And it wasn't just the help I missed- though sometimes that seems to be the most glaring quality I'm in need of when I have three little ones and only one set of hands. An ironic thought struck me the other day when I was thinking about how you normally tire of someone's company after a certain, "proper" amount of time, but not your mate. I mean, of course most people need time to themselves once in awhile (some more than others), but on the whole you don't find yourself thinking, "okay, it's been a couple months now- we need to spend a weekend away from each other." Now don't go thinking of all the examples you can to trash my ironic thought. I'm saying as gently as possible, without launching into a treatise on marriage, normally.
But, back to what I missed. I certainly was missing him when I got home from dinner at a friend's house one evening, thinking it would be a quick-to-bed night because it was late and they'd all played hard. But of course it wasn't. Riley was sobbing about having to go to the bathroom because "it WON'T come!" and he promised me that even if he stood there all night and all the next day, "it would NEVER come!" Meanwhile, Sadie was screaming her head off in bed, clearly overtired and therefore having trouble falling asleep- another thing I find ironic. Ari was peeling off clothes- but only because he wanted to put his basketball jersey on and run a couple sprint sets in our living room before bed- but he couldn't find his "jewsey" because it was being washed. Finally, the issues began resolving. Riley eventually told me he peed in a bush outside our friend's apt. before coming home. Wish he would have mentioned that earlier before I launched into the whole power struggle. I picked Sadie up and rocked her for a minute before her eyes gratefully closed. Ari seemed to get it when I sat his pudgy little naked body down and explained it was pajama-time, not calisthenics-time. Though he needs it.
I'm off track again. Maybe I really did just miss the help.
But truly, outside of all those moments when simply another set of arms and another authoritative voice would have been enough, I found myself once again realizing all the things God has so graciously (and I do mean- without merit, giving me what I do not deserve) given me in the husband he has drugged into marrying me. Just kidding. The calming influence, the stimulating conversation, the probing questions, the challenging force, the willingness to think hard and talk when it's scary, the hilarity, the laughs, and so much more... I just don't want to embarrass him.
It's funny how, with all this "dependent" talk- I can, at the same time, want to be thought of as so strong, independent, self-made. I went out to coffee the other day with a new friend and even though beforehand I consciously warned myself against it, I still found myself feeling like a loser afterwards because I felt like I had been a lame conversationalist... possibly even embarrassing. There's the social awkwardness rearing its ugly head again. But, as this "loser" feeling continued to follow me around the rest of the day and into the next, I started trying to uncover what it was that was really bothering me. It became clear that once again I had set out to present myself as this intelligent, wise, and capable mother of three who had not been swallowed up by my children. When I realized I had failed to present this idea of a woman, because I had simply come across as what I am, I was disappointed, and pretty bummed.
Today I read a quote by Martin Luther in Miroslav Volf's "Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace." They were the last words of a man who had spent his life struggling through and then articulating and fighting for some of the most important truths of the Christian faith. He said, "We are beggars-- that is true." To understand the full context of what he was saying and what Volf was quoting him for- definitely read the book. As I thought about the gratefulness I felt for the return of my husband and all my neediness of him, and the continual struggle I have to be viewed as having little need in the area of intelligence or got-it-togetherness, I was struck by this quote. Beggars before One person. Not self-made, not able to make anything of myself at all, but because of the Person I stand before, this is the "height of human dignity," the very best place I can be.