Ten.

I’ve loved Nick George for 10 years. Give or take. May 18, 2007 was the day I realized it was actual love. There we were, walking across our college campus, mere hours before we were both meant to go home for the summer. I’d spent a week in a sort of funk because I knew that our friendship would end up whittling away to “oh, she’s just that girl I hung out with my sophomore year”. I had come to accept it…until he asked me to take a walk with him.

That Day led to a forever.

Because three months after May 18th, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Another almost 5 years after that, he asked me to be his wife. And a year after that, we would start to have our kids.

Our path has been far from easy. And we have both felt like giving up at one point or another. But the fruit of being loved by Nick is immeasurable. The “18th” will always be significant for us. I’m so glad I agreed to go take that walk.

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Untitled (Thoughts on Marriage).

It’s odd having brief seasons when you desire your spouse but cannot have them in the way you’d like.

I blame myself, really.

Let me explain…

My husband and I are always busy. Two full time jobs. Two small kids. A nonprofit. Board and church responsibilities. Not to mention our families, friends, and other lifestyle pursuits and interests. Despite how ordinary marriage is, it feels like our marriage is not so ordinary. Or at least isn’t meant to be.

I knew the moment I met Nick that he carried around a heart too bright for this world. And that heart carried something meant for the world. I felt, even back then, that I’d be sharing him with the world. Our world, at least… I recognized that sacrifice would become like a regular house guest. And my home-body ways would get pushed into the background. For that, I have both loved and resented his heart.

I do not have to fight or pine for his attention. Our family is his first priority. Do not misunderstand. Just know that I adjust and readjust often in our lives. I want him all to myself. I want to monopolize every spaced expression/daydream. I want every filled page in his poetry notebook to be about me. I want the road to his dreams to all end at the doorway of our bedroom.

I understand that I am sharing space in his head even though I have been given residency in his heart. And it’s always crowded up there…

Found this piece that I wrote forever ago:

Smile. (Mini-Series. Part 6)

December 14, 2009

 look in my direction
linger there for a moment
give me your eyes’ shine.
and slowly perk cheekbones
let your lips part
while their corners
reach for the heavens,

show me you’re delighted…
…love,
smile for me.

Even back then I wanted his full attention. I was an incredibly smitten young woman, hopelessly in love with a very kind poet. On one hand, everything changed: We belong to each other now, unlike we did back then. But on the other hand, not much is different. There are still times (when I’m at my most vulnerable) that I feel like I’m still that young girl: smitten and quietly whispering prayers of gratitude that he picked me.

Bedrest: My Husband

I’ve struggled over this post. Mainly because it is hard to piece together enough words to describe how much his presence has meant to me this year. I cannot discuss my time on bed rest without mentioning him. Sadly, the father is overlooked when it comes to childbearing;  more like a necessary footnote for the story. However, I cannot imagine removing my husband from this season. Not only did he play an integral part in my little one’s conception, but he served as the steadiest person I had to hold on to. Even in his weakest moments, the times when he had every right to be afraid or angry, he instead chose to act as an anchor for me. I would have been very lost & my journey from fear to faith would have been much longer. God strengthened his hand to hold on to mine.01ba4412ca027fdf5afca16e30072d8fd59fa2c8c9

His commitment to me has made me fall in love with him in ways I didn’t think were possible.

I don’t think I needed him to prove anything to me or that I was afraid he wouldn’t be a good father. It’s just that I have been at my weakest, emotionally, physically, and mentally, and I was able to find strength in his heart.

There were moments where I have seen fear and hopelessness in his eyes. I have felt his desire to hide and deny what was happening to our family. But almost immediately I see him reject those natural reactions, and I am overwhelmed at his faith. He could have left me to fend for myself while confined to a sickbed. But instead, he adjusted our lives (temporarily), so that our world was the size of our bed. He sacrificed many of his tendencies & was careful not to make me feel left out.

When he comes home, he is grateful. Glad. He lays next to me ( in the spot where I’ve been all day), and turns that spot into a place of refuge. And it changes my whole perspective in that moment. Our couch/bed becomes our place of solace. Where we pray, laugh, vent, and share some of the most intimate moments that we’ve had in our lives together so far.

He would say that he’s just “doing what needs to be done”, but little does he realize how instrumental he is to the miracle that has formed out of our circumstances. When it’s time, our daughter will know that.

Loving His Wild Heart

I’m starting to think that leaving your dirty underwear on the bedroom and/or bathroom floor is engrained into a man’s DNA. I remember hearing older women joke about it at conferences or at my job, but I didn’t think that it was a real phenomenon until I got married.

Truth be told, I’d prefer a cleaner man. I’m a “everything in its place” kind of woman. I guess it’s because I deal with emotional and mental disasters 9 hours a day, so when I come home…I’d rather my floor not look like someone ransacked my bedroom like they were attempting to find that stash of money that may or may not be in my husband’s sock drawer.

I feel a constant, nagging desire to tame his boyish ways. But there are moments when I hear myself go from occasional comments about using the foot of the bed to harbor dirty socks, to persistant reminders about his poor punctuality, and then to quick-witted slanders on how irresponsible he can be. Whoa.

Seriously, whoa.

How did I get here? How did a mild desire for cleanliness turn into a war against his character? A tightening up towards doing the right thing becoming a shift into being (my version) of the right thing?

I keep picturing the stereotype of the nagging wife in curlers; beating her husband with a rolling pin…and it just doesn’t settle it for me. Besides, I don’t even wear curlers…

My husband has one of the wildest hearts of any man I’ve ever met. His wide-eyed ambitions, musings, and passions are unmatched to me. But, occasionally, I try and contain it. Tell him to quiet down. Don’t embarrass himself. Act serious.

At times without even thinking.

But then I see a small bit of light leave his eyes. And the other part of me (who was quiet up until this moment) starts to panic. The part of me that also craves adventure, but envies the courage he takes to pursue it. That part, that can tend to be dormant, sincerely apologizes and tries to recover.

I’ll spend a day or so secretly chastising myself.

Because I forgot that men grew from boys. And boys are messy, playful, and bold. A man’s heart can handle both responsibility and passion. Wisdom and adventure. And he encourages me to play with him. Nothing compares with the brightness in his eyes when I come out of hiding to join him in adventure. When I could care less about the dirty socks, bills, and looks from strangers. When I laugh at him and say “Why not? Let’s go!”

Honestly, I’ve never seen him happier.

Sometimes, I think that because I can balance our checkbook better than he can, that I know more about how to handle life/marriage. But, I’m learning daily that this part is only a very, very tiny portion of it all.

Love in Plain Clothes {Thoughts on My Marriage}

I have been married for 45 days.

After reading dozens of blogs prior to the Big Day, I deducted that the chaos of wedding planning and having the attention of your entire family, social circle, and every wedding vendor within 50 miles would diminish; leading to an expected “blues period”. My husband and I joked that we’d welcome the inactivity and run full force into the aforementioned black hole. Or blue hole, rather.

In less than 50 days, I’ve been challenged & pushed in almost every area of my life. One thing piled on top of another. If there are any minors reading, know this: being an adult sucks. Almost all of the time. There are shining moments where success and love make it all worthwhile. But generally, I long for the days of nap-taking and passing my pre-algebra class.

…but I digress.

I have seen just how strong my husband is as a partner. Because he has stood firmly. Despite his weaker moments (e.g. getting suddenly let go from his job), I have an odd calm about whatever trouble we may face. Foremost, because I am learning to trust God more. Oddly enough, His response to this effort is personified in my spouse. God, in his wisdom and with slight sense of humor and irony, reveals a portion of his care and relentless protective nature through a man with whom I share bills, a bed, and a home.

Let’s be real here. I’m only 20-30% marinating in the mushy, “newly-married”/”honeymoon phase” train of thought. Yes, I’m clearly a newlywed. But I remember what it was like doing this alone. Equipped, yes. But alone.

And I don’t have to anymore.

See You Later, Darling…[Repost]

I still get sad when he leaves.
Not all the time, and not in a way that cripples me.
But I do dread that moment when he shifts in his seat, checks the time on his phone, and says,
“I think I’m going to get ready to head home.”

I’ll admit it.
My heart sinks a tad.

Yes, I know that it won’t be long before I see him again.
And I have that first hug/touch/smile to look forward to…

Still.
Seeing him walk/drive away isn’t always fun.
I think I’m dealing with the “see you later” becoming a possible “goodbye”.
Sure, that’s pretty pessimistic/paranoid, but it only takes losing someone once without warning to get you thinking about the moments you’re allowed to have with those you love.
There are times where I wish he’d come back for one more hug. One last look into my eyes to subliminally tell him that I thank God for him.

I’m not sure how it became the norm, but every time he drops me off at my house, he will wait until I get my key into the door, for it to open, and for me to turn to look at him sitting in his car…before he waves at me. And I’ll wave back.

He does that every time.
And that wave isn’t frantic like a “goodbye” (you know, how you see at the end of movies…), but it’s a subtle, unconscious “see you later”. Which is why that first hug/touch/smile is so electric to me. It’s like God gave us a gift in the form of a fulfilled “see you later”.

Because none of us knows if we will every see anyone later, right?

Glass Slipper.

I can relate emphatically to the story of Cinderella.

If there was ever a more shy, overlooked bookworm in high school/college; I was her. Sure, my singing skills came short of making mice sew dresses or portly women appear to turn literal tricks on pumpkins…but I possessed her same vacant gaze and introversion. I, even at six feet tall, blended into the bland blue color on my high school’s lockers and fading orange cafeteria benches. Besides my slightly above average smarts, reputation as a choir nerd, and “church girl”, there was nothing else to specify about me.

Or so I thought…

The majority shrugged at my existence, allowing me to float just above loaner-dom. I was the epitome of middle class. No one ridiculed me, but no one sought me out either.

So it was with my love life.

I have only one guy to speak of for my high school years. But he was a 9th grader (while I was in the 10th). Naturally, our relationship was short lived, no matter how keen. I would say that he was the only boy up until that point that not only cared if I existed. But actually did something about it.

Getting back to Cinderella. I dreamed of a great love story where my heart would get caught in the undertow of passion…as dramatic as that sounds. My evil stepmother, in my case, was my own fear. I sat all by my lonesome and dreamed about the exact moment when someone would look past my plain, humble appearance and see beauty. Like I mentioned earlier, it is possible to be SO tall and yet ignored.

Fast forward to my college years…

Even as a freshman, the mindset of blending in continued to be my philosophy of choice. The only place where I allowed my mind freedom to roam was while writing. And he* noticed.

Not simply giving me a passing glance combined with a “Hey. Nice poetry there shawty.” Actually noticed. Meaning, he cared what I did with my gift. Shortly after meeting him, he encouraged me read my poetry aloud. For the very first time ever.

I had moments where I sneaked away to wear the finest garments, but thought it was short-lived. And I ran back towards my niche where I was comfortable being ignored. He knew the expensive glass slipper was more befitting of my worth. He was certain it belonged to me and no one else. Not only that, but just like Cinderella’s prince, he was adamant to find her.

What’s more, is that he didn’t want to hide me away like a prized trophy. He knew that I, along with my giftings, belonged to God. And whatever way I can use it to touch the world, I should…I must do it. No more hiding. No more blending in.

 

 

 

 

 

*Isn’t it great that I’m gonna marry this guy in a matter of months? 🙂