Chronicles of Sadie

Family Treasures

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Today is a special day because Laura and I are celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary. Whew, now we’re starting to get up there a bit! One year? Peanuts. Four years? A piece of cake. Seven years? Well, you are out of the food groups and sure it’s a fine, biblical number, but still nothing compared to nine.

Okay okay, so obviously I jest. The reality check of my parents’ upcoming fortieth anniversary brings me down to earth. Yet nine years still is not chump change in relational terms. Sometimes I think about those crazy guys and girls back in Genesis who lived for like eight or nine hundred years and got married when they were ten or eleven. Are you doing the math here? Their marriages lasted literally hundreds of years while these days, couples seem to struggle to make it hundreds of days.

All that being said, I’m no Methuselah and my years of marriage haven’t yet hit the hundreds mark—not yet anyway. What has hit the hundreds are the adventures I’ve had with my sweetheart. Scratch that, try millions of adventures. From the alluring aroma of her perfume on our first date (it was called Poison and it still puts me under her spell,) to the ravishing beauty she displayed on our wedding day, to our current morning meetings over coffee in the kitchen as Sadie scurries about in her morning joyful state of play, and the countless moments in between, these past nine years have softened me, sharpened me, instructed me, humbled me, thrilled me, and challenged me. But at every turn, they have enriched me. She has enriched me.

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Wedding anniversaries take on a different shade from the vantage point of parenthood. Little Sadie has shifted the paradigm of our relationship. As these reflections express, Sadie has changed every aspect life from eating out at restaurants to riding in the car. These days, when Laura and I cuddle up together on the couch, it is usually to watch our little princess play with her mountain of toys in the living room. It’s our favorite pastime, but it’s a far cry from the days of dating or marriage without the joys of children. I only mean that things are different.

But hey, different doesn’t mean bad! In our case, Sadie has brought another level of joy to marriage. Again, I’m no “superhusband” or anything. Sometimes Sadie makes marriage downright complicated. A night out with the wife used to happen on a whim, but now requires extensive preparation including the securing of a brave babysitter, the preparation and laying out of appropriate food and drink items, the choosing and laying out of diapers and clothes, the printing of schedule, emergency numbers, and procedures, the finding of the phone number for the anonymous babysitters’ emotional help hotline, a letter from the White House, and a lengthy goodbye to a sometimes teary-eyed princess who takes great offense at being left out of the date in question.

Then there’s the fact that our dinner conversation on said “hot date” usually revolves around what’s going on at home with the munchkin. Who knew that our romantic talk would one day include spit up and poopy diapers? And who can overlook the fact that because our schedule is so routinized due to its alignment with Sadie’s schedule that we begin getting sleepy ourselves around 8:30 pm. At least it’s a good excuse for some Starbuck’s therapy.

That’s when you stop and examine the life that once was versus the life that now is.

Nine years of marriage have taken Laura and I through a host of different seasons. I don’t think I would choose the adjective “easy” to describe any of them. Some have been “easier” than others, but I think that “easy” stopped being the goal a long time ago. I’ve discovered that easy doesn’t usually produce a rewarding existence. Early on in marriage, I began to realize that avoiding the argument might be the easy way sometimes (you know the one I’m talking about—the one about that issue so crucial to your heart,), but avoidance is not the best way. That’s right! Dealing with the crucial matters, even if they involve uncomfortable conversations, can lead to rewards unrealized to those unwilling to stray from the easy way.

So now with the Driver-Trifecta in play (that would be the three of us), the journey has become three-times as exciting and probably thirty times as unpredictable.  Before Sadie, I usually didn’t have to change my dress shirt four times before leaving the house due to errant projectiles soiling them in nastiness. I didn’t worry about closing all the doors in the house all the time and I didn’t sleep with a monitor by my bed. Laura and I consulted outside sources less and spontaneously went out to dinner more.

But I also never sat in the darkness of night rocking my little princess, right after my sweetheart has kissed her goodnight and turned off the lights. I never knelt by a bathtub as Mommy hovers near to watch our little girl splash and laugh with her rubber ducky. I never woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of Sadie’s nocturnal babblings only to glance over at the smile beaming on the face of my wife who is joining me in the impromptu listening booth of parenthood. That smiles literally lights up the dark room. My biggest dreams were mostly confined to two people. My heart must have been much smaller, because it feels like my capacity to love has grown exponentially. To love both of them, that is.

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So although I often reflect on the gift of Sadie, today I fall on my knees and thank God for the partner who lives the adventure of Sadie with me. As Proverbs 18: 22 (NLT) says so beautifully, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.”

Laura has enriched my life in more ways than a library of my musings could ever contain, yet somehow God found a way to make our life together even sweeter through the addition of Sadie. May sound cheesy to you, but so be it. This is my treasure we’re talking about here.

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