I know I owe you a post about my first visit with Dr. Jean and I will absolutely write that post. Yet today, on Ash Wednesday, I feel it's important to address the relationship that sustained me during all of my trials and tribulations with endometriosis.
When I was little my mom told me that I should give up biting my nails for Lent. Now I didn't really understand Lent at the time. I did not know when it began and I did not know when it ended. So when I gave up biting my nails for Lent I never started again because my mom never told me that my sacrifice was over. Since that time I don't think I have ever been so committed to one of my Lenten sacrifices. I have given up so many things: chocolate, ice cream, swear words. And I have even taken things on: working out, eating fruit, going to daily Mass. All of those commitments lasted only a short while or only when it was convenient for me. However, this year I want to remain diligent as this is probably the most important sacrifice I have made in many years. This year for Lent I am going to take something on. This year I am going to love my husband.
Please, don’t get me wrong, as I always love my husband. Yet ever since the baby has been born I certainly have not been focusing on my marriage the way I should. I'm not trying to make excuses, but my life has certainly been preoccupied with other things. In the last year I became a new mom and a working mom at that. I have struggled so greatly trying to find a balance for everything. Sometimes it feels like I can be succeeding as a mother, but failing as a teacher. And when I succeed as a teacher I fail as a mother. And where does my role in the home fit in? The cooking, cleaning, and errands fill up my other free time. Thus, my role as wife has certainly taken a backseat to all of the other roles I play.
I have heard the line that the most important thing a father can do for his child is to love its mother. Yet what about the mother loving the father? Isn't that just as important? I think it is. And today I commit to doing that. It isn't that I don't love Jonathan. I do, wholeheartedly and completely. But I seem to forget that during the mundane and everyday activities. Rather than spend quality time with one another we usually sit around and are lazy together. Most of our free time we use to watch television. Of course, that isn't all that we do. Sometimes we do laundry, sometimes we do dishes, or sometimes we pick up toys. Those are important things in the maintenance of a home, but not necessarily in the maintenance of a marriage.
Jonathan tells me all the time how much he loves me and how much he appreciates me. He reaffirms my role as a mother constantly, applauding each and every thing I do for our baby girl. He appreciates me and shares that with me. He sends me flowers to say he loves me or when he knows I have been having a hard time. Truly, Jonathan always lets me know that he is in love with me. And I know he is just as in love with our daughter, Kendall. He gets her up and ready to go to the babysitter everyday. He is loving, affectionate, and nurturing. Kendall adores him and simply lights up when he gets home from work. I am so incredibly lucky to have a man like that.
I wish I could say he was as lucky. I know how vital it is to feel loved, appreciated, and recognized. Yet over the past ten months I haven’t done that. My focus has been on our daughter, as it should be. Still, I want Jonathan to know that he has not been forgotten and has not been replaced. So for the next forty days I am going to do what I have not for the past 310 days – I am going to make a conscious effort to express the love that I ALWAYS feel. I will not just say how much I love him, but show him. I will be loving and affectionate. Rather than focus on the chores that need to be completed I will focus on fostering the relationship that has been developing the past eleven years. I will show Kendall how beautiful and fulfilling true love can be. And I will show Jonathan that despite my failure to show just how important and wonderful he is to me, it does not mean that I have forgotten.
Lent is the perfect time to reflect on our lives and see both our accomplishments and our shortcomings. What areas of my life have I been successful and what areas still could use some work? I hope that the next forty days prove to be fruitful not only in my relationship with God, as we prepare for Easter, but in my relationship with Jonathan as well.
Our wedding day
At a wedding this past summer