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marriage

Perfect Certainty

2002

Almost 15 years ago we stood here on this beach together, but not together of course, not yet.  I took so many side glances in your direction on that trip.  I was drawn to you from the start.  I still am.  Is it weird that I still get a rush when I sneak a peek at you 15 years later?  Even now, you are still drawing me in.  

 

When we walked that beach, I never dreamed it could be this good.  On that trip I hoped we would end up together and hoped you felt the same about me as I felt about you.  But this, what we have now, my brain couldn’t have handled it.  Our life isn’t perfect, that’s for sure.  If it was though, it wouldn’t be real.  I love this real life together.  It is perfect, even in the imperfection.  

 

Sometimes you say that I saved you.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever completely understand that because you are the strongest, bravest, most unconditionally loving being in all of time.  Why would you need to be saved by me?  Even if it is somehow true, there may have been selfish motives on my part.  I need you always.  Every minute of every day.  You make my crazy sane and you teach me what it means to fully love and fully be present.  I didn’t even know there was this thing called emotional intelligence before you.  And empathy has always been hard for me.  You show me everyday what it means to give the boys and I your all.  When I watch you, I learn how to be a better partner and parent.  If I really saved you all those years ago, you have saved me every day after.  

 

A lot has changed since we last stood on this beach.  Now our marriage is a teenager.  Those thirteen years went fast, didn’t they?  It seems like we were never not together.  Even now, thinking back to our trip here, how was it possible we stood on the sand just as friends?  I think we knew it wouldn’t stay that way.  It couldn’t.  Neither of us would have let US not happen.  

 

Now today, we get to watch the boys run and splash in the waves.  Two almost teenagers who certainly got the best of each of us.  Today, we get to be mesmerized by the same ocean and the same waves.  This time though, we get to turn our backs on those waves to walk into a life of certainty.  We walk off that beach hand in hand, with a certainty that we are better together.  We are certain that whatever comes at us doesn’t have a chance.  Certain that we don’t need a perfect life because we have each other.  That’s perfect enough for me.

 

Happy anniversary Sweetie.  I love you more today than all of the yesterdays combined.  

adventures in adulthood, marriage, motherhood

Identity Crisis

I go through periods of struggle when I think of my identity, my label.  So many other adults are parents and something else.  Most of the time that something else is a career.  I do have many something elses, besides being a mom, but they don’t bring a paycheck with them.  Why is it that money seems to be the validating factor for an acceptable label?

I’m a stay at home mom and I absolutely love it.  I also make sure the house is kept up, the meals are cooked, the yard work taken care of, the bills paid and budget balanced and my people loved.  Tim and I joke about how he makes the money and I spend it, but we both know that we couldn’t do our jobs without the other.  Ours is an equal partnership where both of us get to do what we love.  Even though our roles look more traditional, even a little archaic from the outside, we have both chosen our job titles and both have equal power in that decision.

Even though I am completely satisfied with my job and station in life, I panic when asked about it.  Recently I met someone new and she asked me what I do during the week.  It was a normal, nonjudgemental question, but somehow I turned it into this critical, judgey moment.  For some reason I was completely confused about how to answer.  My mind blanked and I frantically tried to recover.  “Do you mean on a typical week or this week specifically?”  Because, really, the answer to that question is so different every week.  Sometimes I spend a lot of time at the boys’ school, helping out, sometimes I don’t leave my house for days on end because I’m either scrubbing it clean or I have discovered some much needed project that just HAS to get done RIGHT NOW.  Other weeks, it’s yard work, or errands, or coaching, or chaufferring the boys to whatever current sport they are playing, or laying on my couch reading because I need some rejuvination time while the boys are at school.

But none of that can be wrapped up into a nice and tidy label.  And for some reason, “Stay at home mom” sounds so lame.  I am even ashamed to write that out loud because I’m proud of my job and I love it and I’m lucky enough to be able to do it.  I don’t know why I struggle with the label so much.

Even when asked about “what I do” at social functions or when meeting someone for the first time, I tell them, but then I add on, “…well, and I used to be a teacher.”  I’m not sure why I feel the need to extend the answer.  When Tim gets asked that question, he doesn’t add on his previous five jobs before his current one, most people don’t either.

I admire other parents who are self-assured in being work from home parents.  I look up to those that have careers outside the home while simultaneously taking care of their people.  I respect men and women who don’t have kids and are passionate about their career and life situation.  Most of all I stand in reverence of the confidence.  I want more of it.

I know that we all aren’t perfect at our jobs and in life.  Sometimes we drop the ball on certain responsibilities.  Other times we get lazy.  And sometimes outside forces make living and breathing painful.  Those are not the parts I’m talking about, the personal crisis lies in the identity as a whole.

Just the fact that I’m so sensitive about this flabbergasts me.  I pride myself on being an individual and not conforming to what other people think about me.  For example, I have no qualms about walking around in public in a bikini.  And by in public, I mean water parks, beaches and the like, not the grocery store.  Geez, I’m not THAT weirdly confident.  I know I have stretch marks and my body goes out in places it didn’t used to.  It’s also not huge in other places most would like the size increase.  According to American beauty standards and some public opinion, I probably shouldn’t be walking around in a bikini.  But, here’s the thing, I don’t freaking care.  I feel free and brave and I love it.  Besides, those one piece bathing suits pinch and pull in places I can’t even talk about.  Pinching, pulling, constricting, covering up.  I won’t do that, it’s not me and I don’t care if anybody disagrees.

So I’m fairly confident in most areas of my life, but this whole job title sends me down a personal existence rabbit hole.

I do know one thing for certain, I’m not questioning my position in life because I want something different.  The other day I was walking Clementine around the block and I walked past a group of kids I didn’t recognize.  I heard them pause and say with a sort of reverence, “Oh, look!  That’s Jack’s mom.”  I was so proud in that moment.  Yes, that’s exactly who I am.  I am a lot of other things too, but that, being Luke’s mom and Jack’s mom and Tim’s wife, those are the labels that make me swell with joy.

Maybe I am too worried about others’ perception.  I only panic when asked about what I do.  Never when I’m in my day-to-day element do I get anxious about it.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want others to think of me in the traditional terms my job title may imply.  I want my answer to show all of who I am, but I guess they aren’t asking about that.  All they are inquiring about is one aspect of my life.  I hate the fact that this is a usual small talk question.  It implies that your job title and description hold heavy weight in your identity.  I wish it were normal to first ask questions like, “What are you passionate about?” or “What are your hobbies?” or “Who are the people in your life and what are they like?”  That might make things weird though because most people don’t want to go that deep when they first meet someone.  Starting off with, “So, what are your struggles in life?” probably isn’t a good idea.

The normalized small talk questions aren’t the problem.  It’s me and my hangups that are the issue.  I always feel a justification of how much I accomplish is needed for proof of my meaningfulness.  But I already know my worth, I shouldn’t need outside validation.  I guess that’s where the root of the problem lies.

Yes, my job description doesn’t always look neat and tidy.  The answer to, “But, what do you do all day?” is never a short one and is always evolving.  I think what I need, is to borrow a little of the confidence and fierceness I have in other areas of my life and bring it over to this one.  No, I’m not really using my college degree.  No, I don’t need a masters to do my job well.  No I don’t technically get a paycheck.  And no, I don’t need anybody else’s validation of my worth.

What do I do?  Who am I?

I’m a wife and a mom and I work from home.  That is the simple and complicated answer.

change, faith, love, marriage, parenting

#marriageequality

Me: Boys, BOYS!!! GET IN HERE.  We need to talk about something.

A mini earthquake is created by the feet pounding down the stairs.  They are assuming they are in trouble.  Their minds mentally searching for the mess they forgot to clean up or the chore they didn’t do.  They breath a sigh of relief when they see excited smiles on Tim’s and my face.

Tim:  Guess what?  Today is a historical day.  Great news just got reported.

Me: So, today, the Supreme Court just passed a really positive law.  The Supreme Court is the highest court in our country.  They are like the bosses of all our country’s laws.  What they say goes.  Do you know what equality for all means?

Both nod their heads.

Me: It’s like what Martin Luther King Jr. wanted everybody receiving all the same rights no matter who they were.  Well, today, the Supreme Court just said that everybody can get married.  Even if it’s a man and a man or a woman and a woman.

Luke:  That wasn’t already a law?

Tim:  Nope.  Some people in our country didn’t think gay or lesbian couples should have that right.

Luke: Why did they think that?

Tim: Well, some people read the Bible and interpret it in thinking that God thinks being gay and living a gay lifestyle is a sin.  Mom and I think that is a misinterpretation of the Bible.

Me: We think God made some people who love others who are the same sex as them and other people who love the opposite sex.

Tim:  Love is always a choice, no matter who you love.  When I met Mom, she made my heart go pitter patter.  It just so happened that she was a girl and I was a guy.  We are what people call heterosexual.  Some boys get crushes on boys and some girls get crushes on girls.  They are called homosexual because they love the same sex.    All of us will get to choose who to love and it doesn’t matter if it’s someone who is the same as you or opposite of you.  It’s never sinful to love.  God wants us to love, he demands it.  And He doesn’t care if you marry a man or a woman.  And now, in our country marriage is a right that everybody gets to have.

Jack: Cool.

Tim: Jack, do you think gay marriage should be legal?

Jack: Yeah.

Tim: Why?

Jack:  <<pauses>>  Well….I can’t think of any reason it should by Uh-legal.

Me:  Dad and I wanted to talk to you about this today because it’s so exciting for our country.  But, more importantly, we want to tell you that you can love whoever you want.  If you have a crush on a girl we want to hear about it.  If you have a crush on a boy, we would love to hear about it too, so we can get excited with you.

Tim:  And boys, we wanted to let you know that there is absolutely nothing you can do that would make us stop loving you.  Even if you hurt us, or stopped talking to us forever, or if you made a mistake, we would still love you.  No. Matter. What.  Even if you disagree with us on this issue or any other, everyday we will love you more than the day before.

Me: You guys know that right?  That no matter what you do, or who you love, we will never ever stop loving you and supporting you.

Luke and Jack: Yep.

By this time, I realized they were getting  a little antsy and kept glancing out the window.

The neighbor boy had set up his Slip n Slide and I saw that they had already suited up in their swim trunks.

Me: You guys want go out and play in Jay’s yard, huh. (Both nod). Go for it.

I yelled a, “We love youuuuuu,” as they darted out the door, to play in a RAINBOW colored Slip n Slide.

Perfect.  This day couldn’t get any better.