I am a personal fan of Valentine's Day. I know we should celebrate love every day, that romantic gestures and simple expressions of feelings shouldn't be assigned a date on the calendar. And yet I'm glad that it is. Happy that amidst nagging my kids to pick up their toys and my husband to shut the kitchen cupboards, there is a day to wonder, primarily, if they know how much I love them.
With the exception of Finn (who will take every opportunity to communicate his undying love for us), we aren't overly sentimental in this family. In fact, Joel is probably wincing as he reads this, wondering where this is leading, and if it will get unbearably mushy at some point.
Well buckle up... things are about to get gooey.
I won't go back to the beginning or pick apart everything I have loved about him in the past eight years, but since most of our communication occurs loudly over dinnertime commotion, between rounds of "tickle monster," or is followed by the words "if you don't stop fighting we will turn this car around," I'd like to take this small moment of peace to say a little something about the man I am spending this crazy life with.
And really, just a few words, because any more would be horribly embarrassing for him.
I honestly didn't know if I could do this whole living abroad thing. I thought that I needed a lot of stuff... my family, my best friends, Turkey Hill ice cream.
And really, it wasn't always easy. At first it felt a bit like Joel and I lived in two separate worlds. He lived in the world of English-speakers, of lesson plans and meetings and familiarity. I lived in Hungary. I was an outsider and most of the time I was scared.
Life has gotten easier for me in many ways. But even then one thing never changed... at the end of the day, when Joel opens the door and the kids scream and run giggling behind the couch, I know that this is all I really need. He is like the final puzzle piece that brings our family together, and even when I'm stressed or angry, or even when I feel like the world is out to get me, he walks through the door and I feel like I can breathe again.
I love that he can make my kids erupt in laughter, that they are sad when he leaves and want to be with him just as much as I do. I love that he believes in me more than I believe in myself. I love that, even when he drives me crazy, I would rather him be around than not.
Truly, I'm grateful. Stressed and tired and grateful. With so much changing and so many unknowns I am thankful that God has blessed me with this solid family, this place of solace that really isn't a place at all.
They are my little, traveling home, and for the first time in my life, I know I could go anywhere.