Friday, November 10, 2006

He's 'Nitty.Gritty.' all the way, Baby!

Funny how after just one post here on my blog the tables have turned and I now have a 'new & improved' hubby. Yep. Thanks to your comments and emails since yesterday, Chip is a different guy. He understands me on a different level. He was caught up in the thrill of seeing new comments left for him, and he was happy to share his own thoughts and perspective- even though he doesn't really "know" many of you.
I am grateful for Chip in my life, and am happy to have shared him here with so many of you yesterday. As I thought about his sense of humor, my own sense of humor, our personalities and how much we have grown [literally and in other ways too =)] and changed since we met in 1993, I realized that I am truly thankful for the storms we have had to endure in our lifetime together. It was at about this very time just 5 years ago that I would say our relationship was in the midst of the biggest storm ever. We had faced the death of our 4 year-old daughter, Teagan just months before, and were trying to come to terms with what to do with our lives now that so many of our hopes and dreams had been shattered. We were living with never-ending physical pains (he with fractured ribs and internal injuries & me with post-traumatic stress, nightmares and ongoing headaches), our two surviving children had their own set of issues; we were a less than stellar picture of a happy family. In fact, had Norman Rockwell come into our home to render a painting of us, it could have been titled, "Traumatized Family Hanging on by a Thread".
Seriously, I think back to some of those days and I can still remember and visualize our family. We were grief-stricken, we were sad, we were hurting, we were searching for direction; we were ready to call it quits on more than one occasion. Not that there was so much anger or bitterness or hurt between the two of us, but we were more at a loss of how to pick up the pieces of our lives and put them back together in a way that we would want to live them out again.
I'll admit it. I was the most depressed. From the grief, from my physical injuries, from the lack of sleep I was getting, and for the fact that life had lost any fun and joy that it had had at one time. I wondered at times if we could ever be a 'happy family' again...and if we couldn't, then I thought maybe it would be best if we could split up. I thought, "Maybe if we split up at least one of us could go out and find happiness." I thought it would be easier somehow- as if we could divide our problems in half, and somehow that would lift the burden of our situation.
We stopped ourselves short more than once when this separation idea was discussed- for the well-being of our kids. We decided at one point, that to split up, while it seemed to have it's bright points, had a major downside, and that was the issue of the kids. We knew that the trauma they had just survived and continued to feel the effects of it everyday, was something they did nothing to deserve. We knew that to overcome some of the physical and emotional issues they faced meant that they needed both parents in their lives. The last thing they needed was for Chip and I to split up. It would only add to the problems that already overwhelmed their little souls.
I remember standing in our tiny kitchen, sobbing into Chip one afternoon, not knowing what might happen to us next. However, I do remember that nothing felt more 'right' at that time in my life than being next to him- no matter how badly I hurt inside. He 'felt right' to me.
At this point, I have to give him more credit, because he is the fighter in our family- he is a competitor to the very core. He says he yells at the tv and refs and throws his arms in the air when his teams fumble or the coach calls a horrible play- not because he's a crazy, obsessed fan- but because 'he's passionate'. But he's right. He's passionate about sports and his beliefs and he almost always knows what he wants at any point in life.
When I look back at this time in our life, when we were at our 'rock bottom', I owe him the credit for being the one who was willing to pull us through. He hasn't always been the most charming person to live with- and even admitted to you yesterday, that he missed Ava's birth- not entirely by choice, but still.... Okay. That's a whole different story.
Now, here we are, five years after trudging through life's deepest valley, life's darkest storm, the 'worse' in the vows that we took together, and I can honestly say that I am grateful for that time in our lives. I wouldn't want to live through it again. I wouldn't wish the circumstances we faced on anyone. It was hard. It was painful. It was ugly and gut-wrenching at times, and yet I can see now, from a distance, that it has brought about some wonderful things in our lives.
Chip and I are friends to the core. He knows what I need sometimes more than I do myself. I, in turn, try to support him and be the best non-nagging wife I can almost everyday. =) We're not perfect by any means, and sometimes I wonder how we ever got together. Oftentimes we are more similar than we are different- at least moreso than when we first met. We are still growing and learning and trying to figure out each other. But we are stronger and we have survived TOGETHER.
I laughed at his post yesterday, in regards to the 'men love your liberated, opinionated women' line. He thinks I am liberated and opinionated because he is a man. =) Any ultra-liberal feminist would be outraged at the way I live- choosing to stay home with 4 small children, with no housekeeper in sight, letting my hubby take an all-male tri pto Ireland, and still be sane and happy. Oh yes, he may think I'm liberated and opinionated, but that is because we {mostly} hang out with conservative families like ourselves. I only 'appear' that way because of the people he chooses to measure me against. =)
I also have to add a note in response to so many comments made about Chip getting me DSL for blogging. He's the one that wants it...I'm too cheap. Or should I say, CONSERVATIVE. =) I keep looking for good deals, or trying to justify it in our budget, but it can't compete with our free service at this point. One of these days I'll give into him, and I'll wish I'd listened to him sooner. In the meantime, I am thankful that we're still together in spite of life's storms, and I know that because of those storms, we are a more confident, secure couple. We may have times in the future in which we will be tested again, but I will have memories and examples to look back on in life which will be reason enough for me to ride out the storm with Chip at my side.
And someday, he may have the good fortune to stand at my side as his liberated, opinionated woman takes the "Oath of Office". I will be more than happy to have him next to me.


Anonymous said...

Jodi, I am close to your area and we get DSL from verizon for $14.95 a month. Not the very fastest, but after coming off AOL, it is fantastic! I will never have AOL agian. It really messes with your computer, gets into places you have to be genius to get it out. Anyway, I'm not sure if they are still runniong that deal but thier is always something, I think they have a TV, Cable, and Internet package right now pretty reasonable if you are getting the big cable package already. We are not so It doesn't save us any money.

Something to think about! You would love it!


patterns of ink said...

Chip came by the office today. I'm so glad he took the plunge with you and the blogosphere. Both of you have a gift of "transparency" that is rare. Be kind. Guard your hearts. You two together are a must for your children. Your arms encircled together are the best place for them to cuddle, your home together is the best place to play out life and "lay out" what you choose to share with others, and chips chest is the absolute best place for you to shed whatever tears the future may hold.
I'm sure your readers would agree...above of all other ambitions and dreams God renews or reveals to you as individuals, your highest achievement will be the marriage and home you hold together and lift up one day at a time. Thank you both for these two posts.

Julia said...

Jodi, I think this was your best entry ever :-)

Jennifer McNeely said...

You know in your heart you made the right choice - not for only your children, but also for you both. What a wonderful gift you have given to your children and eachother. When life gets rough (I know that is an understatement), it is so easy to give up, but your hurt would have been ten fold if you didn't have your soulmate along for the ride.

Lisa Tanner said...

Hi Jodi,
I was excited to see your husband blog - my husband doesn't get my journaling on my son's webpage or my obsession with scrapbook message boards. It's nice to see a husband be brave :) and join in the fun! As far as your post today goes - what a wonderful way to think of everything you've gone through. As a family who has had our share of trauma and sadness (with my son having cancer) I know how hard it can be at times to just keep going - physically and emotionally. So many people told us that going through something like that will either break a couple in half or make you stronger than you ever imagined. I'm glad for BOTH of us that we got the good end of THAT deal. I know that we would do anything to change things for our children - but we have to be thankful for where we are today and just except the path that took us here. I know I would be who I am now without going through the bad stuff! It makes me so much more thankful for THE GOOD STUFF!

Anonymous said...

I see you denied the liberated part, but not necessarily the opinionated part. Hmmm. LOL. Only joking. I love to hear stories of couples who have shared many hard times only to triumph and become a stronger couple together. It gives hope to marriage. Especially in this day and age. I hope that the Lord will continue to bless you and Chip in your marriage together for many more years to come.

Lots of Love

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great!

Anonymous said...

XX Hugs XX

mary h.

Nancy said...

Jodi thank you for sharing from your heart and may God bless you and Chip as a couple for all you have dealt with and still came out on top and in love. A good marriage takes a lot of work, dedication, and compromise... it sounds like you have the balance you need. When I was in my deepest valley (our son died 26 years ago), we were warned by the doctors that the statistics were against our marriage surviving after the death of a child. But like you and Chip, we made the decision that our love could grow and that we had many lessons and blessings from our son and that his death would not be in vain. Each day took every ounce of strength that I could find and there were many days that I wished I had died instead or could die... but our love grew (and still does), lessons were learned, our lives were blessed, our faith increased, and we now have been married 32 year with 2 grown children. May God continue to bless you and Chip.