have you guys seen those memes? the ones with two photos of the same man side by side, but in one photo they’re dressed to the nines, and in the other they’re all nerdy and/or casual? i believe the meme started with this:
i love this meme. i love it so much. and i believe that i’ve got a man who can indeed “do both”.
in the last week, i’ve watched Mister Man put the finishing touches on the fence in our backyard that he built with his own two hands, then come inside and play “chase me dad!” with our daughter for an hour. i’ve watched him go to work to earn a living for our family, then come home and make dinner for us while i’m busy with one baby nursing and the other trying to sit on my lap at the same time.
he is tough and he is gentle. he can work with tools and comfort a baby with those same two hands. he is equally comfortable at a dive bar on friday night or at church on sunday.
there’s nothing like having a baby with someone to bring out their best and worst characteristics. after having a second one with Mister Man, i can say that this baby daddy of mine is pretty much the perfect man. he would tell you otherwise, because that’s just the kind of guy he is, but it’s the honest to goodness truth. i don’t tell him enough, but i can’t imagine anyone else i’d rather be married to or raise kids with.
so i guess what i’m trying to say after all that is this: make sure that when you make your decisions about life partners or baby daddies, that you get you a man who can do both.
if you’ve been around the last few years (year one, year two, year three), you’ll remember that Mister Man and i celebrate our anniversary with the traditional gift rules. year four is fruit/flowers.
i think i understand why the gift for the 4th anniversary is fruit and flowers. the 4th year flies by. the 4th year is full of life and work and family and sometimes even pregnancies and lost babies and crazy toddlers. the 4th year feels heavy and light at the same time, full of both newness and familiarity.
and so the flowers and fruit – sweet and fresh – they are a tender and quiet reminder that living life produces beautiful things all on its own. we need that reminder, don’t we? because not every anniversary feels momentous for its own sake. because sometimes life keeps you from seeing your growth, but even so, that life is a gift in and of itself. growth happens whether you’re paying attention or not, and if you’re lucky, you get to grow with someone who produces beautiful fruit and flowers that make you smile down to your very soul.
I’m lucky to get to grow with this guy. Mister Man is everything that i never knew i needed in a husband, a friend, a partner and a co-parent to our children. i don’t know how he does it, but with each year that passes he somehow manages to become more self-giving and hardworking. here i am just trying to keep it together, and he makes sure that our family is thriving. and he does it all with a smile (well, mostly…there’s an appropriate amount of sass mixed in there too!).
going from just the two of us living in an apartment together in 2012, to owning a house, to raising our sweet Amelia, to going through losses, to expecting our baby zee – that’s a lot of growth for any couple to handle. and the sad reality is that many can’t handle it. many marriages crumble when life gets a little crazy. but we are here still loving each other more than we did on our wedding day four years ago, through many prayers, endless conversations, and the grace of God.
if the last two years of marriage with a kid has been any indication, year five is going to fly by with two of them. and that’s okay, because we’ll be flying through it together. hopefully able to take a step back once in a while and appreciate as much of it as we can.
Mister Man: thanks for always cooking dinner with me, for being the best dad and husband in the world, for putting up with my snoogle, and for making this life of ours so much fun to live. i hope that i make you laugh as much as you make me laugh, and i hope that i am loving you half as well as you’re loving me.
hi friends! are you all ready for today? are your stretchy pants out, is your turkey defrosted, and is your thankfulness list written? i have a lot to be thankful for this year. a wonderful family, a thriving marriage, a healthy child, and general happiness. i’d say that’s a pretty good list.
i’ll be spending thanksgiving in minnesota with my husband, my daughter, and my in-laws. i’m really crossing my fingers for some festive snow and also some stovetop stuffing. (what is it about that stuffing that makes my heart sing? it’s just SO GOOD.) i might throw together a little brussels sprouts dish for the group, and if i get really crazy, i just might make the apple cider sangria that i did a periscope tutorial for last week. and of course there will be some serious football watching.
i want to wish all of you a very happy thanksgiving. may you have so much to be thankful for that it takes you the whole night to remember it all. i, for one, am thankful for each and every one of you who continues to come here to read this blog. sharing my life and my words with you is one of my favorite things, and it means so much to me that you all stick around.
i heard the thud of ceramic on wood first. a dull ‘thwack’ on the floor of my daughter’s room. then i heard the silence before the, “uh oh. i didn’t think that could break.”
i fought every instinct in my tired body to not rush in and immediately start pointing fingers and scolding. i fought it because my first instinct was to berate my husband for giving my daughter yet another breakable belonging of mine (they’re always mine, you know?). just a few weeks before she had thrown a porcelain dish from my trip to morocco on the hallway floor. it shattered it just enough to not be able to glue it back together. so all i wanted to do was huff and puff and act like a spoiled teenager.
once i had confirmed that everyone was physically okay, i asked what happened, and he said, “i thought she’d like the angel, but then she just let go of it. i thought it was made of wood so it wouldn’t matter, but then the arms broke off.” there it was, sitting in two pieces, a clean break of the arms of the angel. it was a fixable break, but for some reason it made me so angry that i let my spoiled teenager come through for just a moment, a split second. “i guess i can never have anything special in this house ever again, because nobody seems to care about it.”
and in that split second of losing my patience, i had hurt someone’s feelings, created tension in my marriage, and caused myself to become the bad guy in a situation that didn’t need one.
patience is a tender thing. it develops slowly, and unless you give it lots of attention, it won’t grow to be very strong. it’s a virtue, a gift of the holy spirit, and it happens to be the one that i lack the most. i never knew i didn’t have the gift of patience until i had a child, because it had never been tested on such a regular, unending basis. i could be patient for big things, here and there. but the little things, the minutiae of everyday, i simply was not able to tolerate being patient for those things.
and then i had a baby. and my whole life became focused on the minutiae. getting dressed. eating. sleeping. getting from one place to another. and most of the time, those little things were out of my control. patience, it would seem, is the only way everyone gets out of early childhood (and marriage with young children) alive. what to do when you don’t have it? how do you have a happy marriage and a happy child if you won’t be patient with them?
after the angel broke, my husband showed me what grace and patience looks like. he fixed the angel and left it, along with a love note on our kitchen counter for me to find. he showed me what it is to be eternally patient, and be an example of God’s continuous patience for us, his children. it made me take a step back and realize that things happen everyday that are either fixable or not. there is no in between, no compromise, and so what’s the point of losing your patience over whether it is or isn’t fixable. my reaction won’t change anything, so why not show love and patience in every situation, whatever the outcome? why not live in God’s likeness, like He meant for us to do?
life happens in the little things, so that’s where we need to show the most patience. and that, i realized, is my challenge in this life. my challenge is to find ways to be patient with those around me, to figure out how to bite my tongue longer, to stay calm during situations that deserve a little patience, no matter how much that pushes against my own nature. my flawed, impatient nature.
if you struggle with patience, just know that i am there with you in the struggle. and if i, with all that i am lacking in patience, can manage to get even the tiniest bit better, you can surely get there too. and it will be so worth it in the end.