26 years ago today I became a married woman. When I look back it really doesn't seem like it was that long ago. But when I realize I have been married longer now than I have been unmarried, I guess it is a long time. And I reached that milestone five years ago!
Looking back to that day in 1982, I really had no idea what was ahead, even though at the time I most certainly thought I did. That thought got me to thinking... what would I tell this credulous, inexperienced girl, knowing what I know now after 26 years of the vicissitudes of life?
Just what would I say?
Well, to start off, I would tell her to not buy so many purple frilly baby girl clothes every time she was expecting. There will be no need for them. They will just rot in the hope chest and go so out of style that it will be impossible to even give them away. And I'd say so much more...
So in honor of our 26th anniversary I thought it would be fun to write a letter to myself (I saw this on another blog) from this side of the fence...
That very tall, dark, and handsome returned missionary you have been dating is about to become your husband and you are about to become his wife. This is what you have dreamed of since you were a child. Everyone says what a storybook romance the two of you have shared, but real life isn't always a fairy tale. You may eventually live happily ever after, but it's going to take some bumpy roads to get there.
There is no doubt he loves you all right, and you him, but you won't know the extent of that love until you have pulled through some tough times.
When others tell you medical school is going to be enormously tough and a very long haul, trust them. It will. A very long haul. But it will be a fun ride as well. You will look back on those days of poverty and feeling like a single mother with great fondness. You might as well know now you are going to become an expert in delayed gratification. Don't fight it, just enjoy the ride. It will be worth it one day. You will even get that dream house you are only visualizing in your mind right now. And tall, dark, and handsome will build it nearly solely on his own from the house plans you draw up.
You will have those babies you have longed for and they will be all you hoped for and more. Don't listen to those au-naturale moms. You WILL want an epidural and the sooner the better! Remember you WILL. YOU. WILL. The enormity of love and work involved in such a responsibility will only be realized once you have become a mother. You will love those little guys more fiercely than you can ever imagine.
Yes, I did say "guys". I'm breaking it to you now, you are going to have an overdose of testosterone in your home. Try not to panic, you will adapt. In fact, not to scare you, but you will become a pro. You will become the mother of five - yes FIVE of the most incredible sons ever born. Do not worry for you will get used to the smells (think man's locker room here), the bodily noises they find so amusing no matter what age, the teasing they will love to do to you- (warning these will involve mostly spiders and bugs), the worms that survive the spin cycle in the washer, the language of Caveman-ese (consisting mostly of grunts), the holes in newly painted walls, the dirty socks that could walk themselves to the laundry room...but never do!, the finger painting with bodily excrements (this will happen twice - but you will survive- you will even take photos the second time). Do not even for one tiny little second wish this time away, even though you will be tempted to at times, because in a blink it will be gone.
One of the hardest things you will need to learn is how to let go of these babies. When they begin to grow up and move out on their own, you will experience a great deal of satisfaction seeing them progress and succeed in the world, but it will be hard, (so very hard) to let them go. But let them go you must. That is part of the plan and the sooner you accept it the better. For one of them, it will be an earlier than planned for letting go. You will experience the hardest kind of letting go known to a parent. For this I can offer no help in preparation, for there is no way to prepare someone to bury a child. But you will have a great strength by your side in that tall, though not so dark anymore, but still very handsome guy you married. This is when that love you have for one another will prove it's power.
He will take up the slack in so many things when you feel you no longer have the strength or motivation during this time. Let him. It is his way of showing you how deeply he loves you. It may be hard to believe right now, but he will become very proficient in doing laundry, dishes, cooking -(hate to break it to you, but he will become as good of a cook -actually better- than you someday, though he will never match you in the baking arena - oh, and for that first apple pie you bake...peel the apples first...trust me on this one!), he will even become adept at cleaning toilets. For this alone you are one lucky girl! And wait till you see his yard and garden someday.
You will need to be very supportive of his demanding church callings and profession. Though it won't be much of an adjustment having him gone so much after surviving the med school schedule. In fact, you will need to learn how to adjust to being less independent. You may find yourself needing to keep him busy with household projects so you can carry on with your own agenda.
Ignore the advice others will give of never going to bed angry. It's really okay to do, and sometimes highly recommended in order to prevent hurtful words that would otherwise not be spoken when you take time to cool off first.
Do not criticize him or put him down in front of the boys, or anyone for that matter. Praise him and brag about his good qualities to others. Focus on these for there are so many of them and by doing so you will learn to appreciate them even more.
The sooner you accept the fact that he is a born fisherman and hunter the better. These sports will take him away from you quite frequently. He will drive three hours just to fish for two, and drive back for another three. This is a strange part of this man you will never understand and so instead of trying to, just learn to enjoy your time alone with a good book, shopping, or some great old movies.
Give it up on trying to get him to stop leaving his shoes around the house, or flinging his tie over the banister. I can promise you after 26 years of marriage he will still do this. Don't waste your breath or energy in trying to fix this. You WON'T. Just accept it and move on. Be grateful that he is willing to work so hard for you and the boys in his demanding job and focus on that instead.
Lastly, remember to tell him often how much you love him. ♥ He will never be able to hear those words enough. And always remember this: Men are like puppies, they need a lot of attention and they are hard to train at first, but a little praise and a treat goes a long way in training them to do what you want.
You -Age 40 (ah-hem) something
A few photos for your comic relief!
This is one of my favorite pictures ↑
Looks like I am going into this with my eyes SHUT!
Not sure what that face means or what I was thinking...
Me, Shauna, Linda (Dave's sister), Lisa, Robin, Jody, Sherri, Karen (Dave's sister), Candi (my cousin)
Why oh why, didn't someone tell me to put my shoes back on so I wouldn't look like a midget? Especially since everyone else is wearing three inch heels!
The entire crew...
I really need my shoes on in this one!
Next to Dave is his best friend Brent, my brother Jerry, Brian & Scott (Dave's bros) and the tiny little guy on the front row is Dave's brother Kevin. The two little girls next to my Dad are Tiffany (my cousin) and Julie (Dave's sister)
click to enlarge
My friend Carol sat at my book
Now that was fun!
I love you...♥