Saturday, February 09, 2013

I Had No Idea

Eleven years ago I stood at an altar and made holy vows to the man I love. Having attended numerous weddings since that day, I now realize I had no idea what we were really promising.

Back then, love came as a gushing feeling that kept me up grinning at night. Now it is a warm place inside that wraps me up and allows me to rest peacefully. But above all else it was a promise, come what may. Some days I fail to show a glimmer of that all conquering love I once pledged. It is then that I am thankful my husband meant his promise too. Grateful for grace and new beginnings, we recommit and start again.

Eleven years ago, "for better or for worse" was all set in a future that was only in our imaginations. We were not particularly young (27 & 31), but were in a transitional place of life, still in Atlanta for residency with plans to move to Virginia for a fellowship. We had no idea where we'd eventually land. Our plans included 2-3 children each 2 1/2 years apart--like clockwork. You get to plan things like fertility, right?

Surely the work hours would be shorter once in 'real' practice. Apparently, you also have control over things like when people get sick (only 9a-5p Monday-Friday) in your imagination.

There were many themes that never occurred to us that have been part of the journey since. Infertility. Life threatening illness. Triplets. Complex decisions. Losing friends to cancer. People divorcing only a decade after we'd stood with them as they made their own vows.
And it's only been 11 years.

But you know what else we didn't comprehend?
That bonds really can grow deeper with age.
That the butterfly in the stomach feeling isn't the height of love, it is merely the initial launch.
That long term commitment meant a million tiny decisions to believe the best of one another and to always be part of the same team.
That the only kind of fighting that works is when you are fighting for each other, not against.
That saying yes that afternoon was just the first of a lifetime of choosing each other.

Last night he solidified why I would choose him all over again. It was the Daddy Daughter Dance--an event that has become very important to our sweet K. Usually quite the tomboy, she takes great joy in selecting a dress and thinking about her hair. And this year, her Daddy was on call.

With only 10 minutes to spare, he dashed in the house at 6:20, phone still firmly attached to his ear handling consults. With me impatiently nipping at his heels (prompting an apology later), he changed quickly from scrubs to suit and shaved again. As K beamed, they set off for their night together.

An hour later he texted me. There was a patient on their way in to the ER with a gunshot wound. K had been handed off to an understanding partner of his who also had little girls at the dance. I sighed, but understood and knew our girl, who is already well versed in this lifestyle, likely did too.

Thirty minutes later, another text. On the way in to the hospital he made a decision. With a phone call to his senior partner, whose 'little girls' are now in their 20s, the patient was in excellent hands. He was on his way back to the dance. Another Daddy texted me this picture.

That's definitely the man I married 11 years ago. Choosing love. Choosing tenderness. Even when it's not convenient. This is what love does.


Sisters said...

What a sweet tribut to your marriage. And that he went back to the dance, we'll I reared up. Sweetness!

Love Being A Nonny said...

Your K will have memories of her dance nights with dad for a long, long time!!! Precious!

Anonymous said...

Tearing up over here. How sweet and something she will always remember!

Ashley Gray said...

I'm a long time lurker and a newlywed ( celebrated 5 months yesterday!) I love your posts, especially about marriage and family. I almost teared up when I saw the last picture and that he came back. Thank you for being so real and honest.

The McBrayer family said...

tears. precious.

lindley said...

I just got all teary reading your post! Glad to see I'm not the only one touched by that sweet decision! I've been a long time reader, but maybe only commented once or twice--just want you to know I am thankful for your words and metaphors pointing everyone to Christ! :)

The Niemeyer Nest said...

Another teary reader! What precious memories for all of you.

Peter and Nancy said...

Congratulations on 11 years together -- what a beautiful perspective on long-lasting love.

RobinVZ said...

let me wipe the tears from my screen so I can say.... sweet sweet man. He is setting the bar high for her future groom. Job well done, dad.

Lisa said...

I am also teary! My young lady is now almost 13 and had her last school father/daughter dance two years ago. I was blessed to be a PTA volunteer at two of her dances and fell in love afresh with my sweet husband, who "doesn't dance" but certainly WAS dancing with our daughter. What a priceless time for our daughers and their daddies (and us,too, from the sidelines!)