This week Dan and I celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary, and the end of July marked six full years together.
Time flies. And I’m really just now starting to think of him as my longstanding guy — the newness just took a long time to wear off, probably because of the peaceful state we live in, and for a few years there I would always think of him as my “new” boyfriend. He is truly my best friend, the one I tell everything to. Right now we’re in an intense time, just trying desperately to keep up with the baby and all her needs and getting everything done that we need to get done to run our life. But it’s also the wonder years. Every day is full of so much joy. Our house is a joyful, sobbing mess lately because we’re both incredibly sentimental. And I’m so thankful that I get to spend these years with Dan.
In many ways I feel very successful, though that term is so subjective. “Progress” in the conventional sense has been happening for us, increasingly rapidly over these past few years. House, renovation, career, baby. The latest victory is that in the midst of refinancing the house, we got it appraised and found that we had tripled the value of the house in less than three years. Certainly some part of this is due to all the awesome bakeries springing up in our neighborhood. 🙂 But it’s also a great confirmation for Dan that all the blood, sweat, and tears he put into bringing this Victorian shell back to life were worth it. And it’s humbling for me, because Dan is a huge risk-taker and I’m not. I would much rather play completely by the book and only be in totally “safe” situations, and I’m incredibly stressed out by all the risk-taking our family unit ends up doing, and yet all his huge risks do seem to work out in the end. What’s interesting is that a lot of people will try to tell you that relationships and marriage are going to slow you down in some way and obstruct you from getting whatever material success they think is important. But for me, in many ways Dan accelerated those traditional markers of success in my life.
What I really want, though, is to be a faithful friend, good mother, and loving wife. When I ask myself what my real priorities are, there they are. I want the people around me to be better off for having known me. But my most important priorities get pushed to the back of the line in favor of whatever thing I’m scrambling to accomplish at any given moment. And as with everything it turns out to be an exercise in faith and in reality. When I perceive myself as feeling safe and secure and having it all together, I’m actually no safer than any other time. Nobody is safe — life always changes in the blink of an eye, when you least expect it. I’m using a moment of seeming security to continue to rely on myself instead of God, as per usual. The times when this all comes crashing down are in those weeknight evenings when the chores aren’t done and the paperwork hasn’t been filed and the recycling hasn’t been put out and the meal hasn’t been made and I’ve got the baby in one arm and am struggling to do everything else with the other arm. I need grace and calm and understanding in these moments, but I need those things always. Not just when I don’t have it together, but all the time, and maybe even particularly when my head is above water and I think I’m on top of things. And as with all spiritual lessons, I fully know this stuff in my head and can recite it back to you like it’s my job, but it’s like I can’t convince my heart about it. I can’t convince myself not to let my head spin around zeroing in on these undone tasks and getting more stressed by the minute.
Here’s one Family Circus that hits the nail on the head. Except replace “news commentator” and “referee” with “maid,” “errand girl,” “family correspondent,” “schedule coordinator,” “interior decorator,” “family photographer / videographer / historian,” and I don’t know what else, and there I am. Oh plus my full-time job, so I don’t even get to have the pleasure of only doing all those things. I feel like I get a free pass from all the condescending statements about stay-at-home moms that people make, and instead people will say things like “Are you back at work?” (yes, I’ve been back full-time since July) and “How’s that going, what with the baby and all?” And it’s like…my job is just one thing I do, and it’s the thing that’s suffering the least here. I’m fortunate to have amazing, skilled colleagues who will back me up when I need them to, and having a baby was really a painless procedure as far as work is concerned because of how awesome they are. In short, I’m not worried about work because I have hours to devote to it every day and an incredible support system and lots of helping hands. It’s all my 97 other jobs that I’m worried about, that don’t have any dedicated hours devoted to them, and that depend solely on me in order to get done.
Luckily, I have a husband who will help when I ask him. I have a mother who comes and plays with the baby so I can get things done. I have friends who would do anything for me. Now, if I can just get a clone of myself to keep all the blogs updated, spend hours uploading photos and videos, and get all the gifts purchased and all the thank-you notes written forever and ever amen, that would be great.
The baby is lovely and is growing and learning perfectly. Tons of updates about her are here. A big highlight of this month was that Karen was in town from NY and she came and photographed us at home. It was so much fun and the pictures turned out really well, and I think do a good job of showing what our life really looks like most of the time. I am so blessed to have this amazing family. And a decent photographer friend who can capture it much better than I can. 🙂