Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sharing the Prize

Having 4 kids, my mom has always liked to describe each one of her children using this little story...
If there were something on top of the cabinet that the kids wanted, this is what they'd do: Ronnie would go and tell all the neighbors about it and talk about how great it was. Justin would look at it, shrug his shoulders and say, "It's not worth it," and walk away. Laura would go to her daddy and plead for him to get it for her. And Becky, well Becky, she would stack every pot and pan on top of each other and climb up and get it before you ever knew she wanted it. 
Yep, that's me. The youngest of 4 and I'm the one who inherited the most independent, spunky DNA of the whole bunch. For this reason, I've often felt sorry for my mom.  She'd had 2 boys and then finally got her little girl: a very perfect, calm, sweet, mild and angelic little girl I might add.  Laura was their little cherry on top.  They were done....or so they thought.  Two years later, after adjusting to the shock of #4 on the way, I impatiently made my entrance into their world and it has never been quite the same.  Everything my sister was, and still is, I was opposite.  It's not necessarily a bad thing but it didn't make raising me a walk in the park either.
A quick glimpse into my childhood would reveal a child that had independence intricately woven into every inch of her DNA.  It would never dawn on me to ask for help because I could do it myself.  And, if I didn't like it, I didn't do it.  If I did like it, I did it...with or without help.  So, you can just imagine all the pitfalls I fell into blazing my own trail through life.
This independent mindset doesn't exactly gel well within a marriage; well, at least it doesn't in the early years.  Ten years of marriage has been a continual lesson on depending less and less on myself and more and more on my husband.  He quickly learned that he did not marry a woman who, after driving 10 hours by herself on the interstate, is going to call and let him know that she got to her destination safely.  I knew I was okay, so the thought to let someone else know never crossed my mind.  After many moments of calming down a worried husband, I began to better update him on my solo adventures.  And, VERY slowly, and many times by learning the hard way, I have become more considerate and allowed him into those self-sufficient pockets of my life.
Last night, God lovingly opened my eyes and allowed me to see how far I’ve come and how dependent I have become on this man.  I pulled into the driveway with the kids asleep in the car and parked next to his truck.  I love seeing his truck in our driveway because that means he’s home.  We see too many nights with him on the road because of his work so the sight of his truck guarantees the sight of him…except for last night.
We were coming home from dropping him off at the hospital. There has not been one day in our 12 years together that Jason has been in the hospital.  Other than a cold, an occasional 24 hour virus, a time or two with the flu and one ear infection, he’s pretty much had a clean bill of health.  But, a simple cut to his finger with scissors resulted in him being admitted to the hospital less than 36 hours later.   Walking inside, our house suddenly felt much emptier.  I couldn’t help but allow the dark thought of what life would be like without his presence to settle in my mind.   While entertaining those “What ifs??,” Mrs. Independent found herself in a very needy state of mind.
The truth is, I never want to know how to fix a computer problem, install software, defrag the harddrive (whatever that means) or run an anti-virus check.  Nor do I ever want to coach my boys in sports, edge the lawn, negotiate the sales price of a car, hassle with insurance quotes, set up our retirement funds, monitor our finances, hang our Christmas lights or refill the windshield wiper fluid in our cars.  Even more, I do not want to be the spiritual head of this household, the sole provider, the backbone of our family, the hero for our boys, the prince from our princess.  With the exception of becoming the prince, I could do all these things if I so desired.  The Lord knows that I’m hard-wired with enough independence and determination to give all these things a good try.  But, in all these things, and so many more, I have slowly, over the years, yielded authority over to my husband.  The funny thing is that you don’t realize much of your dependency on another person until the fear of losing them flashes right before your eyes, like it did mine tonight.
I was able to go and visit him after his surgery today. I tried to be the best nurse I could.  I helped him to the bathroom, put toothpaste on his toothbrush, squirted some cologne on him (just because I like the smell) and in the most humbling of moments, I put his deodorant on him.  I’m sure few married couples can say that they’ve shared this experience and, in that moment, I couldn’t dismiss the thought of how the two of us have never been more of a “one” than in that very second.  It was such a simple act but such a profound realization.
As I looked at him today, I could see the flecks of gray cropping up in his hair.  A quick glance in the mirror reveals the fine lines forming on various parts of my face.  While some would still consider us young, we are in the process of growing old together.  Our life, now and forever, is meant to be experienced together.  Never again do I want to stack the pots and pans and share the prize all by myself.  Instead, I am so thankful that I have a man, who, while he understands my need to still stack the pots and pans, shares the prize with me and appreciates it even more because he watched me work for it.  Even when the pots and pans come crashing down, and they sometimes do, he is still there, still proud of me, and ready to pick me back up.
I can easily say that marriage has been the hardest thing that I’ve ever done.  It has also been the most rewarding.  To surrender my own will at times has been a tough pill to swallow.  But, without doing so, I would never give this man, whom I love so much, the ability to be a man; to be my man.  I am totally dependent on this man and I’m happy to admit that.  Thank you, Lord, for loving him even more deeply than I do.  I pray that in acts both big and small, I can honor him in all that I do.
A helpful wife is a jewel for her husband.   Proverbs 12:4 (CEV)


  1. So sweet!!! Love reading your stories.

  2. It is pure joy to be your mother. Knowing that you inherited my independent streak does make me feel guilty however. Because of it, we both have scars from rushing headlong into various adventures. As a wife, I, too, had to learn not to run ahead of my husband, but instead, to walk beside him. I am grateful God blessed me with such wonderful children, including a daughter just like me.

  3. This is so inspiring. I too find myself stacking pots and pans. I often times don't even realize that I am doing it all by myself, when in fact there is help right there. There is the help of my wonderful husband and even better, the help of God. I have found it difficult to come to terms that they both love me know matter what and that they will be there to help me stack the pots and pans together once they have fallen. This makes a much stronger foundation from which to reach our goals in life.