Last July, Woody had to have his wisdom teeth removed. While the lovingkind wasn't launched yet, it was being created and that day, in the waiting room, I wrote about the experience. When I go back to read it, I sweetly remember the impact of what I learned about life and marriage that day. Instead of trying to edit or update it to read from my perspective today, I wanted to share it with you just like it was written in the moment it was the most raw and real. So, take a journey with me back to July 2, 2013...
Today I am fulfilling one of my first, official wifely duties. I’m sitting in the waiting room as Woody gets his wisdom teeth removed. I sat with him in the consultation room, got all the instructions for taking care of him, and now I am waiting until I can sit with him in the recovery room and then take him home where I’ll give him medicine, soft foods and lots of love.
I know that wisdom teeth removal is a pretty standard procedure, but this experience is a little surreal for me and makes me think about marriage, growing up, responsibility and my new role as a wife. You see, I got my wisdom teeth out in high school and my mom was the one responsible for me. She was the one receiving the instructions, doling out the medicines and taking care of me. Now I am the one responsible for another person and for taking care of him.
This shift of responsibility from parent to spouse is exciting and surreal. It feels good. It feels good to know that Woody chose me to take care of him and that I chose him to take care of me. Sitting in the waiting room, him a little nervous, me a little unsure of what the next few hours would hold, he said to me, “I’m so lucky to be married to you. You’re lucky too.” To which we both laughed.
This experience made me think about my vows. For better. For worse. In sickness. In health. For richer. For poorer. It’s easy to take for granted the comfort of the better and the health and the richer, but there is something about the worse, the sickness or the poorer that elicits a new twinge of gratefulness for this promise. Gratefulness for this person who chose me and I chose them back. It’s a gift to have a husband to take care of and a partner to share all of life’s experiences with, and I never want to take that treasure for granted.
This also makes me think about spouses, friends, and family who are all too familiar with the waiting room. The people who would look at a wisdom teeth procedure as a walk in the park. Those who spend more moments than they ever expected or bargained for in a hospital waiting room. And those who aren’t waiting for the completion of a standard procedure, but for a procedure that may or may not work—an outcome that is uncertain and a little scary.
To those of you who are supporting a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend or a neighbor in this way, I honor you. What a gift that you were chosen to care and to wait in that waiting room. And what a gift that you accepted that responsibility even if you were scared and unsure. How blessed is the person behind the walls, in the operating room, hospital room, or dentist chair, that you are there waiting for them. You are there to care about the outcome and to hope for the future plans you’ll fulfill outside of the walls of that place. You are brave and today, I commend you for your courage.
I’m thankful for my husband who is probably drifting away into a medicated dreamland as I type this. I am thankful that this is a standard procedure and that we have a home to return to where I can care for him and he can recover. I’m also thankful that we chose each other as partners for life. I’m thankful that if this weren’t just a standard procedure we’d still be here for each other.
You see, the terms of marriage vows are broad and stretching from extremity to extremity because life is uncertain, surprising and full of better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness and health. The vow isn’t made to a circumstance, it’s made to a person. So whatever the circumstance, good or bad, may we all let circumstance be the less important backdrop to the person who chose us and we chose back.