I still remember the night my husband and I came back from our honeymoon. Unlike most newlyweds who come back to their cute, tidy place, after a little over a ten hours-flight, I stepped into a cluttered one-bedroom apartment filled with unassembled furniture, wrapped boxes, travel bags, and tons of other stuff everywhere.
It was the first time in my life to leave my parents’ house and live with someone else. It felt awkward and bizarre at first. I had a severe sense of lack of belongingness mixed with nostalgia. And even though I spent ten days with my husband in the honeymoon, I still felt out of place. I knew I didn’t belong to where my parents live anymore, but I also was not able to adjust to my new home either. It was the weirdest feeling ever.
In the evening, I had to prepare for work the following day, after being away for almost three weeks. I prepped my outfit, did my hair, and was about to prepare my lunch box. I headed to the kitchen, opened the fridge, looked in the pantry, and I found myself confused and lost. I had an instant meltdown in the middle of the kitchen. I went back to the room, and I sat on the edge of the bed as I began to sob hysterically. My husband rushed to the room to check up on me. He tried to calm me down by hugging me tight, but nothing seemed to work. He kept on asking what was wrong, but he received nothing as a response. Patiently yet anxiously, as he sat next to me, he wrapped his arms around my shoulders in an attempt to relieve me. We stayed still for quite some time until I was finally able to utter just a few words; “it’s the lunch box.”
My husband had the same reaction you, as readers, are having right now. And here is why I broke down over a “lunch box.” When I was still living with my parents, my mother used to prepare my lunch box for me every single morning since I was three until I became twenty-nine. Don’t get me wrong; I was not rotten spoiled nor handicapped! Mothers in Egyptian culture tend to do almost everything for their husbands as well as children. They are so used to it; it comes naturally. My mother was so used to waking up with me every morning to prepare my lunch box, even after I graduated from college and started working. She was so committed, never missed a day. On the other side, I never got the chance to prepare it for myself. I know it’s not a biggie, but I was never used to it. The same thing with cooking. I was that girl that never stood in the kitchen, and when she did, she had to burn something that would make her mother yell her out of the kitchen, and swear by her life that her daughter would be a complete failure when she gets married, and her husband would probably return her the very next day of their wedding.
All of a sudden, I got married. I found myself living with my husband for the first time, not my parents. And I am responsible for not only myself, but also for another human being. It was overwhelming. I panicked from the thought, from the responsibility, from the stuff that no longer will be done to me. I instantly felt like I miss my mother; I miss my stress-free/minimal-responsibility life. The good, old days seemed to be gone forever. And now, I got to do everything by myself and bare the pressure of proving to my husband that I can do it all. It was not really the lunch box, but rather saying goodbye to the old life and welcoming another. Or rather, welcoming the unknown.
I have been married for two years and four months, now. And I am not only preparing my lunch box, but my husband’s as well. And if God blesses us with children in the future, I will be preparing theirs too! During this time, we have invited over 100 people to our place, and I cooked for all of them. Every December, we invite over 30 people for White Elephant, I cook everything from scratch for all of them, and I strictly refuse to host potlucks. My husband, as well as others, attest that I am a good housewife as well as a decent cook.
My meltdown and anxiety over the “lunch box” incident have revealed to me that God is in control all the time. He gives grace for each season and every new chapter in life. True that I never stood in the kitchen and cooked before in my parents’ house. Yes, I was an adult, and my mother still prepared the lunch box for me. And maybe God allowed me to have this time in my life to cherish and embrace as long as I had it. However, when it was time to bid farewell to this old chapter and welcome a new one, I got to experience His grace and strength that surpass any imagination or expectation. “The lunch box” incident has taught me to trust God no matter what, and know that His sufficient grace will always cover me throughout the different seasons in my life. And even if I ever get to experience “the lunch box” meltdown again, I now know that He got this.
Photo Credit: Sophie Kovic