I remember when I was in New Zealand (in 2004) and I was sitting at a Starbucks, typing up my first update email to my family and friends about life in Wellington. Back then, all I had was time, though I’m not sure I was aware of it. Ten years later, I’m sitting at a Barnes & Noble in Baton Rouge, by myself. I don’t remember the last time I did that. I’m still drinking the same nonfat, decaf latte, though. I’ve been married for nearly ten years and now have three boys, all under five (thus, not much time alone at Barnes & Noble). When I’m here, I usually have them with me, playing with trains and blocks and reading books (usually about trucks)…and making trips to the bathroom a little more challenging than they used to be. I’m a lot more tired now (I try not to mention this to Hans every minute of every day…), but part of that is because I still stay up as late as I did then. Bad habits die hard. Mine are about to kill me. Hans usually falls asleep on the couch while I finish up household chores, use the computer, and piddle. I might need to cut out the piddling time. Bummer.
As I attempt to reflect (I stink at reflecting) on these past ten years, I am thankful for what the Lord has done and how he’s blessed me beyond measure.
I have to start with Hans, whose patience has been tested (also beyond measure) this past decade. I realize that most people don’t know exactly what they’re getting into when they marry…but I failed to inform him of some, let’s call them, issues that I had. He couldn’t have known how challenging managing my diabetes, my emotions, my perfectionism, my insecurity, my lack of structure and…my love for sweets…would be. Then again, I wasn’t aware of the difficulty of it, either. I told you. I do not enjoy reflecting. I don’t like to think about or evaluate myself, especially any imperfections. If I ignore them, are they really there? Wellll…you may be able to ignore them as a single person, but when you join yourself to someone in holy matrimony, it all comes out. And in my case, it was anything but the neat package I often tried to convey. I don’t like being messy…in any sense of the word. I have to be careful not to get mad at myself (and the boys) for dropping or spilling things (in other words, often). I also do not like being messy emotionally…I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to need help. I don’t like being vulnerable. I don’t even like how this chair I’m sitting in squeaks if I move too much.
Through it all, Hans hasn’t even threatened to divorce me. Very kind, especially since I’ve told him he should. (Kind of me, don’t you think? There’s that insecurity shining through…) He could tell you ways he’s failed…he hasn’t been perfect, of course, but he’s been my saving grace. He’s helped me to trust the Lord, encouraged me to form my own thoughts and convictions (still not good at that), stood by me when I was utterly miserable teaching junior high (how do people do it?), been my personal shopper (he’s better at finding clothes for me…I’m a different kind of high-maintenance), and truly been a wonderful husband and father. His integrity, responsibility, perseverance, good looks and intentionality are exceeded only by his love for the Lord, and for that, I’m so grateful.
I’m pretty sure this isn’t the reason Hans offered me his computer and a couple of free hours. I didn’t know what I was going to do. But now I need to run to the grocery store for a couple of things (despite the fact that I’ve been three times this week, including last night) and maybe look for a Father’s Day card. Wait. Does this count as a card? Happy Father’s Day, Hans! The boys and I love you! (And thank you for knowing me so well…he’s been sending me pics of what the boys are doing at home while I’ve been here.) 🙂 It is a joy being your wife and the mother of our three boys! See you when I get home.