Ten Years Worthy: The Right to Celebrate


Today, I celebrate my tenth wedding anniversary, a decade of marriage. While other hearts are full of grief and sadness and heartbreak for a myriad of other reasons and they are wading and sorting their way with bare-nerved pain through some of the most difficult of processes, today I celebrate love and progress and growth and partnership. And I have to admit something: the brain weasels threaten and the question rises in the back of my mind like a lump in my throat, a weight in my chest that threatens to stifle and suffocate.

What right do I have to it? What right do I have to be happy, secure, and glaringly in love? What right have I to celebrate in the midst of the trials and troubles of those in my life? I know that I have written on this before, though the circumstances and point of the writing were somewhat different. Still, it is a notion that I struggle with, this right to feel happy, to be happy.

And yet I will. Not necessarily because I deserve to be happy but because I choose to be. Twelve years ago, I made the choice to say yes to the young man who asked me on a date after chivalrously driving me to the airport to fly home for my aunt’s funeral. I chose to say yes when he stood in my dorm room on a Tuesday a year later and those blue eyes of his asked me to marry him (partially because I didn’t give his voice a chance to get the words out). I made and still make a choice to say yes every time since then that he has asked me if I am sure, if I am happy, if I am still glad that I joined my life to his.

Yes. I am sure.

Yes. I am happy.

Yes. I am still glad that I am here, that I am his wife, that we are family, that we are together.

I say yes because it is the truth.Today, I will pray for those who hurt, who are in pain. Today, I will put on a slinky dress (congrats to any fellow fans who get that reference) and enjoy a beautiful dinner with wonderful people and celebrate all that is good in life, for, yes, there is much good. Amidst darkness and pain and sorrow and grief, there is good. There is grace. There is hope. And I will celebrate it all today.

Today, I will pray for those who hurt, who are in pain. Today and every day, I will do my best to care for, encourage, love on, and support them, as they have always done in pouring out themselves for me. But, today, I will also put on a slinky dress (congrats to any fellow fans who get that reference), enjoy a beautiful dinner with wonderful people, and celebrate all that is good in life, for, yes, there is much good. Amidst darkness and pain and sorrow and grief, there is good. There is grace. There is hope. There is love. There is family. There are triumphs. There is new life. And I will celebrate it all today.

 

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Photography by Jordan Barclay. http://jordanbarclay.com

 

 

NaBloPoMo Day 6: No One but “Mister”, No One But “Missus”…


Next year,  I will have been married for ten years. My husband and I have learned a great deal about each other, yet there is still much to learn. Ben works extremely hard each and every weekday (and Sunday) to make sure that I not only have what I need but that I have the means to get what I want. He frequently asks if I am okay and if he can help me if I seem stressed or tired (which is far more frequently than I like to admit). He continues to endeavor to learn my love languages and surprises me with little gifts now and again. He encourages me, tells me how proud he is of me, how glad he is that I am in his life.

I try to keep aware of Ben’s moods, ask if he is OK, if there is anything I can do to help when he is not. I endeavor to support him, uplift him, and encourage him through his teaching and pastoring work. I remind him all the time that I love him deeply and dearly, I am here because I choose to be here, want to be here, and I am not going anywhere.

We call each other helpmeet because that is what we are to each other: we are not only doing life together, we are helping each other through it, supporting and each holding the other up through times of life that are rough. We understand that there are periods of life when one will carry a higher percentage than another. Mine was when Ben was injured in a car wreck, his ankle in a splint/cast and him on crutches/a cane for four months. When I was pregnant, Ben took on a higher percentage of everything in life. Since having our daughter, he has taken on being the sole breadwinner for our family for the first few years of her life as I have been at home with her. We understand that there are periods of life when one will carry a higher percentage than another. However, that does not stop us from being grateful and wanting to make sure that we are doing whatever we can to help each other.

We have walked this road together for almost ten years. We are still growing, still learning each other as we age and grow and change along with life. We have made a great beginning together, I believe, and I am looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

Green top, black pencil skirt, and black fascinator 2

Redux: Hiding Behind a Valentine


Author’s Note: This was my first article that I wrote for The Well Written Woman, posted a year ago today. And it only came about because of my wonderful husband!

Valentine

Last night, the eve of Valentine’s Day, my husband came into the living room and up to me saying, “Elizabeth wanted me to make sure that you got your Valentine. Do you want it?” I looked at him with a rather “huh” look on my face so he repeated himself, tacking “Do you want it now?” to the end. When I still couldn’t think of what to answer, he explained, “She left it on your chair. She’s fourteen months old and has no idea about where to place things.” Complete with that exasperated roll of his eyes that he affects so badly.

Then I got it; he wanted me to open my Valentine from our toddler daughter. I smiled and answered, “Sure, I’d like it. I don’t want to sit on it in the middle of the night.”

So off my husband went, returning with my Valentine in hand. It consisted of an envelope assembled from two stapled pieces of brown construction paper, “Happy Valentine’s Day” written in red crayon across the front. Inside was a pink construction paper card with a red heart on the front, the sweetest poem on the inside, and Elizabeth’s “signature” (Bizzy) on the back, complete with a corner bitten off, as my daughter is wont to do with paper. I started to cry. I mean, really cry. I hugged my husband and he just held me and let me cry for a long while. My heart was so full, though perhaps not for the reason that you would think.

I was not crying because the Valentine was from my daughter, because it really wasn’t. What wrung the tears from my eyes and poured them over my smile was Ben’s heart showing through my first construction paper Valentine. It was his hand that had cut out the heart on the front, his mind and heart that had composed the poem, and his arms that had held our daughter and helped her sign her name to the back of the card. That Valentine might bear Elizabeth’s name but it was a construct of my husband’s loving soul, one that touched me to my core.

While our child is dear and sweet and holds parts of ourselves, Ben and I made the decision together a long time ago that we are a team, we are in this together, and each other comes first. While we love our daughter deeply and fully, we choose to love each other first and best. That may sound horrible to some people but it is a strategy that I have witnessed the success of rather close to home. If we are weak and unloving as a husband and wife, how could we possibly hope to be strong and loving parents to Elizabeth? Ben is my first, and I am his. And I was reminded of that in his little skit and gorgeous Valentine. It was funny, cute, adorable, and amazing. It was created out of love and care for my heart, not because it was something that was expected or had to be done. Ben wanted to remind me that what I do for our Elizabeth and our home is noticed and appreciated, which, for a stay-at-home mom with a toddler, is a great heart-soother. So my most treasured Valentine today is a handmade one on construction paper that bears my daughter’s name, but that is her father’s noble and loving heart on the front of the card. You can’t hide behind her, dear. She’s only two and a half feet tall.