I’ve always felt like July was the longest month of the year. When I think of summer and sprinklers and watermelon and picnics, I just always picture them in July regardless of the spring perfection of June and the sultry heat of August. Naturally, being pregnant the entire month of July hasn’t helped this perception.
In an attempt to keep this a family blog, I’ll refrain from speaking too frankly about how strongly I prefer being un-pregnant, how tortuously long the second half of this pregnancy has been and also how sincerely uncomfortable I have felt. But–dear Internet– I’m in a better place now. After all, this is August, and I have less than a month to go. I’m pretty sure if I had blogged in July, it would have been uncomfortable reading since there’s just something a little passe when a pregnant woman whines about an integral part of the human experience that has only been done like a hundred billion times.
July was a beautiful month though. Due to some strange time-warp, we celebrated Violet’s fifth birthday. The little girl born with her eyes wide-open has changed from a tiny person who wore preemie clothes at birth, to a tall, athletic, charmer who fills up our house and any drawable surface with art, laughter, and silly faces. Between Violet’s height, coordination, and strength, and Henry’s fearless winner-takes-all attitude, the one-time whimsically sweet games of tackle time with Daddy, have changed to intensely focused challenges where cunning and self-preservation trump any idyllic picture of sprawling on your back in the grass while your sweet children gently tickle you.
July also marked our ten-year anniversary of holding hands. What? It’s a thing, okay? We had gone out on our first date in February of that year but we decided not to start dating until after summer. I’d like to say that our mature reason was so that we could really just get to know each other as friends, but the honest truth is that we wanted to work in the same department as daycamp counselors at Warm Beach Camp, and there was a pretty solid rule about not allowing couples to work in the same department. Fortunately, both of those things happened, and after a summer of working in ministry side-by-side in a truly platonic–okay, and this is the part where no one believes me, but honestly, when we started dating at the end of July, I remember hearing the rumor mill go in overdrive at the sight of us holding hands in public. “Did anyone else see AJ and Pearl HOLDING HANDS?!!”
Anyway, by the time we actually stated dating, we both knew we would be married. 14 months later, we were. Deciding to marry was a determined leap of faith made up of thoughtful consideration, and disregarding fear by replacing it with trust in God and relying on Him for wisdom. It sounds very unromantic to say that, but just as love is forged in sacrifice, late nights with sick kids, and seeing someone at their worst and best, so romance in its purest form is simply the soundtrack of two devoted hearts–not whirlwind infatuation and blinding passions. Pretty sure I’ll never get hired to be a producer on the Bachelor franchise.
Watching the curious shape of our two hands linking together ten years ago, I could never have hoped for or understood the beauty of marriage that I was to discover, or the providence of God’s choice for my spouse. I’ve found marriage to be a race of gratitude, where we strive to be swift to “overpay” a debt of love, and my husband, a joyful discovery.