The Wife I Want to Be When I Grow Up…

This is a post I wrote a year or so ago. We celebrated Valentine’s Day on the 14th of this month. It made me think of this post, and what our expectations are of days such as Valentine’s Day and our engagement, and the day we wed our prince.

It may start out with Cinderella. A little girl wants to wear the frilly, flowing gown and the sparkly, glass slippers. And, “Oh yeah, I need a Prince to go with that pretty dress!” The husband of her dreams is actually an accessory.

I moved on to the cottage perched daintily in a grassy meadow, pink flowers sprinkled here and there, a rose covered white picket fence guarding the little house. cottage-1234802_1280I would have lots and lots of children skipping through the meadow, laughing and playing together in utter enjoyment of one another’s company. I don’t know where they all slept in that tiny house, but dreams don’t make sense a lot of the time. A husband and father…he was around…somewhere.

As I grew older, I thought more about the kind of husband I actually wanted to be married to. Of course he would have to be handsome and love me immensely. Yes, I would love him and I still wanted the little cottage and a couple of children. They would still frolic in the meadow, loving one another and never arguing. I don’t know why I thought this, I grew up the oldest of four. But again, dreams seldom make sense.

Thankfully, by the time I was old enough to marry I was thinking more about the attributes of a husband. I wanted him to be patient and kind, hard-working and willing to support a family. (Remember, I was down to two children by this time, not a tough job.) I wanted him to love the Lord as I did and live his life for Him. Of course I still hoped he would be handsome and funny and love me forever. I still wanted the rose-covered picket fence and adorable house.

And what kind of wife was I going to be? I knew I could cook and clean and again, I was the oldest of four and had babysat…a lot before I married. I could do all the everyday tasks of general survival and I was and am still pretty good at them. But what kind of wife am I?

Do I lift my husband up in prayer each day? Do I support him in his endeavors as he always has mine? Do I give him a smile even when I don’t wish to, a stroke of his back when I know he’s down? Do I prepare a special meal for him just because he means so much to me and I want to show him I care…even when my day has been lousy? Do I love him and stick with him even when there are times when I want to run from all the responsibilities of being a wife and mother?

Honestly…I can answer ‘no’ to each question above.

The wife I want to be when I grow up…is no longer a dream. I can make it my reality, my life. Not through my own strength, but God is there, showing me the way. The wife I want to be is loving and kind. Giving that pat and smile even when I don’t ‘feel’ like it. Being by my husband’s side even when I want to run. There is no honor or beauty in ‘having our own way’ or expressing our ‘rights’.

I am fortunate and blessed. My husband shows me daily how to be loving and kind. He always has been there for me, even when I haven’t deserved it or earned it. No, it’s not a special day for us…not an anniversary of any kind. But it is another day we have to be together and share our lives. God has blessed us abundantly over the past 32 years. And He is still working on me to become the wife I want to be when I grow up.

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I pray the same for you.

Another Anniversary

When I was young, a wedding was a happy celebration for me. It was a day to dress up in a beautiful gown, have flowers overflowing every surface, and you walked down the aisle to your handsome husband-to-be. It was the most tremendous of happenings in a young girl’s life. And I looked forward to my wedding day with great expectation.

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When our first daughter was married almost eight years ago, it wasn’t a happy day for me. Yes, I know that is a rather blunt way to put it, and it seems a bit selfish, but that was the way I felt. I was losing my oldest daughter, and all the attributes she brought to our family circle…and I was depressed. That tiny baby I held at birth, and cherished, was no longer mine, she belonged to someone else.

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As I look at my husband in this picture, I see sadness on his face. And I know he was feeling many of the same emotions I was.

Fast forward a few years to our second daughter’s wedding. No, I wasn’t any more happy about it. I was sad and depressed. Again, a part of our family was once again changing, and it would never be the same. She was leaving us by choice, and that hurt.img_0539

I think the most difficult part of each wedding ceremony for me was watching my husband walk our daughters down the aisle, and then kiss her goodbye. It really symbolizes the ending of one way of life and the beginning of another.

Our third daughter is celebrating her first wedding anniversary today. Her wedding, one year ago was just as hard on the emotions. Even more poignant was the fact that she wore my wedding dress and veil. It was an honor, but flooded my mind with so many memories of my own wedding day. All those years shuffled away under the load of babies, jobs, bills, and responsibilities. Where had they all gone is such a hurry?

When I was young, I never thought of weddings as being a sad day. I pretty much thought people were shedding tears of happiness. I didn’t understand all that was behind those tears…just as our daughters do not understand right now. And that’s how it should be.

Our three daughters, (we have one more to go), have all married wonderful young men. They have lives of their own now. Yes, it’s been very difficult to let go of each one, and I know I’m not successful at it most of the time. Those girls were MY babies not many years ago. I fed them, rocked them, and sang them to sleep at night. I dressed them up in matching clothes, and fixed their hair every morning. I was frustrated with them as teenagers, hoping they would leave home very quickly on many days over the years. But now they are no longer mine as they once were, and in reality, they never were really mine.

I was allowed a very short number of years in their life in my role as their mother. Yes, I’m still ‘Mom’ but not in the same way. It’s hard to let go, and it’s sad. I think I cry each time one of them celebrates another anniversary. But I am happy for them, proud of them, and thankful that they still choose to include me in their lives, sometimes almost on a daily basis. And someday they will understand. I pray that by the time that day arrives, I will have matured enough to hold them, and give comfort. That I will be able to tell them there is happiness in watching their children grow as men and women, husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers.

And that’s just as it should be.

Happy First Anniversary, Mitchel and Alyssa Lynn! You are loved!