Since returning to residence life four years ago, I knew that a true test of how well-matched I might be with a partner would be the weeks leading up to and beginning the Fall semester. That's when I spend about ten days in staff training, sometimes for ten to twelve hours each day, and follow that up with move-in weekend, the hecticness of students being back, etc. It's challenging enough to manage myself, much less ensure I'm building time into that ridiculous schedule for someone else.
So it was endearing (and a bit reaffirming) to see how well Wildcat Guy handled his first staff training back then, just five months after we started dating. His patience, understanding and support were so genuine and caring - it made me feel a lot more confident about the balance between work and love in our relationship.
Fast forward two years, and I think it's fair to say he is quite involved in training week - perhaps as involved as he could be. He assembles welcome bags...he helps prepare meals for my staff...he joins us for activities...he runs errands for me when I need one more thing from the store...he even let me drag him out of bed at 7 am on Friday for our departmental run/walk. But most importantly, he continues to love me through some of the most difficult moments I experience in my professional obligations each year - moments when I am exhausted, overly stressed, and occasionally at my wit's end.
This year, that was especially true after my Florida trip in early August prevented me from being as ready for training as I would have liked...which meant playing lots of catch-up in the midst of an already-full week and putting myself under even more stress.
All of which culminated in me having a really bad moment one night. The type of moment when I just wanted to say, "screw it" and not care what got done because all I really wanted was calm and peace and a good night's sleep.
But in the midst of that frustration and exhaustion-fueled emotion, there was one heart-warming and comforting moment...a brief second when I realized how fortunate I was to have him - and his steady heart - as a support and encouragement. And there, in the middle of my moment, I felt compelled to tell him how thankful I was. The message said, in part:
On days like today, when I'm really tired and very stressed out, it's easy for me to get frustrated with myself about how poorly I'm using my time and the things I'm not getting done like I should...it's easy to convince myself that I"m not doing as good a job as I could. But I'm lucky, because God gave me you. No matter how tired or stressed I am, you're there with a big hug to remind me that I shouldn't worry so much...that I am doing a better job than I give myself credit for...that everything will be okay in the end.
As training continued, I felt that good fortune and gratitude more and more. Not all men would be willing to take a backseat to my professional responsibilities for two weeks - be willing to let something else consume so much of my attention and time. That is a fact I learned in the most difficult way. Yet Wildcat Guy knows that, when things quiet down, we'll have more time together - to relax on the couch more, to enjoy dinners for just two - to just be us. And what a blessing that is, to be entrusted with a heart so steady and patient and understanding.
Yes, God definitely knew what He was doing when He brought Wildcat Guy into my life.
Where I am: homeWhat I'm re-reading: The Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw