When I was single I had an idea in my head of what kinds of qualities and interests my future husband would probably have. I tried hard not to let myself get caught up in "lists" or things of that nature, but there were some essential things I had discerned were important in a man I would marry - like sharing my Catholic faith, for example (and my husband was agnostic when we first met - so God really works in our hearts in mysterious ways!). There were also things I dreamed up that were hardly deal-breakers, but were more like little things I could envision bringing me much joy in life - the kinds of things I wouldn't dare to complain about not having, but would secretly rejoice in having should they ever come to pass.
One of these little visions I dreamed up was of having a husband who would go on late afternoon or early evening strolls with me. It's such a simple vision - but somewhere in my heart I wanted that. Before dinner walks, after dinner walks, whatever. I just wanted that regular, quality, physically active time that allowed me to be with my man someday. The funny thing is that I didn't put much stock in it and probably forgot that my heart ever desired such a simple thing...until it started to become a reality.
My husband and I got married in late September (2012), so when we returned from our honeymoon and I made the official move to Ann Arbor to join him it was already chilly October weather. Autumn is my favorite season, but the one thing I learned about my 10 months in Ann Arbor is that there are basically two seasons you get to properly experience there: winter and summer. In my experience, there wasn't much transition between the two. This meant that shortly after we were finally together (no more long distance!) we had to put all our dreams of "Michigan outdoor adventures" on the back-burner unless we were interested in heading further north to ski (we weren't).
By the time "spring" rolled around we were aching to get outdoors. We missed warmth, sunshine, and having the motivation to do something other than hide beneath a thick blanket all day long (maybe that was just me dealing with the combo of a Michigan winter and the first trimester of pregnancy?). As soon as some semblance of warmer weather appeared in April (meaning it began to creep up into the raining/sleeting 40s on a more regular basis....) we decided to begin walking in a nearby park.
We loved that park. It was just a few minutes drive down the road from where we lived and it had a few different walking/running/biking paths - all with scenic views of the Huron River. Even though the earliest days of walking there were realistically quite chilly, we had so much fun on those walks together. It gave us time to unwind, expend energy, and talk in a way we couldn't do during our separate workouts in the gym.
As I got further along in pregnancy, walking became one of the only active things we could do together. I mean, as much as I love kayaking that hardly seemed to be a desirable activity given my size and physical discomfort (although I'm thinking perhaps canoeing could be peaceful next time around...).
Pretty soon we made the move to Florida and baby Gabriel made his big debut...which meant a whole lot of wonderful things, but it also meant I wasn't yet cleared to do any physical activity beyond walking...nor would I have had the energy or strength to do much else. Thus the walks continued!
At first it was so hot that Michael and I made frequent trips to the mall just to have an air conditioned space to walk around. Pretty soon, though, it began to cool off slightly and we started to feel more comfortable about having Gabriel outdoors for a little while. Finally, we were able to begin taking advantage of this gorgeous Florida warmth and our mind-blowingly-convenient (and scenic) walking path in our apartment complex. Not having to drive anywhere to walk is such a blessing for any mom with a young child....
It's sounds simple enough. And it is. We have become one of those married couples that goes on evening strolls (with our baby happily dozing as I push the stroller). It's nothing grand or world-changing, but it's something I rejoice to have with my husband (and now son). I've watched our evening walks evolve over the past year into a regular occurrence for our little family and I can now look back and see how what was once some silly-sounding dream has become the reality of my everyday life with Michael. Acknowledging this causes me to give thanks to our God who has been so so good to me in the simplest and sometimes silliest of my heart's desires.
The fact that we currently live in Florida has only helped to solidify this regular activity that I so look forward to enjoying with my family...because it's mid-October and this...
|Photo credit: my husband!|
"Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you."