Hi, Husband

One of my dearest friends has a way of addressing people in the most ordinary of ways, but she somehow makes you feel entirely special and loved. When I call her, she often answers with a sweeping, “Hi, my beautiful friend!” Doesn’t take much to wonder why we’ve been friends for so long.

She and I were having dinner together at her house one evening a couple of years ago, and her husband came home from the gym. They had just recently been married, the first of our close-knit group of friends. Before he reached the dining room she called out, “Hello, husband!” in a lilting sing-song voice.  It was a simple greeting, but I remember being struck for the first time at what an intimate title “husband” or “wife” could be. She made a commonplace term sound completely endearing, a title reserved for the one precious person you chose to spend your days with. I loved it, and have been excited ever since to be able to use that same greeting.

I got married two weeks ago.

It was a lovely day, slightly overcast and breezy in the morning giving way to sun in the afternoon. My maid of honor (the wonder friend mentioned above) scooped me up in the morning for our day of relaxing and preparation. My Dad made us turkey sandwiches for lunch, my sister did our make-up, our musicians practiced in the backyard all afternoon. As the day wore on, it started to sink in what was coming and what I was about to do. My belly started doing flips, my hands started to get shaky, and I could feel tears quelling up at every mention of the evenings ceremony. It wasn’t fear, it wasn’t second thoughts, it wasn’t anything except realizing the weight of what I was about to commit to. It felt huge and simple all at the same time. It was opening up to a lifetime of greeting my sweet man home by saying, “Hi, husband.”

“Where you love somebody a whole lot, and you know that person loves you, that’s the most beautiful place in the whole world.”

– Excerpt from The Most Beautiful Place in the World by Ann Cameron

Truthfully, nothing tremendous has changed in our day-to-day since becoming husband and wife. We also didn’t enter into this marriage riding a frothy wave of lust and romance. Our kitchen is torn up and awaiting renovation, our garden is overgrown with weeds, I’m 6 1/2 months pregnant, and we both went back to work the Monday after the wedding.

Love is a reminder to bring your bike lock key to the farmer's market.

Love is a reminder to bring your bike lock key to the farmer’s market.

But we’ve been through enough together to know that what sustains us are kind words, generous gestures, and the conscious choice to be loving to each other. Everyday. We’ve also been through enough together to know that this whole relationship thing takes work, and there will be days when we won’t feel like being loving. We have done that work to get to where we are today, and I can only imagine what that work will look like in the years to come. But for now, for today, for this season in my life; the most beautiful place in the world happens to have a torn up kitchen and an overgrown garden.

Hi, Husband.

I love you.

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The Best Laid Plans

” Once we’ve thrown off our habitual paths, we think all is lost; but it’s only here that the new and the good begins.”

-Leo Tolstoy

My initial interpretation of this quote was “once we’re thrown off our habitual paths…” I took it to mean something much more visceral, like an outside force coming in and giving us a hearty shove off of our old rusty rails. Somehow, this interpretation made more sense to me and gave me a stronger comfort because it does, after all, promise the beginning of something new and good.

Happiness

Turns out, sometimes we really are the ones who throw off our own habitual paths: we take on a new job, we let go of a stagnant friendship, we start a meditation practice, we get off Facebook, we move across the country for love, and sometimes we just clean out our closets or go and get a haircut. We make changes in our lives to feel open and new and raw and fresh and alive. Along with the change comes inevitable vulnerability and maybe a bit of fear, but it all feels damn good and it’s all entirely necessary.

Well, it also turns out that sometimes we get knocked right off our habitual paths and we have no say in the matter: we get laid off, our loved ones die unexpectedly, we become allergic to foods, our dream grant gets funded, we meet our partner while waiting in line for a taco. At the core of it, these changes will also likely make us feel open and new and raw and fresh and alive, but the vulnerability usually hits us first and the fear is probably what we feel the strongest.

In both instances, the new and the good eventually makes it’s way to us.

I found out in early February that I’ll be having a baby in October. I found out a couple of weeks ago that the baby is a boy. I found out this weekend that he likes to wiggle and dance just as I’m ready to fall asleep.

Let’s just say that finding out this big news shoved me hard off my habitual path.

This isn’t what I had planned for myself. Nope, not at all. I wanted to be a carefree bride, go on a honeymoon somewhere peaceful, run a few more marathons, start teaching yoga classes, fix up our house, turn 30…

But those were all my own plans, and it seems as though those plans didn’t align with what was ultimately meant for me. It looks like I’ll be a bride with quite a bit on her mind (we’re getting married at the end of June), a honeymoon is being replaced with home fix-ups (at least that part will happen!), my due date lands exactly on the day of the next marathon I had hoped to run, and I’m still a couple of years shy of 30.

I’ve been struggling to not feel overwhelmed by all of this. I’ve been working hard to remind myself daily that the only thing that’s consistent in life is that it changes. That’s what makes it rich, right? But as much as I would like to be brave and strong as I face my new path, there are times when I get so scared or so mad or so disappointed that I just crumple into an inconsolable mess of sobbing. It’s not pretty, and I’m not entirely proud of it, but it’s the truth.

I spent the evening with a friend of mine who recently gave birth to a lovely baby girl. I watched my friend nurse, soothe, maneuver, bathe, and console her daughter and I thought to myself, I just don’t think I can do all of that. And it’s becoming clear to me that my habitual path has been full of thoughts just like this; ugly thoughts that leave me without much courage, strength, or belief in myself.

So maybe I needed to get shoved off that path. Maybe I needed to get placed directly into a role that I would have fearfully talked my way out of if left to my own devices. I’m getting the sense that life seems to have more confidence in me and my capabilities than I have in myself, and is offering me an opportunity to shine in a new light.

I’ve been holding onto this news for all these months for a number of reasons. Partly because I needed to let it sink in before sharing it with the wider world, and partly because I am still a bit embarrassed about getting pregnant “out-of-order” in the traditional sense.

Another reason I’ve been hesitant to share is because I know how badly some women and their partners want babies. I am sensitive to the fact that it can be an immensely painful process for couples who struggle to conceive, and that it can be crushing and heartbreaking to miscarry. I realize these things, and I hesitated to share the entirety of my feelings towards this news because I didn’t want this post to seem insensitive to the women who are in the throes of conception challenges. To all the ladies who read this and are aching for babies: please know that I love you and that it’s my hope that in sharing my truth, we can see each other’s side of the track a bit better.

We are all trying to get to our very best paths in life, and we all get knocked off our course in different ways.

We are all in this together.

So, whether your path is fresh or habitual, whether you have thrown off your path or you yourself have been thrown, let’s all start opening up to see the new and the good.

I’m trying. Everyday. Join me?

When has life thrown you a curve ball? How did you respond? How did things turn out?

And Now We Begin

Last Christmas, my Mom and Dad presented me with a wonderful new camera. The gift came with encouragement to “start working on that blog of yours!” Here I am at the beginning of the following December, just now making an honest daughter of myself by writing the first post.

The truth is: I’ve been really scared to do this. A messy little mix of intimidation, self-doubt, and procrastination have kept me from being here, sharing what I’ve got with you.

Self-doubt and procrastination. So appealing, right?

I wanted to start this blog because I am attracted to the notion that life is a slow and steady accumulation of the big and small things we do each day. I like to think that life doesn’t necessarily get all of it’s richness from the grand and splashy moments; but rather the softer, quieter, in-between times.

I am also attracted to the generosity of other bloggers who share their ideas, adventures, worries, and triumphs with their readers. The bloggers I love most remind me that it’s cool to love being in the kitchen more than out on the town, that it’s awesome to take Sunday afternoon naps, and they help affirm that going out for run and making a batch of homemade granola equals a knockout day.

I’m still scared, but I’m also ready to join the leagues of  bloggers out there documenting and making sense of their lives one post at a time. Thanks so much for joining me, and I sincerely hope you’ll stick with me as I foray into this new space.

Let me know what you think. Is it silly to be nervous about starting a project like a blog? What do think about life being a collection of daily routines and moments? Leave me a comment below and we’ll chat!

big hug,

Katie

p.s. I’ll start putting that camera to good use soon. One thing at a time. Baby steps.