I thought life was going to become more challenging as the years ticked on. And honestly, it has. However, it has challenged in the most unexpected ways. I was a exuberant youth, always seeking the next adventure or opportunity. By fourteen tender years old, I was certain I would be a world traveling missionary with books full of recorded happenings that my grandchildren would read with wonder. I am sure my family was perplexed and unsure when I made the decision to begin studying in-state to be a teacher. All the talk of adventure and exploration stopped as I traded it in for biology text books and daily lectures. I was thirty minutes from home, living in the dorms with a childhood friend. Looking back, I think this may have been the least adventurous option I had. After my first year of classes, I too was quite confused by my decision making. I started researching Youth with a Mission thinking I had to get away. I started questioning why I had decided to take classes close to home and stifle my dreams for adventure. I really still don’t know why I decided to take the path I took. Was I playing it safe? Did I feel like I needed to grow up too fast and be financially independent? I don’t regret my choices, but I do look back and wonder sometimes what my under developed brain was trying to accomplish. I will say however, that the choices that I made led me to a life far more full than I had ever dreamed.
As it does for many college students, my life changed drastically when I met a funny, charming, and handsome young man. We were both heavily involved in our campus ministry and quickly formed the same friend group. I was a baby freshmen, and he was a transferring junior from another college in-state. We fell for each other hard and fast. Our relationship with each other and with our friends brought many rich adventures. The kind that will be in our hearts and memories forever. We formed life long friendships, and the beginning of a life-time commitment to one another. We dated for two years before J popped the question (in the most unique and honestly, hilarious way…a story for another day). Nine months later we were married and skipped away into an oblivious love filled marriage where we would grow up together.
J finished school and was blessed with a full time position in ministry that provided housing and meals along with a pretty stellar job. He was the recreation director at a Baptist Camp near Colorado Springs, CO. I had worked there all through high school and college and I was so happy to stay there. It was a great environment in which to begin a marriage. It allowed me to finish my unadventurous biology degree and to continue schooling to become a CVT (certified veterinary technician). I finished school two years later and began working at a veterinary hospital in town. Our marriage grew as we figured out life gradually. Looking back, I can’t help but feel like we had the easiest introduction to married life. We had practically no bills and family very close by. We also had a second family in the camp community and an abundance of resources for a young married couple.
We were on the “five year family plan” as we called it. We would start having babies after five blissful years of newlywed love. During those years we camped, climbed mountains, traveled, stayed out too late, fostered friendships, and worked hard in our jobs (we were the definition of DINKS-dual income no kids). Then suddenly life took a big turn. God moved us out of ministry in a way that we still don’t fully understand. One day we lived and worked in ministry. Three weeks later, we lived in an apartment down the interstate and J took a retail job at the Ranch Supply Store. What was happening? There were tears, confusion, and feelings of betrayal. But, we clung to each other and to God’s promises for our life together.
We decided we needed a fresh start in a new town. Our five year plan turned into a four year family plan when we unexpectedly had news of a new little life growing inside my belly. We couldn’t have been more excited, but also terrified since we were so unsettled. Now was the time to move before we had a baby to add to the chaos. Northern Colorado had always appealed to us. We finished out the semester (I was coaching high school soccer at the time and needed to remain in that commitment) and packed up all we had. We settled in the heart of Fort Collins for about a year. We welcomed our new little man, M, to the family. I continued working and we hired a nanny. Life was busy and full. We bought our first home in a small suburb to the east of Fort Collins. A year after M arrived, we were again surprised with news of life. We are incredibly thankful that we don’t struggle with fertility, however we apparently have to be very cautious if we ever don’t want children. I continued working through my pregnancy. It was getting harder to manage home life and work life in the same limited 24 hours of day everyday.
I started talking to J about the idea of not going back to work when E arrived. All through our marriage he had been opposed to me not staying at work once we had children. Gradually he warmed up to the idea. I think it was the realization that childcare was going to require almost the entire sum of money I would be making each month.
And so the mundane began. Or so I thought. E was born slowly and yet safely on the last day of September in 2016. We still didn’t know how I would manage to stay home. We had built life on two incomes. But, we decided to trust God and feel it out during my maternity leave. Seven weeks later, J got an amazing raise at work and his employer started offering health insurance (one of the main reasons I was working was for benefits). It was my assurance that I indeed needed to step back from my career and care for our boys.
I thought I would be bored. Out of my mind bored. Here comes the mundane part of life where I chase children and wipe butts. I’ll be honest, I was right and wrong. I am bored. I miss work. And yet I am busy. I never want to go back to work. My days are long and mundane. But my days are filled with wonder, joy, and love. The pace is slower. My days fly by so quickly that I don’t even understand what happened. It’s a conundrum that no parent can explain. A humdrum life or wondrous moments. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world (maybe for a full eight hours of sleep and an uninterrupted shower…no seriously). Truly I wouldn’t give this up for anything.
As a wonder-eyed fourteen year old, I would have laughed at you for saying I would be the wife of an electrician, living in a quiet little town, raising two baby boys. That did not fit into my plans for books filled with daring life stories. I look back now and know why I chose what I chose all those years ago. It was so that I could be here. Right here, with this family and a heart more full than I could ever dream. I miss the crazy adventures sometimes, sure. But I would miss this so much more.