Saturday the husband and I celebrated ten years of marriage. Ironically, the weekend of our wedding we had leftover hurricane rain and winds but everything cleared out just in time for a perfectly beautiful Sunday afternoon wedding. This weekend we had the leftover rain and winds from Hurricane Matthew.
“Rain on your wedding day is auspicious,” my friend told me, but apparently the rain fairies didn’t get the message to the marriage fairies.
The first ten years we weathered some pretty difficult storms; the death of our firstborn daughter, the death of his father, additional loved ones in declining health, me giving my life to the work of our non-profit, him working six days a week at the business he started, three years of ministry school for me, and the list goes on.
We’ve also been incredibly blessed with two more biological children and the opportunity to love a foster child for nearly a year now.
Some of this crazy was our own volition, some was life’s calling. For example, we chose the addition of children and to become foster parents, the husband chose to start his own business, both of us knowing it would be a grueling first couple of years with no guarantees we would make it. (We would make these same choices a thousand times over so no regrets.)
I have been present with mothers delivering stillborn babies, officiated funeral services for deceased children, sat with countless families and individuals grieving the death of their child, grandchild, sibling, texted with moms in the middle of the night because that’s when grief overwhelmed, visited with mothers on the mental health floor because all she could say to the doctors was that she wanted to be with her child that died. I conduct groups meetings and one-on-one support, plan and officiate multiple annual remembrance ceremonies and events, and I do nearly all of this as a volunteer. So… I got another part-time position to help with our household income, but both my work through our organization and my part-time job are life callings. Sure, ultimately it was my choice to say yes or no, but the call was birthed from excruciating pain and purpose and what an honor it is to serve our community in these ways.
As we planned for our anniversary weekend, we talked about driving a few hours east for an overnight getaway. However, as I looked around our house, I had an epiphany.
Why not have the kids stay with mom and the husband and I take two days to work on cleaning and organizing our house. (With the exception of dinner and a movie.) Surprisingly the husband agreed!
I’ve never been a romantic and I’m practical to a fault, so I don’t think this caught my husband off guard.
September a year ago our basement flooded from heavy rains. (We lost some sentimental items in that flood that gave us only a mere glimpse of what people in Hurricane Matthew’s path have lost. My heart has hurt so much for them this week.) The husband tore out the carpet, but everything has been sitting there waiting to be put back together. He started repainting this summer, but there was still more to be done.
We have been blessed with cousin hand-me-downs, but they have accumulated without being sorted through, completely overtaking prime real estate in our daughter’s room. With our long days and tag-team schedules, clutter had unfortunately taken over way too much of our already small living quarters.
After dropping the kids of with my mom Saturday morning, he went to work in the basement and I began methodically working my way through the bedrooms. All said, I hauled twenty-one garbage bags out the door. Only two were trash though, the rest were clothes stored for future use or donated. I also washed, folded, and put away twelve loads of laundry! (I don’t remember the last time all our beds had clean linens at he same time and being completely caught up on laundry!) He got the basement painted and ready for carpet.
We went to Union Station Restaurant and Bar for dinner, a historic building that housed Wetsel Seed Company for many years that has now been brilliantly transformed into a quaint restaurant. I had blackened tuna and steamed broccoli, he had country carbonara. The food was fabulous, but we hardly knew how to act without the three munchkins. I was reminded why I fell in love with this man. He is caring, a mama’s boy, has a shameless dry humor, and is a delightful conversationalist.
We went to Lowe’s afterward to look at ideas for basement flooring. I’ve had a movie theater gift card for two years that we thought we might use, but we didn’t see anything that captured our attention. We came home and watched “Fireproof,” a movie about a couple on the verge of divorce but found a way, ultimately found God, and worked their marriage out to be better and stronger than ever.
This morning I made three loaves of bread and ministrone then continued cleaning. This afternoon I made peanut butter bars. Mom brought the kiddos home after church and the husband enjoyed the Washington Redskins football win.
The children were so excited about their clean organized rooms that they just wanted to hang out there. They promised to help keep them that way. We had our traditional Sunday evening routine; a big bowl of popcorn and America’s Funniest Videos.
Our tenth wedding anniversary celebration was nothing like how we originally envisioned it, it was so much better. Next to my faith, there is nothing in the world as dear to me as my husband and children. Spending this weekend with and for them was the greatest joy of all.
To many more years…