that seem to act as though “everything is peachy and we’re getting along as smooth as creme cheese”. The reality is that love, at it’s core, is a choice to endure even in the midst of extreme disappointment and disillusionment. We thought they would want to zig yet they preferred to zag. They did not appreciate our attempt at a romantic evening by offering a ‘separate date night- you do your thing and I’ll do mine’. You wish she sang yet she preferred to remain silent. Love is full of complexity only because humans are complex; gloriously complex in their dignity and design. They often zig when we wanted them to zag and they usually surprise us with change and movement when we really thought we had their sedentary self all figured out. Blast! Yet, I believe, despite the predictable difficulty that relationships possess,  we wouldn’t have it any other way. Tension is a gift so glory in it!

My anecdote reveals more than a simple story of the rawness of human relationships at their finest. I’m convinved that Lucy and Marley have made a memory that makes for good conversation around the table at the dinner party. When asked, “what is your most awkward moment together?” everyone has their story and even though we prefer the traditional stocking filled with special dark chocolates and dollar gifts from Target, secretly we long for the pinatas filled with sweets for the ninos and songs of Silent Night sung to the sound of the ukelele. It’s your story being written; not theirs, but YOURS!

* the names and characters have been changed to protect the innocent


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