Finer Niner

This is not a typical anniversary post, but a truthful one. John and I were poor candidates to get married. Not for the reasons you might expect: race, culture, religion–these are all factors we have had to grapple with and sometimes reconcile. But the problem is that when you get together at 19, 21 respectively, your brains are not yet fully formed. When you get married at 24, 26 respectively, you might think that marriage is all about *you.* At least that was the case for me. I honestly perceived marriage as “you do your thing over there, I’ll do mine over here, and we’ll come together and talk about it over an overpriced dinner in a hipster neighborhood.” I have learned that marriage is actually about sharing everything, offering a window on your soul to another, sorting through the garbage and the fecal matter to find the prized jewel of commonality, of mutual respect.

In this marriage, I have encountered the most profound grace, the love not earned but given undeservedly. My mister and I have experienced soaring highs over the birth of our children and the community of friends and family who have supported us. We have also experienced the deepest valleys: depression, financial hardship, family pain. Through it all, and I know you were all waiting for this one, God has been so faithful, reminding us so kindly that marriage is preparing us for Heaven, where joy is multiplied, where selfish needs are set aside, where our focus is fixed on the stuff eternal.

There are moments in this marriage that could not be auto-tinted with Instagram filters to showcase the glamour and shadow the pain. This marriage has been made of raw moments, brilliant and unapologetic in living color. This marriage is not a clever hashtag, summarized in a retweetable aphorism or a Live, Laugh, Love print bought at Homegoods. In the conventions of Facebook, yes I sure did marry my best friend 9 years ago this week. And I would do it again, knowing all that I know now, and all that I do not yet know. I look forward to getting together with my sweet mister to talk about it all, even if the dinner is cheap, even if the restaurant is not trendy. We’ll order different things, but ultimately it doesn’t matter because I’ll always have what he’s having: all the joy, all the pain, and a happy ending sundae for dessert.

July 31, 2005

July 31, 2005

Should-ing all over myself

As I am holding Baby Boy up to the trash can so that he can urinate squarely inside its rim, I decide to forgive myself. We are probably giving some security guard quite a show as he watches us on the video camera. Aside from the tourists who surreptitiously touch everything and climb up the rocks at Ruby Falls, despite the guide’s caution against this , my son being lifted to whiz in a can could be the most exciting thing to happen all day for the video monitor.

I really should know better, though, to have peed the boy before we embarked on the cavernous subterranean journey, because we’ve already done this. We visited Ruby Falls earlier in the summer, the kids and I. So I should know that there aren’t any bathrooms within the whole cavern basement and the place is one big giant dripping spout so even if you don’t think you have to pee, you’re bound to think you do. I should know this!

Just like I should:
- never overdraw on my bank account anymore.
- not still break out like a teenager when I am stressed.
- observe a reasonable bedtime.
- be more diligent in getting my kids to read and do chores and speak 3 languages.
- be fit enough to audition for American Ninja Warrior.
- make a mealplan for my family the next 3 years like I know you and Pinterest do.

But I need to stop should-ing all over myself. Who, in the history of shoulds has ever benefited directly from someone declaiming, “I should do that thing that I’ve been meaning to do!”

Try these:
- I should vote!
- I should container garden!
- I should go back to school!
- I should not be such a witch all the time!

Which of the above changes a molecule in the world if none are ever executed, if no actions are taken to turn the shoulds into dids?

So I’m tossing should from my lexicon this school year. I will bandy about “want” and “pray about” and “tried” and that powerhouse of a three-letter past tense verb, “did.”

***

p.s. Here I am with my new friends at Nerd Camp. It was the greatest time among new but true friends.

Nerd Camp

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