This past weekend Matthew and I celebrated our FIVE year anniversary. For some reason, I have just really felt like five years was one of the big ones- I feel like this is a really good year to celebrate, like five is monumental! Eli was not in a smiling mood, but we figured it would just remind us of this year when being 2 1/2 is a little dramatic sometimes. :)
Marriage is wonderful and wonderfully hard. It's a very refining relationship, and each year we get better at communicating with one another and grow closer to God through our refining process. I knew I picked a good one before we got married, but when the Bible says "becoming one" I didn't really know the depth of what that meant. Now, I'm learning what that means more and more.
Right after we got married, Matthew got this job opportunity in Knoxville and we've been away from our married friends and our family for the duration of our marriage. This has been hard at times, but it's also been really good for our marriage. We have each other here. If we're mad, we give each other space, but there's no running to family or friends to complain or seek solace. We forgive and forget and kiss and make up. We do most of our parenting alone without lots of help, and we spend most of our quality and free time together. It's not always what we thought we wanted, but it has been very good for us and our marriage. Matthew is a good husband, and a much better listener than I am. He openly listens to my heart and thoughts and if need be, he will reflect on his actions and change to better our relationship. He is way more affectionate than I'll ever be, and I always feel loved by him. His personality is such a perfect balance for mine, that I really see how God thought we would be a good match for one another. I feel like no one really knows what marriage is like at the altar, and maybe that's good, b/c some might not get married. However, God knows how we will shape and mold one another and I know God put us two together. I can't wait for many many more years with my groom!
This same weekend, Matthew pretended like we were just going to go out to our favorite and usual sushi spot, Nama, which we've done every year since we've been married. We actually got in a tiff b/c he said he was taking care of everything and then didn't get a babysitter. I was busy lecturing about how I always have to plan and how I want him to be more thoughtful with his plans, and he just nodded and agreed with me while he texted on his phone. Hmmmm. My phone dinged with an email, and as I went inside to be annoyed, I saw that he sent me an email detailing a weekend itinerary of a get away with just the two of us. Insert my foot in mouth. We drove in to Franklin, dropped Eli with his grandparents, where I had to give myself a pep-talk about letting go, and then we headed down to Birmingham, AL where he had booked a historic hotel and reservations at one of the best restaurants in the southeast. We love to try new foods, and we fine dined that night- heirloom tomato salad with local goat cheese, crab claws with ginger aoli sauce, scallops, and duck! It was delicious! We woke up the next morning, walked around the five points area, had coffee and breakfast, and headed to Huntsville for a quick visit and lunch with my brother and sister-in-law. We eventually made our way back to Franklin, where Eli was busy being spoiled rotten, and we celebrated Leah's birthday and Father's Day the next morning before heading back to Knoxville. Fast weekend but full of celebrations!
When we got home that afternoon, we took some quick pics to remember that weekend and Matth's third father's day. I think my husband would be the first to admit that being a daddy didn't just come naturally as soon as Eli was born. He felt pretty useless in the beginning and unsure of what his role was with such a tiny newborn. He knew I was responsible for most of Eli's needs, and didn't really know where to step in. We had to really learn how we could both parent and what responsibilities would be good for each parent to take on. That's not to say he didn't love his son right away; he definitely did. He just wasn't confident in what his role was yet. Now though, there is a HUGE difference in the role Matth plays in Eli's life. He does bath time and bed time most every night, and loves getting out in the yard or the floor and playing with Eli. He knows how important his role is in Eli's life, and he really works hard to emulate the type of father his own father was to him. And a huge bonus, when we met, Matth only wanted 2-3 kids, and soley b/c he thinks being a daddy to Eli is so stinkin' great, he has bumped his range up to 4, maybe 5. I'm working on 6. :) There is so much more I could say about what a good husband and daddy Matth is; I am a lucky lucky girl to have such a hard workin', wife lovin', baby playin' man in my life!!
We had our own Father's Day celebration that night with daddy's choice: pizza and sweetwater. I gave him his gifts, which he really enjoyed. Two books we've been wanting to read that really focus on the role of being parents to the fatherless: Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns and The Red Letters by Tom Davis. I also got him a special gift that he seemed pretty excited about. I heard this idea on Focus on the Family radio: I got him a black moleskin journal and told him the idea was to let this be a journal of letters to Eli. He could write his annual birthday letters to Eli in there, and include special days between the two of them, special verses he prays over Eli, and other quotes or thoughts he has for his son. Matth thought it would be neat to collect these journals and give them to Eli as a gift for his wedding. (I informed him that prob won't happen until Eli's 35 since he'll be living with his mama until then :))
This way, Eli will have journals of memories, letters, scripture, quotes, etc. that will be a precious keepsake for Eli when he gets older and becomes and husband and father himself. I plan to do the same and we will get journals for each of our children. I loved this idea when I heard it on the radio, and hope we keep this up for the sweet memories they will make! Hope y'all celebrated the husbands and fathers in your lives!