One more day until my sister-in-law, Julie's, wedding! In honor of her wedding, and our anniversary, I have dubbed this week "All Things Bridal"! I've shared about bridesmaid dresses and weight loss, reflections brought up over America's longest married couple, the changing seasons of marriage, reflections on 'For Better or For Worse', and a special TBT picture! It's been a fun and full week!
Today is extra special because it is our 22nd wedding anniversary! Jay took the day off so we could spend some time together before the rehearsal tonight. The hope is to start the day off with Mass so we can thank God for the last 22 years...then breakfast out. After that, our couple time will consist of groceries, errands, and a costume parade with Luke's class! We're romantic like that!;)
I've been praying for some inspiration to write Jay a special anniversary post. A few things have been simmering in my head that I'm hoping will ladle out coherently as I type! One never knows!:)
Jay always chides me for calling him 'my better half', but he truly is. There are so many character traits that make him a great husband and a great dad. Since this is 'Quick Take Friday', I thought I would share some of my favorite memories and thoughts of my husband.
Sorry in advance if some of them aren't really "quick"!
#1: Love is Patient....
My husband is an incredibly patient man. Patience is not my strong suit! Jay can definitely remain calmer than I can in the midst of everyday chaos much more effectively that I can. When things get topsy/turvy around here, I look to Jay to remind me that everything is going to be ok and "This too shall pass."
#2: Love is Kind....
This is an easy one! Jay is a very kind person. He genuinely cares about people and wants to help them. He is a physical therapist in his day job who has always been drawn to work with the elderly population. He treats them with gentleness and respect. He doesn't rush and he listens to them as they share stories from their past. He loves being able to help people get back their confidence and independence after illness or surgery.
We see that kindness, too. I'm pretty sure I've shared this memory at some point before, but a special moment that springs to mind was the first ultrasound I had when I was pregnant with Mike. I was 16 weeks and it was the first ultrasound either of us had ever been to. I remember seeing a baby so little and perfect looking....and he looked like he was using my uterus as a trampoline. We were in this tiny little room and Jay was at the end of the bed I was on. He was so excited but the only thing he could really touch were my feet. So he stood there rubbing my shoes with a giant grin on his face! (It's such a vivid memory I even remember the shoes! Bass hush puppies...totally in style during the early 90's!)
When the older kids were little I had an 8x10 frame on the wall for each of them with their hospital picture and a few other snapshots. I need to find what I did with them because there was a picture in Sarah's frame that spoke a thousand words.....
In the picture, Sarah is dressed in her pink coming home outfit and laying in the hospital bassinet. I got a picture of Jay leaning over kissing her cheek. His eyes are closed and the look of peace and joy on his face just jumped right out at you. He was so in love with his brand new baby girl!(and he still is;)
When Luke was born, we had gone 6 years without a baby. In comparison, we had 7 children in the first 10 years of our marriage so 6 years really was a long time. We had thought our family was complete...but God had other plans....
Luke's labor was my first medicated one. (So.much.easier!) I looked up at Jay as they put Luke on my chest and he had tears in his eyes. My doctor...who was awesome...looked at Jay and said quietly, "It never gets old, does it?" Jay just answered back quietly, "No...no it doesn't." as he gazed at his new little son with such obvious love.
#3: Love is Not Envious or Boastful or Arrogant or Rude
Jay is very humble. Another special moment was Michael's first bath. Mike was 24 hours old and we were still in the hospital. The nurse said we could give him a bath and Jay asked if he could do it. We were young and he had zero experience with babies, but Jay was so enthralled with his son that he wanted to be a part of everything! Even though he had no idea what he was doing, Jay jumped in with both feet and never looked back!
Jay is a diaper-changing, dish washing, take care of whatever you need help with kind of husband. He never complained if I left the stomach bug clean ups for him when the boys were little, or when the sneaker covered in dog poop greets him on the steps by the front door, or any number of gross tasks he let me dub as "dad jobs" over the years!
#4: It Does Not Insist On Its Own Way
Jay is the most selfless man I know. He works incredibly hard to provide for his family; financially, emotionally, and spiritually. He works like a maniac to get through his work day so that he can show up to every.single.home game and many away games for all of the kids. He drops kids off, picks kids up, all without complaining. He frequently inconveniences himself so that he can help me with a schedule jam!
With lots of kids comes lots of demands. When he finally gets a chance to sit after a long day or chill on a Sunday afternoon, the requests start pouring in. "Daddy, play legos with me." "Dad, can we play basketball?" "Dad, can we throw the football around?" "Dad, can you fix this?" "Dad, can you help me with my volleyball serve? etc., etc.! I see on his face how much he would love to just relax, but he always gets up and plays, fixes, and helps time and time again!
#5: It is Not Irritable or Resentful
Jay is not either of these...and he often has good reason to be. With all of the demands on his time and attention, life is often completely exhausting. With a big family, a full time job and a per diem job, Jay has lots of people pulling him in different directions!
I have to say that this verse most makes me think of Jay's relationship with Peter. Peter is severely autistic and can be quite challenging when we are out and about. Jay has always been the one to really take over with Peter to make sure he is safe. This is no easy task! Peter is very talented at pressing our buttons, too. Peter goes through phases of repeating things over and over or making different sounds or getting in your personal space just because he knows it drives us crazy. Peter pulls on your arms as you walk if there's something he wants to see, without telling you he wants to go in a different direction! Jay takes it all in stride and, because of his patience and love, Peter can join in many of our family outings and be part of the memory.
#6: It Does Not Rejoice in Wrongdoing, But Rejoices in the Truth
I wasn't quite sure how to approach this one so I'm going to blame it on sleep deprivation! Here's my take...
Jay has a deep faith that he loves to share with his family. Sarah and Jon especially like to get Jay started on his favorite subject...JPII...and watch him get all animated and passionate as he talks!
Most of our older kids are very grounded spiritually...and that's mostly because of Jay! Even the one that struggles a little has all the seeds planted and we're just waiting for God to do the growing:)
#7: It Bears All Things, Believes All Things,
Hopes All Things, Endures All Things
No matter what happens, we are a team. Jay and I balance each other out. When I'm overwhelmed, he steps in and helps. When he's overwhelmed, I encourage him and remind him what's important and worth our focus. When we struggle with a stage one of the kids is going through, we tag team. Kind of like wrestlers in a ring...."Had enough...tag my hand!" And we work together until the struggle is over.
Marriage is not always roses and chocolates, but I am blessed to have Jay as my better half!
Happy Anniversary! Love you:)