October 30, 2012

On Venus Fly Traps



One night last week my feelings were in a wonk.

If I’m keeping it real on the blog, then I need to tell you people that I have been struggling with how to deal with Bryon’s ex-wife a bit. [I think that's only natural for remarried people - but there is no instruction manual.] In general, I understand that she is entitled to her own way of doing things and I respect the fact that she gave birth to my stepdaughter. 

But I have certain expectations of behavior that I’m not ashamed to hold people to - and yes, I do so knowing that not everyone will honor the same behaviors that I do. I am very naive and end up very disappointed sometimes. In general, I expect people to be honest, ethical, considerate, and respectful. When we haven't been treated that way, my feelings are beyond hurt and my hide beyond chapped. 

The fact that Bryon takes the high road and (mostly) ignores it is a testament to his faith and his strength of character. But not me. Peeps, I am weak. I struggle like crazy and take it all personally. I pray for my relationship with her on a daily basis. This hits me right in the heart. I have been nothing but kind, but I wish I could lock her in a closet full of venus fly traps some days. There, I said it. I'm not proud of it, either. And if she’s reading this, well… she’s probably guessed this by now. Maybe one day, things will improve. 

Regardless, I will keep on loving her daughter. I will keep on parenting her the same as I do my own, full of Jesus and moral lessons and discipline and encouragement. Even if it is not appreciated. Even if it hurts my feelings to do it - because Hayley is worth all of me.  

So I was in a wonk because of this. I’m telling you why because, Peeps, it was a big wonk. And I try to keep it real on the blog.

I sat at dinner with pinkish eyes and all quiet. Bryon KNEW my heart needed him because of the quiet. When I am quiet, it’s an omen. A very, very bad sign.

After the dishes were done and the kids put to bed, he reached for my hand. He led me to the love seat and sat me down beside him. Then he curled himself around me and breathed on my neck. My heartbeat slowed down and some tears fell out, but mostly, I was okay again. He flung his leg over me and then started touching my fingers.

One by one, he drew the length of each of the fingers on my left hand. “You have the longest fingers I have ever seen. How can you not palm a basketball?”

Not the most romantic compliment I've heard from him, but that’s not really what I was thinking anyway. I loved that he stopped everything he was doing to check on me. To tune into what I was needing and to study me. To not be mad at me for having hurt feelings about something he cannot control. He gently picked up my hand and held it in his. He compared each of his knuckles to mine, one by one. His hands are so big and strong that they dwarf mine overall. However, he was right: my fingers are longer than his. Then he laid his head on my shoulder, kissed my neck and nuzzled some more.

Some more tears fell out. Dang it.

And then he traced my ear. He slowly wrapped the baby hairs around my ear and pushed my hair out of the way. He traced the top, and then felt his own ear to compare. He smiled a small smile. And then he traced the back of my ear and felt his own again. “And you have the smallest ears,” he said.

He was studying me on that night. Right there, loving on me on the love seat. Captivated by me.

It wasn't a lot; it wasn't grandiose. It was EVERYTHING I needed on that night. It put me back together to watch him studying me. It reminded me so much of when we were brand new - gosh, almost 3 years ago now.  I reminded me why I loved him and why I knew how much he loved me. And suddenly it didn’t matter that his ex-wife didn’t agree with how we run our family or that she should get a venus fly trap for Christmas. He is the dad in our house and I am the mom. Of all 4 of our children. We are solid and strong in the Lord.

And that matters more than ex people.

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