I believe in the word …“and.” Not the definition, but the meaning. It is such a trivial word. Something we are taught in kindergarten to not even read, but simply to recognize. It has no passion, no emotion, no romance. And yet, this word, in all of its simplicity, is what I believe.
By marrying my husband, I got three for the price of one. He came with two amazing young children who accepted me and allowed me to be part of their cock-eyed family. Overnight, I had an insta-family…just add water (and me). Over the years, we have truly become blended; the lines where one family begins and another ends have become fuzzy, not as clearly defined.
In the early days, it was not as easy. The lines were much sharper then, constantly being highlighted by the children. “Before you came along, we used to do it this way.” We would sit down to dinner to enjoy a freshly roasted chicken. As was the custom prior to my existence, my husband would ask each child which part they would like. One child would politely ask for a leg while the other asked for the second leg. When my turn came, I looked around the table with disdain and said, “Leg!” I wanted the leg, too. In my own selfish way of self-preservation, I did not want to sacrifice. I was a new bride, with my new husband and my insta-family and I wanted the leg.
This continued to happen in those first years. The family bought 2% milk, while I always drank skim. I liked to sleep late, while they liked to get up early and go. I wanted dark chocolate while they opted for milk. These may seem trivial. But, I felt myself giving into the peer pressure of the family, wanting to be a part of the whole and certainly not rock the pre-existing boat. I felt like I could lose myself in an effort to comply and belong. I believed one of us had to lose, to surrender. In my mind, it was my way or theirs. If they got what they wanted, I had to forgo what I wanted.
It was then that my husband taught me the power of “and.” Without consciously trying to impart any wisdom, he started to buy packs of chicken legs as well as a whole chicken. I always found skim and 2% in the refrigerator. I slept late while he and the kids had alone time and saved the fun activities for mid-mornings with me. I did not have to surrender my needs at the expense of anyone else. Each person in the house learned that they were equally valued and important. My husband taught us how to live with “and,” not with “or” or “but” or “other.” In this age of “either/or,” my husband gave us the gift of “and.”
So I believe in “and.” My husband gave it to me as a souvenir of our marriage and continues to validate it everyday. For me it represents abundance because there is always enough to go around. It represents hope and love and…
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