Wonder: Repost

Matt and I are finishing our vacation away without kids, so I thought this post from a year ago, describing a weekend away with all the kids and extended family, would be fun to remember. I originally wrote this post for ‘Five Minute Friday,’ but I have since changed the last line.

We lay in bed, two separate twin beds, three children crammed in sleeping bags between our beds, at the foot, beside us. And I looked over in that dark room at you, a tall man in that small bed, and you said, “You can come over here.”

And I excitedly climbed over kids to cuddle next to you, if only for a minute before we drifted to sleep. In wonder I lay as you wrapped your strong hands around me, wonder that you who had driven until three in the morning, tired and uncomfortable, loved me so much that you would exchange a good night’s sleep for a sleep holding your wife.

It was then that I knew how much you truly loved me, wrapped in pretzel of arms and legs, as you ignored the ridiculousness of our sleeping arrangement to embrace the comfort of each other.

This couple is not us. (via photobucket.com)

What (good thing) has your spouse done that caused you to wonder?

The Crazy Old Bat and Football: Repost

As Matt and I are away celebrating our ten year anniversary with a much-needed vacation, I thought this week would be a perfect time to pull some of my favorite Matt stories from the archives. This post is one from my “Crazy Old Bat” short-story series, and it makes me giggle every time.

picture by chadfox on photobucket.com

Many people assume the children were to blame for making the old lady crazy, and while they did their part, there were other factors.  Genetics surely came into play, as there were some nuts on both sides of the old woman’s family. However, there was one more culprit that people were quick to overlook–the old lady’s husband.

Mr. Davis was a good man, and one would be hard-pressed to find another who disagreed.  The old lady loved her husband very much, and he loved her, and they shared a marriage full of joyous memories.

When Mrs. Davis thought of her husband, by no means did she picture a stoic man.  He was always affectionate to his children and could laugh at a good joke.  However, the crazy old bat would never say that Mr. Davis was emotional.  In fact, due to her own penchant for drama, she would sometimes wish that he were a little less self-controlled.

For example, on her wedding day, the crazy old lady secretly hoped that the beauty she radiated as a new bride would produce such a wellspring of emotion in her new husband that he would not be able to contain the little tears that would pool in his eyes.  Yet on that day, the old woman (then young, of course) did not get her wish.  As she walked down the aisle, her soon-to-be-husband smiled, clearly delighted that his betrothed kept her promise to be his bride, but he was not moved to tears.

The crazy old lady wasn’t disappointed; after all, everyone reacts differently to different situations, but she was certain the birth of their first child would overwhelm her husband.  She had a difficult labor, and when that little boy finally emerged, the only tears came from him and his mother.  His father looked emotionally spent, probably from worrying the last few hours but, again, did not cry.

Perhaps Mr. Davis would cry at the birth of his first daughter.  This labor was uneventful, no worrying necessary, so he could enjoy her birth and allow the happiness of his little girl’s arrival to wash over him producing that single tear.  When the little girl entered the world, Mrs. Davis glanced at her husband and again noticed a smile but no tears.

The crazy old lady was not crazy yet, so she knew better than to look for tears at the birth of their third child.  Mr. Davis and she rejoiced at the speedy surprise that was their second little girl but kept the dramatics to a minimum.  In fact, the only thing dramatic about this birth was how quickly the entire labor and delivery happened.

So given her history with Mr. Davis, the crazy old woman was a little bewildered on January 1st of 2010.  As she was cleaning up in the kitchen, she happened to look over at her husband who was red in the face and whose eyes appeared to be watering.  She followed his gaze to the T.V. and noticed the montage of football clips that he was watching.  She must have missed something.

“What’s got you so emotional?” she asked, not knowing if there were a good story behind one of the players that just flashed on the screen.

“I don’t know,” Mr. Davis replied.

Mrs. Davis’s gaze let her husband know that she needed a better explanation.

“Year-in-review college football reels always get me emotional.”

At that moment, one of the synapses in the crazy old bat’s brain sparked and fizzled out forever.

Click on the blue tag below to read more ‘Crazy Old Bat’ stories! What is something your spouse has done that has contributed to your own craziness?


Risk

The rain began to tap the windshield as it had ten years prior, when we first drove away as husband and wife. I remembered the nervousness I felt as we sat in traffic (traffic at 11:00 at night, amazingly), quietly waiting to enter the rest of our lives. At the young age of 22, I really didn’t understand the risk I was taking, only that I was in love with a man whom I wanted to love forever. But, now, as we left our car and ran to take cover from the rain that came down cold on our backs, I realized how brave we were.

Ten years ago, we had decided to enter a union knowing that the odds said we had a 50 percent chance of losing. We risked making the vows anyway, deciding that divorce wasn’t an option for us. We knew that rough patches would come along, and we were committed to loving and working together through those times.

Of course, we didn’t know exactly what those rough times would be or the endurance we would need to keep going. We didn’t know the disappointments along the way or the helplessness we would feel when we didn’t know how to help one another. We didn’t know the strain that three kids would bring to our journey nor the darkness of depression. We didn’t know how tired and empty we could feel.

But we had heard ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained,’ and we risked the ‘I do’s’ anyway. And every day since then, we’ve risked giving a little more than we think we have left, losing a little bit of ourselves as we try to serve each other, forgetting comfort as we do what is right instead of what is easy.

I looked across the table that night at him as we ate risotto and laughed at not being cool enough for our waiter and wondered if it was still raining outside. We let our tired selves relax in our chairs as we pushed aside everything but each other.

I watched him smile across the table at me, and I missed our kids–but not really–and I thought of his braveness, our braveness, and strength. We were tired, but we were enjoying each other too much to leave. And ten years later, knowing the risks but experiencing the gain, I quietly said, ‘I do.’

This post was inspired by Lisa-Jo’s ‘Five Minute Friday’ on risk and, of course, my husband of ten years, Matt. I wanted more than five minutes to think about my words, so I mulled over them this weekend. I love you, Matt, and I look forward to risking the rest of our lives together.

 

A Bag of Peaches

When the kids are out of control, and the house is a mess, I like to look ahead 30 years. I imagine my 60-something-year-old self with my children and their spouses gathered around the kitchen table, laughing while we reminisce.

Hannah Grace, do you remember the time Chloe and you made a ‘cake’ with dirt and eggs all over the kitchen floor?” Caleb would ask.

Yes, Mom made us scrub that whole floor on our hands and knees. We never made that mistake again!

Except they did make that mistake again two days later. Clearly, my punishment didn’t carry the desired effect.

My dad’s dad, however, taught my father a lesson with one simple action, and my dad has never forgotten it.

When my father was a child, fruit didn’t sit out on the counter or in a forgotten refrigerator bin waiting to spoil. Fruit was a luxury, and my father remembers fighting over who would get the last banana.

His mother didn’t walk to the local grocery store but instead to the street corner where the vendor set up his cart. One side displayed fresh vegetables, the other the fruit that was in season.

My dad remembers one summer afternoon when he was spending his time with a neighbor boy who Dad since describes as ‘no good.’ I guess, much like nowadays, adolescents get bored easily and find ways to get into trouble. This boy found trouble in the fruit stand. He told my father that when the vendor walked to the other side to help the customer pick out her vegetables, they would each grab a peach.

Dad wasn’t excited about the plan, but he didn’t protest. As the vendor walked around the other side, each boy snagged a piece of forbidden fruit–unbeknownst to them, right under the watchful eye of my grandfather.

Get inside.

I’ve never met my grandfather, but I’m told he was calm and even-tempered. I can almost feel the dread my father must have felt enter his stomach when he heard his own father utter those stern words.

Dad ran inside, peach in hand, and waited in his room.

A few minutes later, my grandfather entered with a bag of peaches and set them down by my father.

The next time you need something so badly that you have to steal, you tell me, and I’ll get it for you.

There was no screaming, no beating that followed, just those words. Sixty years later, those words cause my dad’s eyes to water as he remembers his father and this story.

That story always stuck with my father and shaped him in ways that a beating probably couldn’t. My dad describes how he could never steal after that moment, how that moment even affected the way he carried out business as an adult.

And that moment affected me, as well. I wish I had gotten the chance to meet my grandfather–all I know of him are the stories that my father shares–but they have helped me form a picture. In my mind’s eye, I see a wise man. I see a man who didn’t have the money to spend on a whole bag of peaches, but he knew that honesty and integrity are worth far more than all the riches in the world.

My grandfather didn’t know at the time the effect of his actions. He didn’t know that that one action would reach out to later generations as I try to raise my own children in a way pleasing to God.

I wish I could’ve met him, and I pray for his wisdom. While no parent wants their children to do wrong, we know they will. And on that day, I hope for my own bag of peaches to pass on to my children, to teach them and remind them as they carry the weight in their hands.

What is a punishment that you will never forget?

 

Top Ten Statements You Don’t Want to Hear During a Haircut

It’s been a while since I’ve done a top ten list, but after yesterday, I knew it was time to start creating again.

My sister started training at a well-respected hair design school, but, before she finished her coursework, she decided cosmetology was not for her. As a result, she doesn’t have her license to cut hair. However, I took a gamble yesterday. I didn’t want to pay for an expensive haircut this month, so asked Lisa if she felt comfortable doing my hair. After all, she dyes it for me frequently, and besides the one hair disaster, she does a great job. Lisa agreed, said she felt confident with the picture I showed her, and, therefore, I felt confident–that is, until I heard the following ten statements during the process of my haircut:

10. It’s really hard to cut hair without a swivel chair.

9. Shh! I can’t have any noise.

8. I need to stop for a minute and breathe in a paper bag. It’s not your hair; I’m just feeling really panicky.

7. *Expletive*

6. Argh. Your hair is so hard to cut–it shows every mistake.

5. Well, I don’t think this is the worst haircut you’ve ever gotten….

The picture I gave my sister was of Carey Mulligan in the movie Drive. Enter brother-in-law to offer his two cents:

4. I don’t know if you look like Carey Mulligan. You look more like Keanu Reeves in Point Break. 3. Mason: “Where’s the picture you were using?”

Lisa: “I don’t know…I don’t even remember what it looks like anymore.”

2. I give up

1. Mason: No, Lisa, cut here. It’ll look like you are trying to do what you did on that side.

Despite the terror I felt during the process, I’m pretty pleased with the end result. Thanks, Lisa!

What’s the craziest thing you heard during a haircut?

Strength and Courage

If I’m honest, I yearn for the days of ‘easy.’ I look forward to each milestone of independence with my kids, and I hope for the days when my husband’s job will take away less time from the family. Sometimes, my eyes focus on a reality that isn’t here, imagining my life the way I want to live it if I could just tweak a few details about the present.

Last night, I wanted to read a book. I’ve been reading the same book for months as the end-of-the-school year madness left me too tired to think most nights. Unfortunately, that tiredness left me too tired to wake up many mornings, and I felt the nudge to read my neglected Bible first.

I decide to read Joshua chapter 1 after hearing a sermon on Joshua 6 that afternoon. In the first nine verses, God tells Joshua three times to “Be strong and courageous.” I couldn’t help but think that God was speaking those words to me, too.

Now, I realize I’m not leading an entire nation across the Jordan river, but I am leading three little ones every day. Many nights, I close my eyes in fear as I pray, as I beg God to hold my children close, as I yearn for Him to make me a better mother–but the words He spoke to Joshua are the same for me:

“Be strong and courageous…”

Why?

“…for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9)

God is with me, no matter where Matt works, no matter the ages of my kids, no matter my successes and failures in parenting, and all He asks of me is that I am strong and courageous. I can find that strength and courage if I remember that He is the one who gives it to me.

Last night, sleep came easily, as it does most nights, but before I closed my eyes, I thought and prayed about what I had read. While I would still love to tweak a few details here and there for the future, I’m going to work harder at being strong in the present.

For God is with me.

Photo by NeilsPhotography

*in verse 9, emphasis added is mine

Where is God telling you to be strong and courageous?

Linking up with Michelle and Jen today.