***Finds blog site, checks login info, dusts off keyboard, wiggles fingers in anticipation***
My husband paid me what I took as a compliment the other day, though it perhaps wasn't intended as such. "Your worst failing in life," he began.
"Oh, no Ben," I groaned. "Do we have to have this conversation?" anticipating what was to come. One thing you need to know about Ben. His Jane Austen doppleganger, in personality, at any rate, would be Mr. Knightly.
Have you ever looked for your, and your friends' and families' literary dopplegangers? Those characters in literature that you recognize immediately because they are so much like you, or remind you exactly of another person? It is great fun. One of mine is the rather obscure Katherine Krupnik, the absentminded, artistic, excellent cook if she remembers to plan dinner, schedule-phobic, family-adoring mother of Anastasia Krupnik. Yep. Pretty much describes me to a T. But back to what I was saying.
You would think it would be wonderful to be married to Mr. Knightly. Actually, it is. Mr. Knightly, undoubtedly, would be my pick over, say, Mr. Darcy, or Mr. Bingley, Colonel Brandon, Mr Ferrars, or, borrowing from the Hunger Games, Gale, or Peeta (no contest there- who even invited those two schmucks into the competition???). Now, when you bring up Gilbert Blythe, the competition gets a bit tougher, but in general, I can say wholeheartedly that Mr. Knightly from Emma is one of my favorite literary male characters. So, it is lucky I married my own Mr. Knightly.
But here's the thing with Mr Knightly: the "Badly done, Emma! Badly done!" scene. Emma deserved that, and knows she deserved it. See, Mr. Knightly is not afraid to speak his mind when he thinks something should be corrected or rectified. And, so, being married to Mr.Knightly's doppelganger, perhaps you can imagine, has its own set of peculiar challenges. Ben and I devote time, lots and lots and lots of time, evaluating ourselves, our marriage, our family, and our lives, to discuss what's working, and what's not, what could be improved, and so on. Because of this, I have him to thank for helping me come up with systems to make our house run smoothly, homeschooling plans where everyone knows what is supposed to happen each day, meals that get on the table most evenings (even though I can space out about that at times: "Dinner? We need to eat dinner again tonight? But I made dinner last night! Do we really need to eat again so soon?" Told you I was like Katherine Krupnik! Thanks to Ben's help with coming up with a plan, that rarely happens anymore), a house that gets cleaned three times a day, time for me to spend with God each morning.
All these things have bettered our lives, even though they have been challenging to implement at first. That's the thing, us creative types don't realize at first that a clean workspace and environment actually encourages creativity, not inhibits it. While a detailed daily schedule really doesn't fit me well (I've tried), instead, having a daily routine that I stick to quite closely really makes the homeschooling day go more smoothly for everyone. Each child knows what is supposed to happen every day, and what their jobs and responsibilities are.
These things, I have to thank, in large part, to my Mr. Knightly.
At times, though, being married to a real life Mr. Knightly can have it's own set of frustrations. Being reminded frequently of things that need to be corrected can feel overwhelming at times. In the book, he tells Emma something like (I don't have the exact words in front of me), "I have rebuked and corrected you, and you have born it wonderfully!" Every now and then, to keep my spirits up, and to make fun of himself for how high a standard he sets, at times, for our lives, Ben jokingly quotes that exact phrase to me.
Anyway, the other day, Ben said to me, "Do you want to know what your worst failing is?"
"Not particularly, no," I groaned.
"Your worst failing," he continued, ignoring my scrunched up face and the fact I crumpled myself in a heap upon hearing the words (we were both laughing, by the way), "your worst failing is that you have not been faithful to your blog where you take pictures of our kids, and write about our lives, and put our stories as they all grow up, into your blog."
"That's my worst failing?" I repeated, straightening up. "Wow, you must think I'm amazing. How can that be my worst failing?"
"You are amazing."
"Oh." See, it's really a great thing to be married to Mr. Knightly.
"But I want you to write your blog."
"Oh. Okay. I agree. Actually, yeah, I really miss recording all of that down, too."
One of my dearest friends, Tarah, is akin to my husband in that she is not afraid to bring up the hard topics. Every now and then, she sends me a text. "WRITE YOUR BLOG!" Well, she happened to be over that night. "Write your blog, Jen!"
"Okay, okay, I'll do it! Okay!"
Yesterday, I saw her at church. "Write your blog!"
"Okay, okay, I will!"
And so I have, today, at least.
I'll leave you with a picture of Cate on her 18th (for real!) birthday.