It may surprise some people to know that we were NOT sitting so pretty a decade ago.
Our introductory post lists some things that make us wondrously weird; but those things were not just handed to us. We have some built in characteristics that have helped us. We have had some desires and thoughts that have worked for us. We’ve kept a Biblical view of our lives which has helped us a lot. We still had to go through a lot to get here.
Ten years ago we were two years into our marriage and still working out the kinks. We did know that we wanted to follow Biblical principals; and that meant that the responsibility for the family fell to Mr. Wondrously Weird and that the support of Mr. Wondrously Weird fell to Mrs. Wondrously Weird… me.
I was 22 at the time and doing my best to be a supportive wife. I cleaned the house and did the laundry and made sure the house was stocked with edible things (even if I didn’t cook very well that that point.) Our budget had gotten pretty fancy. I had really learned to love Excel and had a spreadsheet that doubled as both registers for the accounts as well as a budget.
While Mr. WW worked second shift at a factory, I worked at the Credit Union helping others to dig out of debt by providing more debt. We rarely saw each other. I would sleep on the couch until Mr. WW got home from work but then we’d head to bed and I be up and gone in the morning before he ever woke up. But things wouldn’t be lasting that way for long.
Once you’ve been together two years, there’s lots of pressure from all around to have kids. And everyone knows the traditional family way: once you have kids the mom stays at home with them.
So I was working at socking away as much money as I could, while I could.
We had decided that we would try to have kids three years in. We had it carefully planned. At two years and 11 months my body had its own plan and got pregnant early. I got to tell Mr. WW that I was expecting the very day he had been rehearsing at work what to say to me to convince me that we should wait longer.
Those next few years were some of the craziest.
Mr. WW decided to start a huge remodeling project (since apparently a three bedroom home wasn’t big enough to house three people.)
He also, in an amazing feat of trust and perseverance, changed jobs to one that was more sustainable for raising a family. (If you haven’t read How did we get here Part 1—the first version—you really must. It’s Mr. WW’s version of events. It’s amazing.)
And I just practiced my “yes, dear”’s. Nothing made sense while we were going through it but I knew that my job was to be supportive and to grow a baby. So that’s what I did.
I was getting ready to adjust to being a mother and a stay at home one at that. I don’t think I fully realized how hard things would be.
Sure, I knew that taking care of the baby would be hard work but I had no clue how hard it would be to be at home all day and not have the purpose that paid work gives you. No challenging mental tasks. No paycheck. No friends. No anywhere else but home.
Mr. WW was often working 16 hour days. I was home with the baby and (supposed to be) loving it.
But the baby had colic and on top of it he didn’t even like to be held. He screamed and screamed and I felt like a total failure. Mr. WW had seemed to figure out the path that he was supposed to be on and was making great strides and I was treading water like Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.
Let that sink in. (Bah-dum-bum. Wow, am I hilarious.)
So I took on a job. It wasn’t much, just a few nights a week I made pizzas and subs at the local deli.
It was quite opposite of my husband. I wasn’t driven. I was just bored and did what I was told. My truth was not so amazing as having a drive and a passion. I found purpose in faithfulness and reliability.
You see, I remained faithful and reliable to Mr. WW and his purpose. I did my best to not complain about his schedule. I asked him nightly about work and was genuinely interested in his stories.
I remained faithful and reliable to our son. If he needed something, I was there. I learned how to wait out the crying spells. I learned how to rock him while touching him as little as possible. Sure he smiled and laughed at the dog and at his toys, but not at me; but no matter how discouraging things were, I was there.
I did the same at work. Was it a huge job? No. But I did it. I always made sure I went to work when scheduled and always went in if they were short when I could. And I didn’t do it for the paycheck. I didn’t do it because I was afraid that I’d lose my job if I didn’t. I just did it and did it as well as I could because I said I would.
It’s not all that sexy, does not seem all that amazing, but there are benefits. Let me tell you. Those benefits came in handy soon enough.
Two years in Mr. WW discovered that his plant was closing. It was a huge problem and change for us (seriously, if you haven’t read the first part yet, you really should.)
All of the sudden it looked like I would be providing the sole income for the family. It’s not possible to support a family on a deli girl’s 2 day a week paycheck.
But don’t forget: we skipped two years there.
You see, after the first year of simply being faithful reliable I was asked if I could manage the deli. Then, after the second year I was asked if I could manage the finances of both the deli and the convenience store.
When the time came, I could easily work full time hours. In fact, my hours had already been bumped up with hours from work that I brought home.
I brought my work home because I did not stop doing everything I could to be reliable and faithful to our son. I was home as often as I could be even though I had a son that clearly was not all that interested in me anyway.
But I so clearly remember the day it happened. He was about 18 months old and we were building with blocks. I had been used to giving him space. I stayed on the outside and built towers on my own that he would come and knock down when he was ready. I was stacking blocks when all the sudden he came up behind me and gave me a hug.
It was quick. It returned to normal in a flash. But I will never forget the day my eldest finally decided to trust me with his love.
And here was Mr. WW in a time of major transition. He had learned what it was like to use drive and passion to move forward but now there was nowhere forward to move on the current track. It had run out. The brakes had to be thrown and it was time to re-evaluate.
So I did what I always did. I supported him faithfully and reliably. I would not freak out. I would not demand that he go out there and do anything he wasn’t ready to do. So I sat and trusted him to make the right decision all the while letting him know in all the little ways I could that I would be behind the decision faithfully.
Was a scared? (Of course.) Did I think that it was possible that Mr. WW could make the wrong decision with what was really best for our lives? (It was 80% likely he’d make the wrong decision.) But no matter my feelings, I used my learned truth and just supported. He could do whatever he felt we needed to do and I would faithfully and reliably raise our son, work, and squeeze every last penny out of our budget with no complaints.
When it looked like college would be our only option (it takes out the possibility of making the wrong decision if there is only one option) I reassured him. I’d help. He would be fine and I would help him in any way I could.
We had both learned a lot along the way to get here and we were ready; but it looked like the next few years were going to be the scariest ones yet.
To be continued…
And it was continued here.
*Let it be known that our eldest son is now THE MOST touchy-feely “let-it-be-known,-I-love-you” boy I have ever known. He tells me he loves me at least twice a day. I know if he comes into the room because when he does he is rubbing my back. I have no clue what happened but that boy shows love, let me tell you. Interestingly he does not like anyone else to touch him (even a hand on a shoulder from a teacher is weird for him) but with me he no longer shies away from affection. In fact I have to bump up my natural affection levels just to keep up with him!