Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: Learning to Love with Reckless Abandon: My messy, beautiful life   

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Learning to Love with Reckless Abandon: My messy, beautiful life


In life, there are some things that you know in your heart of hearts are a bad idea. Nobody even has to warn you. You can discern it all on your own. Red flags shoot up in your mind, and plead with you to steer clear. 

Like...perhaps...gas station sushi.

For a long time, marriage and children were like that for me. My proverbial gas station sushi. The thoughts both terrified and intrigued me... but mostly terrified.

I come from a long line of people who, for one reason or another, have trouble making relationships last. While in most cases, divorce might be the lesser of two evils, it is not without cost. Growing up in a broken home didn't just impact me, it shaped who I was, who I am now. Long ago, when I should have still been dreaming of prince charming and rocking plastic baby dolls, I swore off marriage and babies instead. I set my sights on college and the career world and scoffed at the idea of a family. In fact, I hardened my heart to the very idea. 

Eventually, a charming, young man swooped in and stole my heart anyways and I was forced to concede to at least one of those "nevers." 

But, even as I walked down the aisle, I knew I had still not given myself completely to him. I remained enshrouded in emotional armor and even as I vowed to pledge my life to him, I also secretly vowed to remain childless; lest our relationship ever crumple like so many before it and leave disaster in its wake. 

Years passed and through his unwavering love, attention, and commitment, that husband of mine chipped away at my armor. Slowly. Surely. Steadfastly.

Until one day, there was none left.

My soul was naked and vulnerable and bared. He had seen all the skeletons in my closet, dealt with every mood swing, and sorted through all my "baggage." When I tried to push him away, he pushed back.

He didn't run screaming. He dug in his heels and said,

"I'm here. 
I promised forever and I meant it.
I will never leave you."

And finally it just clicked. I could have happily ever after if I wanted it.
My husband was ready and willing to be everything I wanted and needed him to be...if I just let him.

Not long after I began to feel safe and enjoy the fruits of living in a truly authentic marriage, I caught baby fever. Bad. I was consumed by thoughts of little bonnets and teeny socks. The white picket fence and the tree with the rope swing hanging from it. I was ready for a family.

Despite years of my anti-baby sentiment, my husband happily obliged. Two beautiful, bouncing boys later, and I have finally learned what it truly means to love and be loved. To love without armor. To love without pretense. To love with my entire self.

To love with reckless abandon.



And yet sometimes, when nights with the babies are long, and tempers are short, that nagging fear sneaks back in and threatens to consume me. A few words spoken out of exhaustion or frustration snowball in my mind and we are suddenly in a "rough patch." I allow myself to think that our marriage is headed for that dark place and I question why I ever thought I was capable of making a marriage work. I tell myself I am defective. I panic.

And when I'm in that dark place, my husband puts his own frustration aside, and swoops in like always.....to remind me:

"I'm here. 
I promised forever and I meant it.
I will never leave you."

With every year that passes, my fear assuages a little. I am no longer held captive. Instead, I'm happily learning, and growing, and loving with reckless abandon.

5 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful. It must have been really hard to allow your defenses down like that. I think we all have stuff we struggle with, and we want to crawl back into our protective holes, but if we allow ourselves to believe in ourselves, we remember that anything is possible.

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    1. Indeed ! "We can do hard things." :)

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  2. What a beautiful piece. I love it! Thanks for letting me know about it.

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  3. Brought tears to my eyes. :)

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