Lately, I've been back into reading. I always find it hard to find the time to read when I have a newborn. When I do have down time, I'd rather just curl up on the couch (usually with the baby!) and watch TV. But, Teresa is four months now and she goes to sleep very nicely around 8 p.m. or so. As I'm usually conscious until at least 9:30 p.m., I've been reading when there's nothing good on TV (a lot!).
I love reading non-fiction books (I'm reading a terrific one on parenting right now), but sometimes I long to just escape into fiction. Problem is, most fiction turns me off now. Things that never used to phase me (romance...or just sex pretty much...violence, etc.) bother me now. If I don't want my kids to be exposed to it, why should I indulge? I prefer the guilty pleasures of coffee and chocolate these days :).
Anyway, this led me to take out a Christian fiction book from the library yesterday (while two preschoolers ran through the aisles, the toddler pulled random books off the shelf, and the infant had finally had enough of her car seat...yup, the people trying to concentrate just loved us!). This led me to grab the first one that had the "Christian" label on it (the librarian told me to look for it) and call it a day!
I tried to read the book a few minutes later in the children section (where we belonged...ha!). The baby fell asleep and the others were happily playing, so I decided to read the first chapter. I almost didn't make it through (although I did take it home as I realized that I probably wasn't giving it a good chance!). The opening scene was a woman standing in her kitchen drinking coffee (love it...can so relate!).
Anyway, her husband of ten years came in from working in the yard and takes her in a warm embrace and reminds her again how lucky he is to have her. Um...yeah, can't relate so much anymore! Although, I am about to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary in April!
Flashback to when I was 21 (Facebook pictures are reminding me that it is throwback Thursday today, after all!). I was sitting at a bar in Boston by myself. I was supposed to meet my best girlfriend for a few drinks, dancing, and flirting. Problem is, she never showed up (I didn't have a cell phone at the time! Turns out, she couldn't find a parking spot so she drove around for an hour and gave up!).
After I finished my beer, I went to the bathroom. I walked by many happy (well, they looked happy anyway...as many people do at bars!) couples. An overwhelming sadness came over me. I realized that I was at a bar...alone. There was no one waiting for me back at the bar and in fact, there was no boyfriend in my life at all at that point. I made a decision that I would stop going to bars until I had someone who actually loved me (not someone looking at me through beer goggles!) with me.
Did I stop going to bars? Well, no. But, I realized how much I wanted TRUE love. Up until that point, my relationships might have mimicked love in some ways, but they were not real. I also realized that I was done with the whole bar scene (at least for finding a potential spouse!). I have many regrets of misusing alcohol in my past (something I only hope and pray that my children will be spared!). I was SO ready for the next stage of my life...
...which started in early June of 2000 (yes, some years after that day in the bar...but, thank God, it happened!). That is when I met my husband. After three years of dating and discernment, we were engaged for a year before marrying on April 17, 2004.
While we don't share many moments like the woman in the Christian fiction book, we do share many loving glances across rooms filled with our greatest blessings. And, my husband doesn't even have to use words to show his love.
He is supposed to be in Baltimore at a conference right now. I've known about it for weeks. He was all set to leave around 6 a.m. this morning. I was prepared to get up early, pack the lunches, get the kids on the bus, get to preschool, host a playdate, pick up Gianna from choir before dinner and bath. He was hoping to be home in time for bedtime.
I was prepared until around 10 p.m. last night, that is. We were sitting on the couch together watching the end of Dirty Dancing (love this movie from my youth!). He made an innocent comment about what time he was going to leave in the morning.
I should've just kept my mouth shut and gone to bed.
But, instead, I shared feelings that shouldn't really be spoken when you're exhausted from a long day. I said that I feel nervous when he is far away (Baltimore is only 1.5 hours from here, if that...but much farther than his job which is only 10 minutes away!). We don't have any family in the area, and I am solely responsible for these six little human beings when he is away.
And, especially when I'm tired, I can begin to feel overwhelmed if I think too much. Thoughts like, who would I call if I got a flat tire, what if (please God forbid) there was an accident (someone came very close to running right into me at a rotary just the other day), what if one of the kids got hurt (my friend just told me the story today of when her son fractured his skull when her husband was away), etc., etc., etc.
In the morning, guaranteed that I would've been fine. I would've said my morning prayers consecrating my family to Mary and prayed for a legion of angels to protect us. It would've been okay...even if something had happened. I am strong and capable. I know that our lives are in God's hands.
But, my husband didn't go to Baltimore. I know he had been looking forward to the conference, and he stayed right here in Harrisburg and went to work...without saying a word about it. And, I love him so much for it. I feel safer...and very loved...no warm embrace or sappy words needed.
In thanksgiving to God for a decade of marriage to an amazing man! Praying for all those women who are looking for love in bars...that they may know their true worth and be blessed with decades of love!