Tag Archives: My Wonderful Husband

My Husband, the Superhero

I’m not really in the blogging mood right now.  I’m too busy feeling bad for myself.  So, instead of focusing on me, I’m going to talk about the most awesome person I know: my husband.

A couple weeks ago, Ben informed me that our finances were hurting.  Not in a oh-my-gosh-we-can’t-pay-our-rent-this-month- kind of hurt, but very very close.  To keep our wallets insulated, my husband picked up a second job.  He will now be working 70+ hours a week from here until Eternity (that’s how it feels, anyway).  When I suggested that I find something part-time or full-time he firmly told me no.  My health was a major factor in his reasoning, as was my desire to stay-at-home with the kids.  In his words, “I want to let you be a mom.”  I think I fell in love with him all over again.

This guy is amazing.  He will be returning from his last medical school interview later this evening only to be at church early tomorrow morning and back to work for 32 straight hours soon thereafter.  All because he knows we need the money and, in his mind, that is his responsibility.

If you aren’t yet convinced, I can bet that tonight he will ly get up with the kids in order to give me a break.  Of course, I am crossing my fingers that Andrew’s new pattern (as in, since his daddy left town) of getting up every few hours will be broken tonight.  And, he will offer to massage my shoulders, listen to my weepy feel-sorry-for-myself stories, and even comfort me.

How did I snag this guy?

On a much brighter note, he has been accepted to all the medical schools he interviewed at.  I am so proud of him.  We now have the luxury of choosing between a few schools rather than going to a school because it was the only one he got into.  (That sounds very haughty.  It isn’t intended to be like that.)  Naturally, we will let the Spirit guide us as we make the final choice.

Clearly, Ben is the better half.

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Seeing Beyond the Imperfections

I used to hide from the camera.  In my teen years, I didn’t want to remember what I looked like.  In fact, I still feel that way.  Like most teens, I was insecure–about my acne, my weight, my smile, and everything else.  My measuring stick were my sisters.  They were and are beautiful.  In my mind, I could not compete to my dark haired beauty counterparts.

The struggle continued into my marriage.  But, like the famous Mahana (Mormon joke), my husband’s continuous praise helped me see beyond the physical impurities and recognize my great potential.

Acceptance of my body has come in different stages.  The most important, for me, was accepting my face by no longer avoiding the camera.

Over the past few months,  I have obsessed about including myself in photos.  Not because I have some sense of impending doom,  but because I want my kids to have photographic proof that I was at certain events and that we did have fun together.

(The one catch,  Ben is not allowed to photograph me.  How do I put this…the photos he takes of me are not the most attractive.  Hey,  I have my dignity to maintain.)

Since I am alone with my kids much of the day,  I photograph us with the old-school style of holding the camera out and taking face shots.  That’s right, face shots.   My fear of looking at my blemished face has disappeared.  This is for my kids anyway.

My sweet angel, Andrew

My gorgeous daughter, Emily

These kids? They make my life full.  Fuller than I could ever have imagined.

Since the miscarriage, I am often reminded to hold my two babies close. This is hard because the physical pain I am experiencing;  still, I hug and rock them constantly.

How can I possibly describe the indescribable?  My little Emily and Andrew are my life.  I say that unashamedly.  Sure I have myself outside of them, but right now that “self” seems so unnecessary.  Perhaps it was the miscarriages that helped me see my reality: Despite the challenges of being a mother, it is one of the best jobs I have and will ever hold.

I will also say, I am the best mother for them.  Yes I am.  No living person loves these two more than me.  Another person would not sing them personalized songs when they wake up from naps and in the morning or throw spontaneous dance parties when they wake up at midnight or miss them while they are sleeping.  I am their interpreter, teacher, cook, mediator, and, best of all, their mother.

In a short time they will be grown up.  The will no longer need me as much as now.  This doesn’t make me sad, however, because I feel one of my greatest job responsibilities is raising them to be moral, industrious, conscientious adults. For now, though, they need me.  And I need them.

They see my face daily.  Not the face I crucially examine, but the perfect face of their beloved mother.

Just like I only see perfection in them.

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I Am So Talented

One of the big themes I see over and over again in the blog world is balance.

Well, boy howdy, I have found the solution.

At least for me.

Go ahead and pat me on the back.

Oh, what is that? You want to know my secret?

My secret is simple:  husband found a new job in which he is working nights.  Brilliant,  really.

Now that he is no longer around to tempt me into spending time with him,  I have commandeered my nights and whipped them into cleaning action.  I wash dishes,  sweep and mop floors,  vacuum the messy carpet,  and wash, fold, and put away laundry.

I am like the super cleaning woman.

Whew.

I’m feeling tired just reading that!

All right, it isn’t as hard as it sounds.  Considering we only live in 500 sq ft, the floors take like 10 minutes to clean; the laundry room shares space with our only bathroom; and it takes like 4 seconds to walk from room to room.  Living in a small space does have its advantages.

I have decided to ignore household chores and the internet while my kids are awake–otherwise known as taking long walks and playing in the park–so I use the four or five hours after they go to bed for my time.  My time to blog, write, and clean.

It’s splendid really.

Except for the fact that my husband is gone and that I miss him greatly.

Sometimes, though, I choose to see the positives.

Like a clean house.

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A Simple Walk

Five for Ten is still going strong!  Click on over to see what all the fuss is about.  The theme for today and tomorrow is “memory.”

When we started dating, I didn’t think it would last. I was too young, too immature.  You made me believe that we could be something more, something eternal.

After 6 months, we started talking marriage.  With butterflies in my stomach, I allowed the fantasy to ignite.  You held me entranced by the promise of forever, a future that I once thought impossible.

One Sunday, we took a walk.  We went down a street with familiar houses.  There was a particular one for sale, we stopped to grab the flier.  Within minutes we talked about what could be.  A house.  A family.  You.  Me.

I suggested an alternative–you quit the job you hate, go back to school, and we become starving college students just trying to get by.  You wistfully smile and allow yourself to think about that for a minute until reality hits.  You feel trapped by a job.

You gave me a ring with a question.  I answered, without hesitation, “Yes!”

The dream was within reach.

Months later we decided to break up.  You felt the need to embrace a higher calling for two years.  You wanted to give back to God what he gave to you.  You embarked on a mission.  Those two years would transform us–our relationship–into a force so powerful that we only wait 27 days from when you return to get married.

For two years we bickered.  We broke each other’s hearts multiple times.  We learned to have faith and to trust.  In God.  In ourselves.  In us.

A culmination of 4 years together and we finally had our forever.  A covenant in a temple is said, our reflection in mirrors is looked at, and tears of joy are shed.

Almost 3 years into marriage and we remember that walk.  We are indeed poor students.  But we aren’t starving.  We are full.  With life.  With children.  With each other.

You are pursuing your career of choice, I am living mine.

A simple memory, a fleeting fantasy, that is still unfolding.

Eternity.

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And the Rest Is History, I Guess

In continuation of Momalom’s Five for Ten series, today’s topic is “Happiness.”  Click on over to join the fun!

During the whole appendectomy episode,  Ben decided that he wanted to try a new educational/career path.  Being in the hospital reignited his dream of becoming a doctor.  Since his GPA was practically spotless, he was weary of smudging his record with the tyrannical science courses.  With my wholehearted support,  he decided he would give pre-med a one semester try.   If he felt confident after that first semester,  he would continue on until the next semester, and, after that, he would be set on medical school.  (See? I really do support him in his dreams! As long as they do not include becoming a career pilot.)

The first semester was rough.  Not only were we new parents, but we were both taking classes.  Plus, to put it mildly, Ben’s classes were not easy.

When the semester was over, he managed to walk away with better grades than he expected.   He decided to continue.

Now, almost 2 years later, we have reached a point that was a mere speck in the horizon.

Yesterday, we received Ben’s MCAT scores.

If I could fully relate how much we have both sacrificed to reach this point, I would.  I will tell you this–there have been many days, especially over this last semester, when I wouldn’t see Ben until he stumbled into bed around 2 am.   I’m not just referring to the weekdays.  I mean Monday-Saturday.  (Sunday was our sacred family time.) It was difficult.  Parenting two little babies by myself, especially when my husband is only a couple miles away, was harder than I anticipated.  I wrote many disparaging posts (which I may just delete) and cried more than I care to admit, but I tried my best to support my husband through it all.  It helped to know that he was struggling as well.  I mean, he had to study and actually take the test.  I only had to blubber about solo parenting.  Besides, he loves his children more than I can describe.  He would have given anything to be with them.

So.  April 10th came and Ben took the test.  When finished it did nothing to alleviate our anxiety.  For all we knew, he would be taking it again (because he likely did not do well enough) after he found out his score.

The kids and I may have seen Ben more this last month, but the tension was still palpable; the nights still sleepless.

Fast forward to yesterday.  The scores were scheduled to come out at some point during the day.  While Ben tried to work and I tried to, um, tend to the kids (meaning read all the delightful Five for Ten posts), we couldn’t help but look at the website every ten seconds.

Finally, a little after 1:00, I received the call I had been expecting.  I answered the phone with a hurried–“Was it good??” To which my husband replied, “Yes!”

Pure happiness.

For inquiring minds,  knowing the score is the first step.  We will now be applying to different medical schools and starting the interviewing process sometime in September.  In some ways, I never thought this day would come.  I was sure we would be stuck in undergraduate education forever.  I am glad that this theory proved to be untrue.

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Dear 23-Year-Old Self,

Yes, I am finally back online.  It will take me forever to get caught up but so life goes.  While disconnected, I was thinking about this blog and realized I did not write myself a birthday letter; thus, this post’s inception.

Remember those goals you wrote when you were 12?  The sheet was short and simple–something like this (in no particular order).

  • Marry a worthy returned missionary in the temple.
  • Graduate from college.
  • Become a mom.

The goal you hoped most to achieve was motherhood.  You had no idea when that would come to pass and marriage seemed like a fleeting fancy, something that happened to those who were beautiful and witty, characteristics you (falsely) believed you lacked.

Yet, here you are at 23.  You have achieved those goals.  You are a college graduate–the first in your immediate family. You have married an incredible man who is everything you hoped he would be and more.  You have two beautiful children that bring unsolicited smiles frequently.

Motherhood was harder than you expected.  With school, you knew what was needed to receive that “A.”  With parenting, there is no syllabus with its accompanying assignment sheet.  You can’t check Blackboard for your grades.  There is no professor to explain difficult concepts.  So, the next time you envision that imaginary audience who groans and shakes their heads at your mistakes, remember that there is no imaginary audience.  When you make a mistake, it is okay.  Grow from your mistakes, don’t dwell on them.  When you do have a question, ask your friends.  You are surrounded by experienced parents who would not think you are a failure for asking.

Please forsake those insecurities that tie you down.  You are not the awkward teenager who once lived in her older sister’s shadow.  You are beautiful, vivacious, and benevolent.  You have a husband who would slay dragons for you.  You have a daughter and son who instantly forgive your shortcomings.  You have accomplished all the goals you once set for yourself.

People do not look down on you because of your choice to become a stay-at-home mom.  Stop using your education as a snobby reminder that you could have done more with your life.  This is your dream!  Even if someone thinks less of you, it is your choice to believe it or ignore it.   Instead of “if onlys” become the best mom you can possibly be.

Replace your doubt with trust.  You know what is best for you and your family.

Above all, trust your husband.  Trust your friends.  Trust your parents.  Trust your Savior.  Embrace forgiveness–of others and of self.  Hold fast to the truth that has constantly guided you.

Love always,

Me

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Smiling the Arguments Away (Maybe Not Away…)

Yesterday Ben and I got into an argument.  Right as things started getting heated, I felt the urge.  I tried to bite it back, not wanting Ben to feel patronized, but it came:  my goofy grin.

Naturally, it ticked Ben off.  He went to the kitchen to cool off while I went to our bedroom to get rid of that dang smile.  Within a few minutes we were sitting on the couch having a more civil discussion.  Later that evening, we giggled over the whole event.

I am happy to admit that I am not the only one who does this.  Ben also smiles when things get tense.  When I see him smile, I start to smile and then we both end up in fits of laughter on the couch.

Really, the worst time to smile is right in the middle of an argument, right? I don’t think so.  That is, I don’t think Gottman thinks so.

Disclaimer: If you didn’t know this already, I am a big fan of Gottman.  When I think about marriage relationships, his research is generally at the forefront of my mind.  He is like my shoulder angel (in marriage, that is).

In his research, Gottman was able to quantify his observations and turn them into a mathematical model.  One of the fascinating results he found was the magical 5 to 1 ratio.   Happily married couples generally have five positive interactions to one negative interaction.  When a couple consistently dips below that magical number (meaning more negative than positive interactions) they are in danger.

Keeping this in mind reminds me that Ben and I have a built-in safety monitor in our relationship.  Neither of us enjoys conflict–especially with each other; thus, when our arguments are getting out of hand, we turn to our safety net: humor.

Ben’s responsibilities plus my responsibilities are very overwhelming.  What keeps our relationship strong is our ability to laugh.  This doesn’t mean we don’t tackle the tough issues, it means that we can approach those issues without either of us becoming too defensive.  At least most of the time.

I think next time, though, I will try to hold my goofy grin in until after the serious part is over.

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