Tuesday, December 8, 2015

We're Two of a Kind Workin' On a Full House - Garth Brooks, Gratitude, and Lovin' Your Man

Last week, when Steve received a text from a good friend asking if we'd like to go with him and his wife to see Garth Brooks in concert, he couldn't respond "yes" fast enough!  Garth's music sat at the top of our cd stacks through high school and college.  We made a lot of memories to his music country swing dancing, road tripping, and for Steve, passing the long hours on the tractor stacking hay in the hot summer sun.

We still love to take a spin around the kitchen floor to his tunes while the kids pull k.p. duty.

One of our favorite hits from back in the day was Two of a Kind Workin' On a Full House. During our engagement, we'd talk about our dreams of raising a big family in the country on a farm, and this song became a soundtrack for that dream.
It was such a neat feeling to be standing in a sold-out crowd Sunday night, singing along to this song, Steve's hand on my expectant tummy, knowing that our house really is becoming a full one!

We talked non-stop all the way home about the concert, our favorite songs, and funny stories of our dating and engagement days.  It was truly wonderful.

Unfortunately, when we got home, the tacos I snarfed down before the concert decided to wake me up.  I grabbed my robe and snuck out to the living room, where I found a comfy space on the couch right between two Hot Wheels and an algebra book.

In the silence of the late night hours, as I waited for my stomach to settle down, I couldn't help but think back upon the day and all of it's blessings.

The afternoon prior to the concert had been spent outdoors.  We soaked in all the loveliness of the fifty-degree weather by trekking out to find the perfect Christmas tree, then Steve played basketball with the boys, squeezing every last drop of sunlight out of the day.

As I sat at the dining room table trying to whittle away at my online Christmas shopping, my attention was constantly drawn away from Amazon and out to the great intensities of both laughter and fierce competition on the basketball court.

Something inside of me felt so indescribably happy and content.
Joey getting ready to saddle up for a ride around the yard.
Rose. She's part horse, part pillow, part pooch - and not a bit the watch dog type.
I grabbed my camera and ran out to snap a few pics of the boys.  It's the every day stuff that I love the capture most.  The big events are wonderful, of course, but it's the ordinary things that I never want to forget, because they are the substance of our life together.

Somehow, as I marveled at our family from behind the lens, I knew I would need these very pictures to remind myself during the most difficult days, when Steve is feeling so terrible that both of us are challenged to remain hopeful that he'll ever be healed, that there really is is joy between the pain, and generosity within the exhaustion.
I am amazed every single day at how Steve is able to answer the call to be a father to our sons, no matter how badly the Lyme is trying to beat him up on the inside.

When I see that that kind of love, I know it's the kind of love that changes people. It makes us better, helps us to forget about ourselves, and moves us to love freely, unreservedly, selflessly.

Drawn into the memories of the afternoon, it suddenly dawned on me, as I sat curled up on the couch, arms wrapped around my expanding middle, that while I've been trying for weeks now to finish up all of the Christmas shopping, that there is one ultimate gift I need, forever and always, to give our children and that is to love their father, and to love him well.

Sometimes I feel like as a mother I can get caught up in the idea that the best gifts I can give to our family are the gifts of a perfectly kept home, remembering to make special treats for every occasion, volunteering to lead our children's activities, coaching sports....all of the things that, while are at root very good things, can make life so unbelievably crazy that I lose sight of the time and attention that those, whom I so desperately love, need and long for.

At the top of that list is my husband.

Not the kids.

My husband.

Advent is such a perfect time to take a moment to evaluate how we love, to settle our little restless hearts down, to ponder life quietly in our hearts, just as Our Mother Mary did.

This is hard for me, because I'm such a doer.  But, I would be amiss if I really believed, for even a second, that filling my heart and my time with the details of busyness will actually make me a better wife and mother.

Loving my husband through thoughtful conversation, anticipating his needs, being a good listener, creating opportunities for him to spend time with the children, complimenting his strengths in front of the children, these are the things that truly matter.  

I realize that no family is perfect, and some of you may be feeling frustrated reading this, especially if you're experiencing a difficult time in your marriage right now.  I want you to know that, as I write this, I have paused to pray for you. I want to share my deepest empathy and compassion with you, but also I want to encourage you.  Don't give up.  Keep praying.  Keep striving. Keep loving.  The Lord will honor your generosity, your love.

When you and I love our husbands well - even if it feels difficult at times, we show our children how to love.  We give them a great sense of security.  We give honor to their father, and show them how to honor and respect him, too.

Our truest love for one person, is not of a singular focus, it is a love multiplied.  It pours out over our children in the most beautiful ways, and (by God's grace and design) becomes the very best gift we can give them - now, in this Holy season, and always.

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