Wednesday, August 7, 2013

35 years!

I joke that every time we had a baby, we moved. This certainly was the case from 1984 to 1988. In the spring of 1984, we left our beloved little house in Lake Worth and headed north with baby David. Our new home: a Girl Scout camp in the hills of West Virginia. The culture shock might have rocked me if not for the fact that we jumped into directing and managing the camp that summer. A camper died on the opening day of camp, we had numerous staff issues, oh, and I got pregnant.

One of the most endearing of Bill's traits is that he helps me to slow down, take a breath, and think about our situation. That August we packed David into our Mazda and took a road trip to Maine for two weeks. We needed a break after that crazy summer, and time to talk about our future. Another move came of it: Bill landed a job as a financial adviser and we moved to the northwest Ohio town of Defiance a week before Christmas and just a month before our son Dan was born.

That winter nearly stole my sanity. It was brutally cold and snowy. I didn't have a single friend. And no family. Bill was studying in the basement and driving to a distant town for training. Our house, near the historic Defiance fort grounds and public library, felt like a prison at times. Bill was so busy I'm not sure he realized the depth of my loneliness. But he has always, intentionally or not, left me much to my own devices emotionally, and I am the stronger for it.

One raw winter day as I left the library holding David's hand and bundling Dan inside my coat, I noticed another young mom heading to her car with two small girls. "Hi," I called out. "Do you go to story time?" We exchanged numbers and I invited Jean over to the house for coffee; she invited us to her farm north of town. It became a fun friendship.

In our kitchen in Defiance. Check out the maternity overalls I made!
Seriously, I have very few photos of Bill from this era.

Our three years in Defiance taught me that while marriage came first, I couldn't rely on my husband for my every need. If I wanted friends, I'd have to make them. If his job required long hours away from us for a time, I'd have to stay busy with the boys and be creative in breaking the boredom. While the boys napped, I curled up with parenting books by James Dobson to solve my current challenge: usually potty training or disciplining toddlers. The real blessing was that I focused on my job and got to know my boys thoroughly. I had no cell phone or computer to distract me. We cooked, read books, colored, played cars and trucks, visited parks, the library, and grocery shopped. Money was tight, so when the boys were in bed, Bill and I made a simple dinner for two and played board games on the porch for date night. I know I grumbled at times and lost my cool. But I knew the toddlers would grow and (hopefully!) so would Bill's business. Life is ever-changing, no doubt about it. A new season would come.

I also met God during that time through the solid teaching at First Church of Christ, now Defiance Christian. My spiritual sponge received a quenching and my life, my marriage, and role as a mother came into focus. How very thankful I am for that body of believers, and Bill, who insisted we go to church.

It was a hard season at times, no lie. But by the time our third son was on the way and our next move in the works, I had grown as a wife and mother, though still had a long way to go. As husband and wife, we were in this thing for the long haul!

"Yard work" in Defiance, 1987
Next: parenthood moves into high gear, and we move again: twice!


The Hallers said...

Love this! Sometimes as newlyweds, we (guilty, myself) think it is all about being together and doing things as a couple. Now, as a mom, I am learning that sometimes what makes your stronger as a couple and as parents is what you do independently. There is much to be learned as a woman/mother from other women/mom's at church or even libraries!
I spy a chalkboard easel in the overalls pic! HA!

Bonnie said...

Happy Anniversary! We trust Bill is doing well at this point. I'm enjoying reading about your early years. Never had heard much about how you two met or spent your early years. Blessings.