Monday, May 2, 2011

Turtles in My Dish Draine

Turtles in My Dish Drainer

By Karen Ehman

I wish I could get married all over again.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d still choose the same groom. I’d even pick out the same off-the-shoulder, ivory wedding dress. And I’ve never seen a ring I love more than my custom-made, heart-shaped, half-carat solitaire. No, what I’d like to do all over again is to relive the day my groom-to-be and I visited the bridal registry.

I remember it well.

We met halfway between the Christian college I was still attending and the small town where he’d accepted a position as a youth pastor. Heading up the escalator at the JC Penney store in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I was filled with excitement. What a blast it would be to choose linens, dishes, and decor for the little one-bedroom apartment we’d soon call home.

We pored over the various patterns and styles in the house wares department. I was elated when he agreed to the dishes I had my heart set on and the colors I envisioned for the bathroom, kitchen, and living room.

We discussed comforters and candlesticks, shower curtains and sheets. But as the minutes turned to hours, my once-cheerful fiancé sat slumped on the floor with his back up against the side of a toaster display, mumbling, “I don’t care anymore. Just pick something!”

As a male, he didn’t find the same exhilaration in this activity as I did. I had dreamed of this day for months! We’d select exactly what items we wanted in our humble home. Then well-wishing friends and family members would happily pay for them. What a setup! What I didn’t realize, however, was that these items wouldn’t be for my husband and I alone to use and enjoy. As they say, first comes love, then comes marriage . . . well, you know the rest.

Now three children and 25 years later, I wish I could choose my items all over again. Who would’ve ever imagined where some of those possessions would one day end up? If I’d known then what I know now? Well, here are some of the choices I would have made differently:

Our state-of-the-art, stainless steel pasta colander. Instead of asking myself, “Is this big enough to hold spaghetti noodles for a party of 12?” I should have pondered the question, “Will this, when turned upside down and placed in our garden, be able to accommodate our son Spencer’s pet toad “Hoppy” and six of his closest kin, providing shelter while still allowing them to breathe?”

Our 200-thread-count, full-size floral cotton sheet set. Instead of making sure it matched our comforter and complemented our bedroom colors, I should have given it this test: “Will it still be in good enough shape 10 years from now to be made into a tablecloth and napkin set for our five-year-old Mackenzie’s Victorian tea table?”

Our Revere cookware set with the copper-clad bottoms. How foolish of me to diligently research and then choose based on its ability to conduct heat on both gas and electric burners. Why was I ever swayed by their warranty plan and top-notch Consumer Reports rating? Rather, I should have asked myself these questions: “Are there enough different-sized pans in this ensemble to make a full drum set for 18-month-old Mitchell armed with two large wooden soup spoons? Will it stand the test of time as the instrument of choice for three different drum-crazed children?” Thank goodness for their lifetime warranty!

Our beautiful silver cake server with the real ivory handle. This one hurts! Here I envisioned cutting our beautiful wedding cake. Then we’d bring this fine piece of cutlery out of storage year after year only for special anniversaries and important milestones. I never dreamed where it would one day end up. Here’s what I should have contemplated instead: “Will this be the perfect fit as a four-year-old’s makeshift belt, instantly turning him into Peter Pan, ready to take on Captain Hook with his (as he puts it) ‘trusty sword’ by his side?”

Our dish drainer. Not much thought went into that decision. I just chose one based on our kitchen color scheme. I should have, however, given thought to this:

“Will this be large enough to properly drain 14 small rubber snakes, six plastic frogs, and four snapping turtles from the dollar store after my five-year-old is finished playing with them in the bath tub?”

Well, there you have it. Thankfully our crystal goblets are safely locked up in the china hutch. Otherwise, who knows what disaster might have befallen them. Just the other day, my boys wondered how many shots from a Red Ryder BB gun it might take to shatter real glass instead of the simple cardboard targets they now use. I should have gone for the Tupperware tumblers!

Karen Ehman is a the Director of Speakers for Proverbs 31 Ministries and the author of four books including A Life That Says Welcome and The Complete Guide to Getting & Staying Organized. She has been a guest on national television and radio programs including At Home Live, Engaging Women, The Harvest Show, Moody Midday Connection and Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.

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Karen resides in Michigan with her college sweetheart-turned-husband, Todd. Together they have three sometimes argumentative but mostly charming teenagers. The Ehman family enjoys regularly opening their home for impromptu pizza parties, ping-pong and sharing Jesus. You can find out more about Karen by visiting her blog at