Guest post from Tom:
When we were dating I used to write Amanda letters all the time. On our five-year anniversary, I wrote her a letter. She always writes blog posts encourage friends and family and tell them how much she appreciates them, so instead of just writing her a letter, I decided to write a blog without her knowing, and post it here.
I’m sitting here having a hard time believing that five years have passed since the picture-perfect July day when we said our vows. Fast forward five years, and I am sweating in the swamp-nasty Richmond 100 degree July weather, perpetually exhausted, feeling overwhelmed with work, family, husband, daddy roles. I look over at you, and although I know you are also tired, in my eyes you are thriving in the world’s most difficult job: stay at home mom. You still manage to clean the bathrooms, make dinner every night, wash & line dry our clothes, and most importantly, spend lots of quality time with our kids. Today I came home to you at your wit’s end, but still sitting on the floor and playing with David and Mary Virginia. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m so thankful that you are my wife and the mother who never tires of loving her family.
How do you do it? One thing that I see over and over is your reliance on the Lord for strength. I see this in how you spend your down time – listening to sermons, reading about parenting, and praying for people you care about and even people you don’t know. I also see it in how you often have a peace in the midst of kiddie chaos that can only come from the Holy Spirit.
Times like yesterday are such good reminders for me that the best gift we can give our kids is our time, not a clean house, table manners so the dining room isn’t trashed, or the ability to play without interrupting us. Selfishly, I want all those things so that I can live a life of ease and comfort, but when I actually sit back and reflect on these things I know that I will never look back on our kids’ formative years and wish I spent less time playing with them and more time cleaning.
We are raising our children in a world of distractions and instant gratification. I often succumb to the temptation to be in the room with the kids but otherwise preoccupied (phone, computer, magazine). You are so good at patiently showing me how not to do that, and even at times simply calling me out and reminding me what my priorities should be.
This has been the most tiring, challenging and overwhelming period of our lives, but I can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend it with than you. I pray that God will continue to bless our family and that we will keep perspective knowing that this is a uniquely sleep-deprived, kid-focused season. Here’s to the next five years – who knows what God and our kids have in store for us!