The Month of John

So it turns out that the only thing harder than attempting to blog while on vacation is attempting to blog during the one week between vacations.  In some ways (mostly those having to do with this blog), June was a lost month for me.  We went on vacation—twice—with family, which was a wonderful way to get away from the ordinary. We didn’t go far, but we had such a great time with each other, we really didn’t need to.

I spent a lot of our time away thinking about next year, when we’ll have a nine-month-old Peanut with us.  Now I’m sure traveling with all the baby paraphernalia won’t be the most fun we’ve ever had. But things like baby sunscreen (please pray with me that this baby has John’s skin and not mine!) and floppy sun hats, building sandcastles and splashing near the edge of the surf with aunts, uncles, and grandparents mean that as great as this year’s vacations were, next year we’re probably in for the best week of our lives.

June was more than vacation month, though.  For me, it was the Month of John.  Check this out: John takes the first level of the CFA exam, then we go on vacation #1 (with his family), then his first Father’s Day, his birthday, a surprise birthday party, and then vacation #2 (with my parents).  Can you pack anything else more wonderful in a span of a mere thirty days?

I love celebrating other people’s birthdays, and John’s is, of course, at the top of my list.  I’ve been excited about the Month of John since May: planning a Father’s day gift (Jets onesies for the Peanut), scheming the party, drafting cards in my mind.  But this year we’ve had so much more to celebrate.  John studied for the CFA for months—staying in when there were other more exciting things to do, sacrificing sleep, balancing study and work to make sure he still had time to take care of me and be with family and friends for occasions like Confirmations and graduations.  And I know he did all of that not with a career goal in mind for the sake of his own success, but because we believe it will likely help him later on to provide the best he can for his family.

This incredible effort, combined with Father’s Day and his first birthday since we’ve been married, was a great opportunity for me to think about what makes John the friend, the husband, and the father that he is.  When we honored him for his birthday on vacation #1 (during dessert we all take the opportunity to share what we admire or appreciate about the honoree, a family tradition), there was so much love in the room.  We talked about his kindness, his generosity, his humility, and how he’s used his accomplishments to benefit others.  With the rest of his family, I am so proud of him, and beyond grateful for him.

As I thought about what I’d say that night, something a little different struck me.  Spending so much time together now that we’re married and live together, I try to remind myself not to take advantage of our time with one another.  I try to remember just a year ago when I couldn’t wait to come home to him every evening, to spend every weekend with him. I don’t ever want to take our precious moments together for granted.  In light of this new dynamic in our relationship, I got to thinking about what I’ve learned about John these past nine months and what I most appreciate, especially with the birth of our first child in the near future.

That afternoon, I’d been watching John and his siblings down by the water. I noticed John skipping a stone on the water.  Wow, I thought, John knows how to do so many things (that I don’t!)—how lucky this child is to have him for a father! I started to think about the last time I was on vacation with John’s family, when I learned that John can fillet a fish.  After four years of dating, I had no idea he possessed this skill.  Needless to say, I was wowed.

Most of the clan

In really thinking about the fish and the stone, I realized it’s not that John knows how to do things, but that he is willing to learn how to do things.  He’ll watch something, think it through, ask questions and listen to the answers, consider his approach, and then, both more carefully and more boldly than I, will try something new.

I realize this is a trait I’ve had the unique opportunity to learn from him, and I believe it’s something that will give our children an amazing perspective on life.  I’m sure that he will  be a fantastic example of kindness, charity, and faith, as well.  But this ability to think something through was one I hadn’t explicitly considered before. I think this is missing in a lot of our world; it’s something I know I need to work on!  But in the meantime, as the Month of John has officially drawn to a close, I come away with a renewed gratitude for the example he sets for me and for those around him, and most of all, for our Peanut.

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