I’m Kristi. Most of you know that.
What you probably aren’t aware of is a few of the other names I’m known by. My uncle has always called me Krissy Brown. My dad called me “Pill”. I was “Fowler” in high school and then, years later, “Hayden’s Mom” (as well as Hallie/Rylie’s Mom). I’ve been “Teacher” and “Mrs. Burden”. My personal favorite would be “Ms. Jason”, a name I was called for six years by a dear man who knew how to make the best pies but never knew my name.
None of these names outshine the name “Mom” though, who I’m (most of the time) fondly referred to by the “Burden four”, the kids and Jason. I got that name shortly after Hayden’s birth nearly twenty years ago. There’s no sweeter name for me
Except for “K”.
Jason used to call me “K”, way back before I wore mama pants, at a time when I could talk on dates about something other than what was going on with the kids and the current state of the nation. He called me “K” while I could still buy cute sundresses from the clearance rack at “Gap” and then wear them without evidence of my “mom-ness” peeking out, especially around my waist. Back then we knew how to play an uninterrupted game of Forty-Two with friends and how to go the movies without worrying about what was going on at home or what the kids were doing (because we didn’t have kids yet).
Then we became Mom and Dad. Not only to the kids, but to each other.
“When are you getting home, Dad? We need to talk about somebody’s Math grade.”
“Mama, Can she spend the night with so-and-so?”
“Hey Dad…How about we stop wrestling ?”
I do love it, us being mom and dad.
It’s just that it wasn’t my intention to be “Mom” to my husband. I’m the mother of his children, but I’m not his mom (although I did appoint myself his holy spirit for a few years). I’m his wife; that woman who sat out twenty-something years ago to “love and to cherish (him) until death do us part”; not with leftover love after having expended most of my affection, energy and concern on the kids. It was never a part of the original plan to cherish him only on the rare occasion that we go on a date, or when we’re able to get away for a few days. My cherishing him was never meant to be put on hold until the kids are grown and out of the house.
I adore that man.
There’s not a day that I don’t look forward to him coming through the front door. But these days too often it’s to catch him up on “Kid News” or other news, rather than just taking in the sight of him.
Our time is spent putting our heads together to come up with rules that improve grades and ways to entice the siblings to live more harmoniously. We take turns being the bad guy. We double-team too. We have a system that both works and malfunctions. It’s a system that both takes and DESERVES much work and attention; sometimes so much so that it’s easy to neglect the relationship outside that system, the one we have as man and wife.
There’s room under one roof for the mom, dad and kids AND at the same time husband and wife. Not only is there room, the health of families depend on both of these relationships being nurtured. As crazy as I am about my kids, I want them to know they’re not the “end all be all”. We’ll never stop being their parents, but it’s in the plan for them to leave some day. I hope that Jason and I help them to fully look forward to the cleaving relationship intended in marriage if God blesses them with a mate.
We haven’t done so bad. We have Friday lunch dates when we can and we send new age love letters in the form of texts. And he still holds my hand.
This summer we had time for just the two of us. He started calling me “K” again. Then we came home and got back to “kid business” as usual.
Yesterday I folded a pair of my most comfortable mom shorts and put them in the drawer. I’ll probably wear them tomorrow. But he’s still calling me “K”. The world is right.