We Will Make it Work.

I happen to be the visiting teacher of my former piano teacher. Tuesday, my companion and I paid her a visit, baring homemade chocolates and a shared relief for a brief break from a busy week, a chance to sit together and just talk. About family. About faith. About Christmas traditions.
About the rocky merging of family Christmas traditions during a newlywed's first Christmas. I laughingly told of how Bill and I had our first argument as a married couple about just that. He thought I had an impossible number of traditions to keep up with. I thought he had an impossibly few.

It was the good-spirited kind of argument. The kind you have while shaking your head, laughing. Most of our arguments are like that. Bill and I aren't fighters - which I am grateful for.

That was our first argument as a married couple, but it wasn't our first argument. It was the second.

The first was when we were engaged. Being engaged to Bill was wonderfully easy - just like being married to him is. Things with Bill were comfortable. Natural. That was a first for me - I liked to tell him that being with him felt as calm as being by myself, and he understood. That was another miracle of Bill - he understood me. Another first.

Yet there was this one day. I remember it so clearly - the way you remember a vivid nightmare. In surround sound and saturated color.

We were driving - leaving his house that he shared with roommates in Bellevue, driving down that long, tree-lined road toward I-405.

I remember that I was crying. I felt so desperate - so panicked and heart-wrung. I was suddenly so sure that it was impossible for us to marry. It wasn't for any change of heart or uneasy feeling about us - I had never been so sure of anything in my life. This wasn't cold feet. This was cold reality, chewing at my spine. We simply couldn't afford it.

Reality told me: You will marry, and then what? You want to have children - but that's impractical. You are the major source of income. Bill has to finish school. You can't quit your job to have children, there will be no money. You can't afford daycare (even if the idea of sending your newborn to strangers didn't make you flinch) *and* rent in this town on the money you earn. There's no solution. You're stuck.

No solution. Stuck.

That is how I felt.

Ever calm, Bill asked me what was wrong? "We can't afford to get married!" I blurted out.

Bill was quiet for a moment, then surprised me. "Are you saying you don't want to get married any more?"

"NO!" I wailed. What a horrible thought! I hated that I might have made him feel that way - that I was having doubts about us. Absolutely not. But..."No, I just mean we can't afford it."

Bill looked at me, puzzled.

"Afford what?"

Well - we hadn't had the kid discussion. At least, not in depth. We knew we wanted a family, knew there would be children, talked about what kind of parents we wanted to be - but he didn't know how I ached in my very bones to hold those children in my arms. How those spirits were in my constant thoughts. How I missed them, even though I had not met them, yet.

How, aside from Bill himself, there was nothing in this world that I wanted more.

For some reason, I was very shy of discussing this part of myself with him. I think I was worried it might come off as desperate. Might scare him. I didn't want to seem like I was just some biological timb-bomb when to me, this was something so important and so personal. Sacred, even.

So that night, after much fretting, he finally coaxed it out of me. He listened patiently, and with gentle understanding. But he was also firm against my fears.

He told me there was nothing to be afraid of. I wanted to be a Mother - it was obviously a big part of who I was. We would make it work.

I learned something of what real Faith means that night. And I learned something of what it means to really be a partnership. We were in this, together. The desires of my heart were the desires of his as well. They were righteous. Sure, we had no money, but who does?? That night, I got my first taste of what it would be like to be Bill's wife. We would be unstoppable. Nothing would be impossible. We would make it work.

And we did.

And we've been making it work ever since.


Charms said...

Beautiful post. I was just driving tonight thinking of all the presents i couldn't afford to buy this year and then I remembered how wonderful it is to have this precious family to buy for. As long as we have each other, there are ways to make it work. You and Bill are an inspiration. Merry Christmas, my friend.