Ariel messaged Neil and I a belated anniversary picture she created for us today. Three days ago marked 17 years of being married to my sweetie. Can you believe it? 17 seems like so many years; yet it seems to have gone so fast and I truly do feel so young still!
I look at us here and wonder what we were thinking...
Like the 5 kids I was wanting became 9! Would I think my future self was CrAzY or blessed? Somedays I'm still in awe, like is this our life? Pinch me; it's too good to be true. Not that it's been easy or is easy. Because it's not! It's far from it - lol! Large family living is tough. Homeschooling is tough.
Like our new house that we wanted to build would become buying my brother-in-law's family house that HE grew up in? No brand new house where we get to pick out and design everything. Nope. Nada. God planted in some very important wisdom that came from my mother-in-law, "Do not consider Katie's salary into your house price. You know once you start having kids, she won't want to go back to work". She was right! And thank God, we listened!!! (and thank you, Jean, for speaking up!! You are a great mom!! Then and still today - we are SO blessed by you!). Our dream house that we were wanting to build became an older house that has been added onto once and renovated multiple times to accommodate our growing family. And it's SO close to our families whom we treasure so much!
Like would we have thought I'd quit working after less than a year of teaching. Even if I hadn't been in an accident in March and forced to quit my first year early, I wouldn't have gone back. Baby numero uno was on his way!!! And, my mother-in-law was right - I didn't want to go back to work. But, WORK is what I did and still do today... I run a household of 11 people, homeschool 7 of our 9 children, balance being a mom of teens, pre-teens, a toddler, a baby, and a few in-betweens. There's never much quiet to my job. There's always some place to run, something to do, someone who needs extra love and snuggles, and on and on. It's not a job that many brides dream about. Nothing that seems life-changing and world-altering. But, man-oh-man, is that stereotype SO wrong!! I am forming 9 souls for Christ to send out in this world. The 1+1 (+1 being Christ) = 11 !! We became a family of 11! That's great WORK I'd say. A Magnum Opus, if you know what I mean! ;)
And then I look at us here. Two smooching lovers (well, actually 4 smoochers - I had a double wedding with my sister!! They're pretty cute too, eh?). And, I think of my own kids... what will their future hold? Will they experience the beauty of Holy Matrimony? Holy Orders? Only God knows. Neil and I will continue doing our best to foster all vocations and trusting our children into His hands and the hands of Our Lady. And then to never never never EVER forget that we did our job. Our children do have free will. They may stray. They may make mistakes. And if they do, then Neil and I need to let go and trust even more.
++Thank you, Lord, for these last 17 blessed beyond all measure years married to my groom. Please continue to live in us and through us as we love each other and lead each other to Heaven.++