38. (A Letter)

You’d be 38 today.

If you were still here, I’d probably call and poke fun at how old you were getting. Make plans to have you come over to have dinner with me, Nick, and the kids. I’m positive my mom would come, too.

…maybe you’d bring your wife and kids too. I’m sure my daughter would be excited to see you. After dinner, you and my husband would most likely argue about New York Hip Hop being better than Southern Rap. I’d smile at how you’re just as overprotective of me like when we were kids.

We’d retell the same jokes. Laugh about the same stories. I can actually hear your laugh in my mind. It never changed.

These images have made me sad before. But not today.

Because today is your birthday. Today is, and will always be, special.

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I miss you, Mike. Happy Birthday.

Love, Your Little Sister

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.

Signs You’re too Young Minded for a Commitment

Today was the day that the term marriage was redefined. Whether you agree with the decision or not, the institution of marriage is on an examination table. A whole collection of people will finally get to experience the challenges & heartaches of marriage. On some level.

Ironically, there is an entire generation that will simultaneously rally behind marriage equality but are wrestling with commitment. The term “prolonged adolescence” means that young adults are waiting longer than ever to finish college, move out of their parents’ homes, and get married. Perpetual bachelorhood is romanticized over romance itself. It seems to me that there is more warring against traditional marriage besides the recent declaration.

But I’ve been thinking….current culture reveals so much evidence that not only are most 20 somethings not choosing to get married, but they aren’t even prepared for the commitment. And not only that, but they aren’t attempting to prepare themselves. I can’t speak on this without having the experience to back it up. I wasn’t married at 22. I made a ton of mistakes.

…so, I’m not at all pointing any fingers here…

Anywho. Here’s the list I came up with of signs that you are too young minded to handle a long term commitment. Feel free to comment/add/minus any of these….

1. You cannot take constructive criticism with humility.

2. You haven’t the foggiest idea of where you’d like to be in 5 years.

3. Your ideals/beliefs change depending on who you’re around.

4. You have multiple personal electronics which their cost add up into the $1000s but you can’t seem to save for a car.

5. You cannot make a full meal on your own (including a starch, a meat, a vegetable, and maybe dessert).

6. You stink at having roommates or always choose to live alone.

7. When out with friends, you can’t (at least once) pick out the restaurant.

8. Your FB timeline is filled with passive aggressive/attention seeking posts.

9. Your previous relationships ended due to the same, exact reason. Doesn’t matter which one, but they are all identical.

10. You believe its the opposite sex’s fault you aren’t in a relationship.

11. You spend most of your time looking for someone, rather than becoming someone.

12. If you’re female, you still say the following: “I have more guy friends than girls. I just don’t get along with girls.”

12b. If you’re a male, you still use derogatory terms for women (e.g. thot, etc.).

13. You either feel like marriage is a) a prison sentence or b) your salvation.

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.

Green Grass.

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Since this is my first Feb. 14th as a married lady, I initially wanted to revolt against this day. Backwards, I know. But I felt a tinge of anxiety because I felt a growing obligation to either:

a)Brag about how awesome my new hubby treated me today.

b)Avoid offending unmarried/single people who may feel apprehensive about this pagan holiday…

 Somewhere around 9:37 pm last night, I decided to do neither of those things. I’ll simply state a few things, instead…

1. I’m 27. I waited and endured my own personal hell/inadequacies while single, and now that I’m not single, I am going to enjoy it. Why shush  my own desire to celebrate my husband because you may feel a tad envious?

2. Many singles LOVE being single. After a rough season, I enjoyed it also. 

3. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. 

4. God is Love. And He loves all of us. Based on that fact alone, He monopolizes this whole holiday. 

5. Singles who are annoyed with this day should really check their hearts. 

6. (And most importantly) We are such discontented people. Instead of being content with where we are, and make the most of the current season, we’d rather focus our energies on desiring the next stage. I remember crying about not being engaged to my then-boyfriend…I felt it was time. I saw little evidence that it wasn’t time because I wanted what I wanted. I couldn’t see that there are alot more important factors involved besides my own happiness. 

And that’s where the “the grass isn’t always greener” analogy comes in…Image

It’s all a myth. There is no greener grass. No other side. Just a wide open field with a man-created boundary. And God never created it to have a boundary. Simply for you to travel this life following His lead. Enjoying every step. Enduring every hardship. 

Because, as I’ve seen in almost 9 months in a new season, with a new relationship status:

With each new season, there are tougher  challenges. And I thank God that He didn’t allow me to move into a new season with old mindsets & resources.