We celebrated your birthday last weekend. It was 1/26, and I’ve been pretty inconsistent here lately. I’ve also been not getting out of work until later everyday. Time has been tough to sneak posts in.
But since this is a birthday post, it should be about you and not about me and my whiny-ness.
Happy Birthday a few days late! I had a blast with you eating tacos and seeing Argo. Any chance we get to get out and have an actual babysitter that isn’t one of the grandparents is a high-falutin night.
I’m just thankful to have a fun hang with you. Relaxed. No threat of kids popping in. No guilt on grands because the high school junior is getting paid (well, I might add).
I love you and hope your 38th (or is it 29th?) year is wonderful!
At the beginning of the new year, we decided to start playing cards. Rummy, a family game called Spite and Malice, and a dice game we call, creatively, 6 Dice (although I think there’s a more common, universal name for it).
Well, we are a week or so in and we’re all tied up 2-2 on the rummy scoreboard.
Getting in Touch with My Roots
I grew up playing cards with my mom’s side of the family. I remember playing rummy with my Daddy Mac and Momma Mac. I remember lying on the floor of my grandparents’ cabin playing Concentration (you know, turning all the cards over and trying to match pairs).
We went through a long penny-poker phase. Six or more of us would sit around playing 5 card draw and stud and so forth. No Texas Hold’em back then.
We had so many fun conversations, and we ate pounds of chips and nuts and cookies. And drank gallons of sweat tea and variou shades of soda (no beer drinking back then).
It was a blast.
Putting Down New Roots
You and I are starting to pull our family away from screens and onto games and doing other things that are nominally electric. The closest to that is playing ‘Trouble’. The mechanics there are simply the pushing of that little bubble in the middle of the board.
You seem determined–and I need to help you lead out in this–to make sure we don’t become a bunch of people sitting and staring separately at screens. It’s trite and over-said these days, but it bears mentioning. You and I can get sucked into the vortex of the retina display (well, yours with your iPad while I slum it with my Kindle).
Goofing off over a game of cards does my soul a world of good. I’m glad you brought it up. I’m glad we bought some brand new Bicycles.
Now, I need to shore up my skill and start showing you how to play the game, lady.
I’m not sure if we’re another year wiser. But we are embarking on a new year. New years always feel like fresh starts. At least for the first week.
My hopes for us this year:
- That I communicate better with you: I struggle with wanting to protect you from my own emotional highs and lows–especially anything that might anger, scare, or otherwise cause you anxiety. I need to realize I’m your husband. We need me to be better at this. If you respond in any of those ways, then I need to suck it up and deal with it. If learning to have better reactions to things is an area where you need to learn, then I’m doing you a disservice by hedging.
- That I pour my creativity into you: We fellows can sometimes use our creativity at work and with projects. A lot of times, these things are tangible and easy. My desire is for you to know that I spend my mental and emotional energy on romancing and loving you. You deserve that from me. And I want to give it to you. When I’m doing it, I feel so alive.
- That we have fun together without the TV: Like a bunch of other Americans, we tend to love the couch and other things with screens. You started our card games right before the new year. I look forward to that. I look forward to figuring out other things to do. This will involve the aforementioned creativity.
- That we grow spiritually together: I’ve always wanted to be a better spiritual leader. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I choose not to because I don’t want to be confronted with having to maintain spiritual leadership. Leadership doesn’t start and stop with a quick devotional and prayer time. I need to lead our home in encouraging character–starting with myself. I’m sorry where I’ve been lazy here.
- That we get out of debt: This might require some major sacrifices. We might need to make them. We might need to drop cable. We might need to reconsider putting our children in private pre-K. We might need to eat more beans and rice. At the very least, we need to keep track of where the money is going. We need to be content with what we have. As you said in your goals for the year, we don’t need to buy things to make each other feel good (or better).
- That we go easy on ourselves in the parenting department: We both stress here. May we set boundaries, enforce the best we can, do our best not to frustrate our kids unnecessarily. We also need to be strong for each other when needed. Sometimes, you’re overly frustrated, sometimes I am. We need to be quick to take over.
Mostly, sweetie, I want to get better at giving you what I’m called to as a husband. I take pleasure in that. My prayer is against any complacency in me. I can get lazy. I can get frustrated.
Above all, I want to make you feel like the most precious being alive. My responsibility isn’t your self-esteem or your psyche. But it is to love you.