Back in 2006, for our ninth anniversary, I wrote Thoughts on an Anniversary, and still like what it says, especially the last few paragraphs. I’m no genius, but I do learn valuable life lessons, and one of the most important is that as life is a continual learning experience, so is marriage, and when you put the team before the individual most of the time, good things happen. Happy Fifteenth Anniversary, Hon.
Yesterday was our ninth anniversary. My wife sometimes thinks I don’t appreciate her, or recognize the value of what she brings to our lives. And sometimes she is right, in the sense that I often think of such things, but less often speak out loud about them.
But nearly every day I thank God for our health, and our beautiful kids, and for the miracle of my second chance in this life to earn the love of a good woman who in turn appreciates me for who I am, and loves our kids like there is no tomorrow. Because sometimes, there isn’t one. This, I’ve learned from her.
I know she does a much better job than I ever could at all kinds of things. And I know I don’t say that enough, and sometimes focus on things she isn’t doing that I wish she would. It seems that Life, as I continue to learn, is often Imperfect, but still Very, Very Nice.
And I know how big a part she plays in making it that way, by focusing on the kids, and volunteering at church and school, and cultivating other relationships outside the home; it’s doubtful that I could, or would, make the same choices, or be as good at them if I did. Time is something you can never get back; I could probably come close to focusing on the kids as much as she does, but as for the other stuff, I’d probably be home cleaning the kitchen counters. Which, you know, has some intrinsic value, but ultimately, when you get done, all you have is a clean countertop, instead of having gone out into the world and spending that time you’ll never get back on people.
I admire this, and value it, partly because she’s is a natural at it and I’m not, and partly because I understand how important such choices ultimately are. This, I’ve learned from her. Clean countertops, useful as they are, can only take one so far.
And believe me, I do realize how intense and judgmental I can sometimes be, and how this puts a burden on those I love. I guess I have pretty high standards for all kinds of things. At least part of this is out of a desire to set a good example for our kids; but also to demand a lot from myself. And as part of that, I have to demand a lot from my wife, and the mother of our kids. This is part of a grand design; mom and dad set good examples, and demand a lot from their kids, but at the same time show their love and affection for each other and the kids. Tough Love, more or less. While it might create friction sometimes, I think it is ultimately the best way to raise up your kids, and is therefore worth whatever small price we might have to pay along the way.
And I’ve come a long way — or at least a short way — in mellowing out on certain things, and in trying to teach myself the lesson that a little bit of chaos might be ok if people are ultimately the beneficiary. This, I’m still learning from her. Among many other things. And I hope she’s learning from me as well. That’s how it is supposed to work, or so I hear.
So here’s what I think. I think, imperfect as we are as two individuals, we make a pretty darn good team. And I know I really wouldn’t do anything different, even if I could. Over the last few years, and especially the last few months, I keep wondering if my life, as it has turned out, is some kind of fantastic dream, and I fear that I’m going to wake up one day. So I hope and pray, quite often, that I never do.
To my wife, I’d like to now say, I Love and Appreciate You, for who you are, very much, and every day. Try to remember that, even when I’m being a bear sometimes. Because I’m imperfect, too. And I too struggle with who I am, and the burdens I put on my loved ones.
But I keep trying, because nothing matters more to me.
Happy Anniversary, Honey.