Monday, August 4, 2014

Love will find a way.

Tomorrow marks 8 years since this photo was taken-

Some days, it seems like it's been a fraction of that time since Jake and I were married. Sometimes, it feels exponentially longer.

I contemplated writing an emotionally driven, sappy recollection of my wedding day, but I think I probably did that a year or two ago.  Maybe that will be my ten-year flashback celebration. 

"Walk blindly to the light and reach out for his hand. Don't ask any questions and don't try to understand. Open up your mind and then open up your heart; you will see that you and me aren't very far apart. I believe that love is the answer. I believe love will find a way." - Blessid Union of Souls

Let's be honest. We've all been told that weddings and marriage are AMAZING and at the same time, we've been told that they are HARD WORK. We hear it, but we don't always see it, especially from a spectator type view. Couples work hard to put on a perfect portrait showing they are the couple who has it together. No one wants to look like they're falling apart or in the middle of a mess.  

We hear about the "seven year itch." We see it on tv, in movies, in magazines, and in real life. Divorce has become pretty commonplace. 

Jake and I just are just saying farewell to the seventh year of marriage. Ironically, it was an "itch" year on some levels. We travelled more rocky roads than usual. There were more stressors than we have had in the past. His work schedule had him working longer. I took on a job and wasn't raising our kids all the time like we had planned. We saw each other much less. We became used to communicating less frequently, less clearly, less level-headedly, less openly, less compassionately. We had more heated discussions. We were more irritable. We were less tolerant. Things threw us for a loop. 

It was awful...

Not always, but occasionally- more than in years past. Any time something feels awful, it feels like it's always awful and never going to get better. When the awful moments pass, though, they seemed fleetingly quick.

I wouldn't characterize the last year as awful. I wouldn't say our marriage was wretched or anything. Because it wasn't. It was rocky and hard and more moments were awful feeling than usual. 

But realistically, this past year was beautiful. It was joyous. It was break-your-soul-down-and-build-it-up fantastic. I'm incredibly blessed to have struggled more.

He wasn't a horrible husband. Please don't think that. He would tell you I wasn't a horrible wife, either.

Sometimes, things are just harder. Life throws boulders at you and you get hit or you dodge. You make it work and you gain wisdom and strength. 

I would venture so far as to say it is pretty commonplace. I would also venture to say that under the right circumstances, you can make it through.

The quote above is the opening stanza and choirs to one of the most beautiful, melodic songs I know. It's "I Believe" by Blessid Union of Souls. Eight years ago, my father escorted me down the aisle to the piano playing that melody, and I became Jacob's wife, for better or worse, until death separates us on earth.

Those are serious vows. That were serious eight years ago. They're just as serious today, maybe more so.

I am blessed beyond measure to have been given a life-long companion and love. 

Happy Anniversary, Jacob. Here's to the rest of our lives.

A Year Post-Test

One year ago this very morning, I sat in silent disbelief on the edge of my bathtub, staring, dumbfoundedly, at a test. 

There was no way the test was right. I was certain of that. 

I trembled later as I tested once more. This time, I used a digital, and in less than 30 seconds, the test glared
in my still shocked and disbelieving face.

I trembled. I cried. I worried. I feared. 

After battling infertility to conceive our sons, I just could not believe that I was pregnant again. We had been utilizing charting to avoid pregnancy because we wanted to wait a few years before expanding our family again. I've never been a very scheduled woman inside, but I was certain I had missed the window to have a baby that month.

I was wrong.

It wasn't a "good time" for us. I had JUST accepted a job two days prior. We were just getting on our feet again after financial crises. We were finding our footing. 

This pregnancy scared me. And I worried for nine months whether we could make it work. I wondered if I would be a good mom to THREE babies under four. I wondered if we could afford it. I also worried if, due to all the stress and worries of poor timing, that I would love this baby or resent myself for getting pregnant.

I felt judged. People close to us knew the timing wasn't great. I didn't want them to think we were being stupid. Or that we shouldn't have another baby. So many more worries of similar fashion circled mind.

They didn't stop circling for nine months. They slowed down circling a month or so after that.

One year ago, I was terrified. 

I always said that one of my dearest dreams was to get pregnant "on accident" because I just did not think I could. But I did. And I was guilty because I was upset about it.

Tonight, after a few hours of protesting, Norah Rachelle sleeps peacefully in her bed. Her soft, sweetly scented skin pokes out beneath her (big brother's) silky, pink blanket. Her soft breath whispers as I sit here in silence focusing on my memories and emotions. Her gorgeous, dark eyelashes flutter as she dreams.

I couldn't imagine my life without her. 

She is a perfect fit in our family. I feel that she looks like a bit like one brother and acts a bit like the other. She laughs and squeals and smiles so frequently. She's absolutely the snuggliest of the three. She loves her brothers and they adore her. They're a perfect trio. She calms down to daddy's scent and voice. She lights up when she hears me talk.

While I know my fears and worries were founded in practicality, I feel ashamed for being scared or sad about adding her to our family. 

I was wrong. God was right. She belongs with us, here and now, even if a year ago I was on the verge of being completely convinced otherwise.