So tonight, with no little fanfare, I am pleased and somewhat nervously welcoming a guest post from my husband, Colin. I have literally no idea what he has written about and he's posting this himself so it's with faith that i hand over my lovely blog for the evening! (The quote is his too; *rolls eyes*)
As you might have gathered from the many entries in this blog, there are a million different things that make our home happy. There is however a consistent theme running through them; two themes really but they’re not entirely independent of each other!
The first theme is…… Nicola!
As you can tell from her writing, my wife is a thinker. She spends a lot of time and effort thinking about what is good for our family and our home. She reads countless books, articles, blogs and more. She reads about God’s plans for a family, about homemaking and housekeeping, about educating children with special needs, about disciplining children in a gentle and loving way… the list is practically never ending.
When we were going out (‘dating’ for our American visitors!) she used to tease me about how much harder I had studied than her just to get up with same classification of degree. (She actually revisited that theme only yesterday! Have to let her get her victories where she can nowadays!). Now that we’ve been married over eight years though the shoe is now very definitely on the other foot. I have developed an intellectual shortcut over the years – I’ve learned from extensive experience that if Nicola has read up on a topic that she cares about, that not only will her views be well formed but they’ll also be persuasive and compelling. She really does take time to know what’s she’s talking about and what she thinks that means. All of this means that there is often no need for me to do anything like the same amount of research on a given topic. I have confidence in the opinions and ideas that she forms as I’ve seen how time and time again, they’ve been proved sound by time and events.
Of course, no-one is free from mistakes – I’m sure she has it in her to get it wrong from time to time. But it’s not common!
You can see from a quick browse through the pages of this blog all the different ways that this body of thought has been applied in our lives. All these little things that make our home happy come from the same source – Nicola. Me and the lads are just here for the ride!
The second theme is….selflessness.
It’s easy in the midst of the chaos of every day life to find yourself getting caught up in what is best for me, and losing focus on the people and things around you. Whether that’s not wanting to be the one who has to get up at stupid o’clock AM when our youngest son decides that the day really ought to be getting started now, or the one to go back to the dinner table once the boys are in bed and begin the painstaking process of cleaning, wiping, brushing and otherwise removing the residue of another chaotic mealtime!
At this time in our family life, I go out to work, while Nicola stays at home and raises our children. Believe me when I say that although there are many days when I’d like to be the one to stay home and take them to one of the many inspiring and engaging activities Nicola has planned, there are equally plenty of days when I burst free from the house and run for the shelter and relative calm of my office; hot coffee on tap, adult conversation and intellectual stimulation.
We’ve been parents for just over four years now and now, more than ever, it needs selflessness to keep things running smoothly. I’ve suffered from ill health for years now and when I’m going through a period where I’m particularly unwell, my ability to contribute plummets. At times like that, and day to day, Nicola has demonstrated an unending capacity for selflessness. I find that both inspiring and a little intimidating. It’s not easy to stay on message all the time. But having said that, I know from experience that the days in which my selfish desires for rest or my own entertainment creep to the fore, are the days when home life does not function as well, and is not as happy, as it could be. A happy home is one where the load is shared, where each person feels valued and appreciated and where people do their best to put the needs of the others before their own.