It is that time of year when the weather has turned, and we can almost see winter fading away in the rear view mirror. There is still the chance we will see snow again, in Chicago, even as late as April. From our very young school days, we were all taught that March comes in like a lion but goes out like a lamb, but what they failed to teach us was that March is also a very ugly month. This is not intended to be a metaphor, take a look around. It is ugly out there.
Although most of the snow is gone, in most bigger parking lots there are still those jagged piles of melting snow that were pushed to one end of the parking lot, covered in that black slime that comes from God knows where, and what is left along the sides of most streets is all the crap and garbage that has been collecting over the winter. The grass is all brown from the long winter of no sun, and in my neck of the woods, rabbit turds cover most of the ground around the naked bushes and shrubs. The streets themselves are ripped up and full of potholes from all the salt and plow trucks, and there are still way more gloomy days than sunny ones even though the temperature is on the rise.
In our house, over the past few days, it has also been a little ugly. I had to take my son’s i-pod away for a week because of a bad grade in Music. He was caught cheating on a test and was given a zero. The test was worth 100 points. The really sad thing is the teacher informed me that Alex was supplying most of his answers to another student, and was given a chance to admit what had happened, but he chose not to. I have a feeling the exchange of information was not as one-sided as the teacher thought, so I am fine with the punishment that was issued. He was after all, indeed cheating, and he was also stupid enough to get caught. He is a smart kid, and I hope he learns his lesson. I really don’t want to have to make a habit of confiscating his i-pod. I don’t even know how to use the damn thing, so it does me no good.
Maureen has been working some extra shifts away from school to keep up with the bills and to make payments on our upcoming wedding. She has been in a little bit of an ugly mood herself, and I didn’t make things better last night by making a bad joke about sending off our invitations on Evite. This of course made her cry, and I just looked like a big dick. Not the first time that has happened. We went to bed without the usual goodnight talk, and I could still tell she was upset this morning. I am sure the Evite thing is not the whole story, and as I pushed a little to figure out what was wrong she subtly told me to mind my own business. I agreed to drop it, but told her I expected her home tonight as her old cheery self. She said something about me dismounting a firetruck, minus a few letters.
So March continues on its ugly way. But in many ways, this ugliness is necessary. Things can not be perfect all the time, and it is this ugly months that help define our Spring and Summer. Without the dirt and garbage and wetness, the flowers and the grass can not begin their journey towards Summer. The trees and the bushes are now bare, but soon they will start to bud. We already have some bulbs starting to break ground in our front yard, and I am hoping to get enough of a fence up this weekend to keep the rabbits from making a Spring snack of them. Our tomato and pepper plants are sitting in a window upstairs, and they are starting to sprout also. In a couple of weeks we will put them in bigger pots and nurse them in those until the ground outside is ready for planting.
By the end of the week, Alex will have his i-pod back and Maureen and I will have forgotten all about our own ugliness. But just like the month of March, relationships need a little bit of ugly time too. It is how we learn to deal with these ugly times that will define our relationship and our marriage. I certainly don’t like that we went to bed last night with things unresolved, but sometimes that is just how things have to be. Hopefully this bout of ugliness will pass soon, and we can get back to enjoying our time and each others company. We will make it through the month of March. Spring is right around the corner, and it should be a real good April.
But I will keep a hold onto that firetruck just in case.