Monday, February 13, 2012
On this eve of Valentine's Day I am feeling less than romantic. In the past 24 hours, we have had a couple of sick kids which means extra loads of laundry and baths to be done. We just had the flu bug at our house 6 weeks ago. So I was less than thrilled that it has hit again. In addition to stomach bugs, we had a vehicle picked over by some random strangers as it sat out in our driveway. That type of invasion just makes me feel so unsettled, even though nothing was taken from us. It just brings to light the "bad" that is out there- never far away.
Bella has to have two teeth pulled tomorrow morning; Teague is teething and has a nice diaper rash to go along with that. There are a few household items that need attending to, and I have a couple of fun spots that are driving me crazy from where I bit my lip a couple of days ago. I'm sure I could add a few more things to this list, but I am sure you sort of get a big enough picture with just these things from one day in my life.
I've said it before that sometimes it feels like life just wants to drag us down. I'm not even sure who or what or where it wants to take us, but I get really bugged that it piles up and weighs us down at the same time. I keep writing about wanting to find joy and happiness in life once again, and I feel like we continue to make the effort to do so, but no matter how hard we try the bad stuff outweighs the good. The fun is squashed by the not-so-fun. Almost all the time.
I am a big believer in fighting back. Even though I let myself and everyone around me down with my bad attitude way too often.
My mom mentioned the quote you see in this post which says, "Commitment begins where fun ends." I have been thinking about that for a couple of days and especially so as my thoughts turn to Valentine's Day and all the things we see and hear about love this time of year. I was thinking about how long it's been since Chip and I have had a moment to ourselves. Much less any type of romance or dinner out together. It's been longer than I can remember. I was thinking about how our relationship was so different when all we were concerned about in life was "us". We had all the time in the world for fun and for laughing and hanging out and experiencing things without ever worrying about getting anyone to bed on time. Or about paying for co-pays and having doctor visits and dental appointments on school days or about having diapers on hand or lunches ready or any number of other things that life demands of us on a daily basis now.
I was thinking about how unlikely it is that we should still be together as a couple. We have lived through the loss of a child. We have lived with a daughter with major medical needs and have 5 other "needy" children to watch over each day too. We don't do what the relationship 'experts' say about going on weekly or monthly dates. We often go to bed in seperate rooms because someone is sick or crying or we just fall asleep exhausted and it's too much effort to go to bed in the right bed.
I couldn't help but think about our wedding day. None of the things I've mentioned in the previous paragraphs even crossed my mind as I took those steps down the asile, hand-in-hand with my new husband, Chip. I was thinking about the hugs we would share with our friends and loved ones as they congratulated us on our love and wished us the best in our marriage. I was smiling as I thought about the cake we would cut and eat together. Our first dessert as husband and wife...carrot cake with coconut frosting! Mmmm! I was thinking about how handsome I thought Chip looked- even with beads of sweat on his brow from the heat and humidity of that August summer day. I was thinking about the details that had fallen into place for us to have such a beautiful, intimate ceremony. I was trying to hold on to how fast the day seemed to be flying by.
But not once did I think about or picture a life where we would have to start laundry at midnight and bathe kids after a long day. Not once did I picture having to make rules about who can use the laptop or that I would yell for someone to turn the tv off 4 times before they actually listen and go to the dinner table as asked. Not once did I imagine holding a tiny body in my arms and know that weight would still come to mind as I missed my little girl. I didn't picture a life where instead of going out for a nice dinner together, we simply tried to get everybody through the meal without crying. I didn't picture a future where we would stand hand in hand and sing "It Is Well With My Soul" as we recalled memories of our firstborn daughter's 4 short years of life together and share a grief like none other I have ever felt before. As we walked down that aisle to start our life together I never imagined any of the "worse" that we had said in our vows. I thought only of the better. As most brides and grooms do.
It's hard to see past the beautiful gowns and the flowers and the shiny rings and the hair that is perfectly in place. The guests are all smiles; even the rainclouds and downpour that happened on our wedding day couldn't dampen the love and joy that we felt- inside and out. It was all we had in our hearts and on our minds.
But in real life, the flowers wilt by evening. My dress showed wear and stains by the time the first dance played~ the song...Fly Me to the Moon. =) My feet began to hurt on the drive to our bed and breakfast. But even then, there was a smile on our faces and love was in the air. There was no denying the happiness we felt. It was evident on our faces. We had our head in the clouds and we were more than thrilled to have them there too!
I am thankful for the vows we made on that day- August 12th, 1995. I am thankful for a God who has shown Himself faithful to us in our darkest hours, in our moments of bliss, and in all the ordinary days we've shared through the years. It's true. The fun has worn thin most of the time at this phase in our lives. The demands placed on each of us far outweigh what have to offer to each other and to everyone else around us too. But one thing stands out in my mind.And that is the choice we have in making it work. We choose to stay together. We choose to believe that there is coming a day when we'll have more "fun" again. We choose to believe that God has brought us together and when we said, "I do" it meant we do always. Not just when things are pretty. Or fun. Or easy. Or when the skies are cloudless and blue.
Commitment is something that takes hard work. I know you all know this. But what I think we forget or fail to see in our culture and through the media so often, is that commitment is so worth it! There is something amazing about being able to look back after days or weeks or years of not-so-hot times and see that you made it through that together. There is something so humbling to me on the mornings I wake up with my hair sticking straight up and dark circles under my eyes and my breath doesn't smell very nice and then Chip greets me with a "Good morning, Beautiful."
That is a God-thing, if you ask me. =)
I know we have a love we don't deserve. I already told you we do most things wrong when it comes to building a strong and lasting marriage. We do however know that even when we wish everything in life could be different that we are still grateful to have each other. We still have work to do and lots of ways to improve the way we show love to each other. We still have lots of reasons to say, "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you" too. We still have more times than we care to admit where instead of being grateful for one another, we wish we could take a break from "us".
But we stick it out. We are commited. Deep down we know that from the very beginning there was something special. Something bigger than that which we could see or feel had a plan for us to be together as one. Even when things didn't turn out the way we imagined or dreamed. His plan was one of Love. For better; for worse; in everything.
This Valentine's Day I know that even without a box of chocolates or a vase full of pretty flowers or a romantic dinner out that Chip is the one for me. Forever. I know that his love is real- even on the days it's hard to see or feel. I know he knows this about me too. And it's not because of anything we have done right. But only because of the One who continues to show mercy and grace to us and holds us together.
I am thankful more than anything this Valentine's Day for the true love of God. I hope that you are thankful and can see it and feel it in your heart and life in a real way too. May you know and share this love with others around you- today and always.
I have to close with this:
I love you, Chip.
Forever and ever.