I gave my husband a father’s day card for his birthday. Although he is a father - a wonderful father, this was not appreciated. I’ve since destroyed the evidence, can’t bear to hear him one more time refer to my kind and thoughtful card. I suppose I was hoping he’d ignore the rhyming references to “dad” and fail to notice the way I’d whited-out the “Happy Father’s Day!” and substituted in its place, “Happy Birthday!” (I may, in this particular instance, have underestimated the male powers of observation.)
I am a terrible wife. And I have reasons for being a terrible wife, although I won’t claim they are good ones. On the day of his birthday, I’d been writing. Most days now, I sit obediently at my desk for the quiet hours the children are in school, alternatively typing and wishing for something to say. Sometimes, if it’s going really badly, I putter in the kitchen, even put the dishes away.
On the day of said-birthday, I’d been betting on the idea that I had a birthday card already purchased for Ryan. But when it came time to look for it, I realized it was not a birthday card after all; it was a Father’s Day card.
That’s OK. Before getting the kids from school, I had already planned to stop by the cupcake shop. They’d sell birthday cards, right?
To make matters worse, the birthday card (Father’s Day card!) - which I did, I might add, lovingly inscribe to make up for my awfulness - ended up buried in the trunk of the car. (I confess: I was writing it at the school playground.) I couldn’t even find the birthday card (Father’s Day card!) in time for Ryan’s celebratory dinner (of leftover taco meat dressed up as nachos.)
I found it the next day, hand-delivered it with love.
(And you, too, wish you were married to me?)
I tell this story as preamble to a brief update on the book. How’s it going? Five chapters drafted, five to go. I think I’m finding my way into a better process, and I haven’t yet wanted to throw my laptop to the bottom of Lake Ontario. These are good signs.
Meanwhile, though, I’m giving my husband father’s day cards on the occasion of his birthday.
I wish it weren’t so hard to keep life in balance. But it is. And that's bids us towards grace.
“Grace is not only needed for the occasion of conversion, the moment we suddenly (or slowly) come to our senses and realize that we are spiritually bankrupt, having nothing to bring to God and everything to receive. Grace is also required for the long season of cultivated growth that follows. By grace we set out. By grace we are also sustained. Grace has as much to do about endings as it has to say about beginnings. It is a lifetime transaction.” (Excerpt from Chapter 3, whose title I still can’t land)
I write about grace - try to live in it, too.