by Emily Herring Dunn
OK, so we were already in college. June of 2008, however, we were moving back to campus into the married housing. Yes, incredibly convenient. We were so ready to be out of our first apartment it wasn’t even funny, and the campus housing seemed like heaven.
This move we did on our own. Though we were expecting Clark’s family to visit at some point, we wanted to be self-sufficient. We took trip after trip moving our stuff from one place to the next. Living on the third floor in our new apartment didn’t help much, but what did help is that it was furnished. All of the stuff we had crammed into our tiny apartment was now to go into storage, save a few things that we needed to add a sense of home to the new place. That was where Clark’s family came in. They were going to come and help us transport things to their storage shed.
There was a lot of arguing, to be perfectly honest. Trying to take things up the stairs and see where I was going was not easy, so I tended to grab the lighter things and let Clark carry all the heavy stuff. It was difficult, because while we were moving he was still working full time and was now starting classes at the local community college. He was going back to school, which was an amazing thing, but the timing was so inconvenient.
Yes, those were my thoughts.
Yes, I know they were selfish.
Clark was stressed, and I wasn’t helping much. I was so focused on my upcoming trip in July to Germany and Paris that I didn’t care too much. I was excited about moving, but I was not excited about when we were doing it. I wanted to be with my family. It had been over six months since I had seen them, and I was “homesick.” I use quotations because Clark was my home, but we were still so young we were having a hard time separating from our parents.
Clark was going to hold up our new apartment. He was going to work, go to school, and provide for himself. I was nervous, but it had to be done.
When Clark’s parents finally arrived to take some of our things to Fayetteville, I was at work. I was hired as a temporary greeter at our local “theme park” called Tweetsie. It’s an old railroad that has been turned into an old Western-themed park. It’s pretty interesting. I worked from around seven or eight in the morning to six or seven in the evening ten days straight. It was tough, but it was worth it.
Anyway, Clark’s parents arrived and Clark told me it took all of him to keep his mom from unpacking my kitchen and putting it away, and to keep his dad from slipping him some cash. We were very grateful for all of their help, but this is when we began to attempt to make ourselves a little more independent. Our first year of marriage, or maybe even our first two, was pretty dependent on help from family. Getting married that young with no finances probably wasn’t the best plan, but we made it work.
The move was a success, and Clark continued to reassure me that everything would be fine while I was away. We were feeling more and more like we were finally out on our own. The first apartment had just shocked us into reality, but living on campus provided us with a stable place to live and the reassurance that everything would be provided to make school, and ultimately life, a lot easier. Oh, if only we knew what was ahead.
by Michelle Golden
Two summers ago my mother landed up in the emergency room; her heart rate was at a low four and the nurses were pumping something in her veins to reverse the drug effects of her attempted suicide. I remember staring at my mother, wondering if she was experiencing the same kind of internal emotional pain my sister and I were going through.
When she was later seen by a social worker we were told that she’s bipolar. My sister and I had been prepared for this answer for a while due to her years and years of destructive behavior. But when we finally had the answer in front of us, I don’t think either of us knew what to do next. Then, as if the social worker knew this was what we were thinking, she told us, “Your mother needs to get her self immediate help.”
We learned that bipolar disorder consists of disruptions in brain chemistry. The parts of the brain that control emotions don’t operate the way they should and because of this, individuals with the disorder experience certain moods more strongly and frequently than others for a longer period of time.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health approximately 5.7 million American adults or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year are affected by bipolar disorder, a disorder that severely affects mood swings. Out of the 5.7 million Americans who are affected by this disorder a lot of them are not aware of it and some may not even do anything to receive the right treatment.
For a number of reasons people who suffer from bipolar disorder don’t get the necessary help they need from a doctor. They may ignore their family and friend’s plea to seek treatment. Most of the time the number one reason for not seeing a doctor is fear. When people suffering from bipolar disorder live in denial they don’t have to face themselves, their fears, and reality. They can continue going about their everyday lives – even if their relationships with family, friends, and co-workers are at risk.
When getting treatment isn’t a priority people can risk becoming suicidal and one’s long-term physical health is at risk as well. And that’s the stage my mother was in when we found ourselves at her hospital bed. For years we didn’t know what the problem was and for years she never thought she had a problem.
Millions of Americans have bipolar disorder and it can develop at any point in an individual’s life. It’s not only a personality disorder but it is also a real disease. It requires medical attention just like cancer or diabetes requires treatment. The right treatment is out there for everybody. Medications are available to help stabilize moods and in therapy one can discuss feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Through seeking professional help people can learn to cope with the bipolar disorder and learn how to fully engage in ways to better live a more gratifying and functional life.
One thing to realize when you’re dealing with a family member who has the disorder is that it isn’t your fault. For years my mother put the blame on my sister and I for her divorce from my father, or for her health, or just for even being born. But it is important to understand that all of these are irrational thoughts and though they may hurt, it really is the bipolar disorder in the parent speaking. Sometimes I think that maybe there is hope and she will change. But then those thoughts are interrupted when I remember the harsh names, the hitting, the shoving, and the manic state she was capable of getting stuck in. I used to think I was just the bad daughter. But when I moved out and my sister then had to deal with it, I knew that I had been wrong for many years and my mother’s daughters weren’t the problem. The fact that she wasn’t getting the right help was.
Although it’s been two years after my mother’s diagnosis and she still isn’t seeking the right help, I know that it takes time. It is true that her life has gone in a downwards spiral since then. She isn’t emotionally and physically healthy and stable to have a job. My mother is still suffering from the tremendous effects of the disorder. But I do have faith that at some point she’ll be ready to take the right medication, to speak with the right professional, and to trust in her own self and others that there is a light at the end of the long and dark tunnel. Like with anything, the first step is admitting when there is a problem. And after that, it’s about taking one day at a time.
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by Emily Herring Dunn
In October of 2008 we were starting to get iffy with transportation.
I was working, I had the sorority, I had school. Clark had work, he was taking classes at the community college, he was trying to go climbing more. It was a mess. We’d be trying to take turns with the van, considering I could just walk down a hill to get to class, but with the sorority, I needed to drive, too.
On top of all that, Clark was considering attending classes at another community college that was about 30 minutes away. We needed another mode of transportation, but there was no way we could afford a car.
Clark started looking into motorcycles. I was not pleased.
I thought just a bike would do, but then realized he couldn’t ride a bike to a college thirty minutes away down the mountain on a major highway.
It wouldn’t work.
I thought maybe we could ask his parents if they could loan us a car temporarily, like my parents had done with our lovely 1998 Mercury Villager van.
They couldn’t do it.
All things were pointing to a motorcycle, but it came down to finances once again. We couldn’t afford it. There was no way possible unless we got a loan.
We looked into a loan, but a motorcycle is considered a “leisure” loan, not a transportation loan. We would need a cosigner on top of that, because we had no credit history.
We were stuck.
We went to my older sister and her husband. They were very understanding of several situations due to the fact that they were young and married as well.
They offered to lend us money with a payment plan that would have us pay it off in a year.
It was agreed on, we made a sort of contract, and we received a check to go toward a motorcycle Clark had found.
We made payments to the man as well. We gave him most of it upfront with the check from my sister and her husband, and then made payments from our bank account as time went by.
The motorcycle started being worth it. It made things a lot easier, but it didn’t ease my mind that Clark was out on a bike driving around.
I knew he was a safe driver… it was other drivers that made me nervous.
One of my sorority sister’s boyfriend got into an accident on his bike, and it made my anxiety even worse.
But, it was a good investment. It made us able to be separate and not worry about time limits and things like that. We were able to focus on what we needed to do, without worrying about if we needed to pick the other person up.
Being in school, being married and attempting to have a social life was harder than imagined. It was only going to get harder as college progressed, but finding small solutions day by day definitely made it worthwhile.
by Emily Herring Dunn
In September 2008 Clark and I celebrated our one year anniversary.
We had successfully moved and survived one year of college. Clark was at a job that provided enough for us to live on, and I was working part time at a calling center on campus. We were flying high as newlyweds.
It just wasn’t quite enough.
While I had enjoyed my first year of school, and enjoyed my first year of marriage even more, something was missing.
I had a couple of college friends, but I was still closer with my high school group of girls. I needed girls to escape married life with. I needed girls to talk about boys with. After all, I was still only 19. I needed to be a normal college girl in one way or another.
I decided to rush, meaning I decided to join a sorority.
I had heard great things. My mom was in a sorority and my older sister was in a sorority. It just seemed a natural way to meet girls with the same interests and one major thing in common.
Clark was incredibly supportive. He was making work friends, and he knew I needed girls to hang out with. I think he was glad I was finding something else to do.
I was a bit demanding during our first year because I was so wrapped up in married life.
It happens to all of us. We are so enraptured with the person we’re spending the rest of our lives with that we forget about the other part of our lives.
While Clark is my best friend in the entire world, I needed an estrogen balance. It just took me a year to realize it.
So, I went through rush. I had an extraordinary time. I ended up with a sorority who was very accepting of my marital status.
Most sororities do not want a girl who is already married. I was lucky. I found one that wanted me precisely the way I was.
Girls need girl friends. There’s no way around it. You can spend day in and day out with your boyfriend or husband, but ultimately you need time with girls.
I hadn’t quite figured this out until I had been married for one year. I needed shopping, exercising, movies, coffee, and all the other wonderful things with a female friend. Not Clark.
Don’t get wrong. Clark is my best friend. I can talk to him about everyone and everything… except him.
I needed girls to talk to about him: when we disagreed, when he was wonderful, all of it. I had my sisters, I had my mom, but I needed friends who were in the vicinity.
Balancing was hard. Having time for friends who wanted to constantly do things, and spending time with Clark on top of school, work schedules, and now friends was exhausting. However, it was necessary.
While I wouldn’t say taking the sorority road is for everyone, I would say if you’re married while in college, you need to have girlfriends. Get together for coffee, lunch, manicures, or whatever your style is once a week or so. Get some time away from the home, school, and the husband, and enjoy being a girl.
by Emily Herring Dunn
I was headed to Germany. I was beyond excited to fly across the ocean on my own, see my family and take a train to Paris. I was excited and scared. It was the first time Clark and I would truly be apart. It was for almost three weeks. It was going to be a challenge.
As Clark drove me to the airport, we talked about when we would call. A six-hour time difference wasn’t going to help either of us, but if I got up super early I’d be able to call him right after he got off work and right before he went to bed. We could make it work, as we had everything else. Our new apartment was in a very convenient location for Clark, and if he needed anything he had a calling card. It was going to be fine.
When I was waiting on the plane, I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. The flying, I mean. I kept looking out the window and realizing how far I was going and who I was leaving behind. There were a few moments I considered just getting off, telling my parents I couldn’t come and calling Clark to come back for me. I had tears in my eyes. This was a first. It was a step on my own, which I really hadn’t had since that first month of college. I went straight from my parents’ house to my husband’s. This was the first time, for a brief time, I was alone.
I was in a window seat. If you’ve never flown international, there are two seats next to the windows on each side of the plan, and then something like four to six seats in the middle. I was sitting right next to the window, and the young gentleman next to me was clearly German. He didn’t want to speak to me, and anytime I had to get up to go to the bathroom he looked absolutely appalled that once again he had to get up as well. I eventually stayed in my seat and fell asleep against the window, watching movies over and over again.
Arriving in Germany was a relief. I knew just what to do, how to get my luggage, and so on. I had done it before. Yes, Clark had been with me, but if I had survived the plane ride next to some kid who didn’t want to even say a polite hello, I could survive pushing my way through people to get to my luggage. I had tied ribbon on my suitcases so I would recognize them; this was definitely helpful. I got out of there in good time, and emerged from behind glass doors to find my family waiting for me. I was exhausted, but it was so good to see familiar faces.
Calling Clark while in Germany was a breeze. I got up early, as we planned, and called him. While I had to stay on the phone with him longer than imagined, my parents had free international calling so it was okay. I felt so bad for him. I was with people who were familiar, and therefore I wasn’t as homesick for him. However, he was homesick for me. He probably wouldn’t like me sharing this, but there were several times on the phone that he was desperately emotional. It was even worse when I was in Paris.
Paris was enchanting. It made me miss Clark all the more, but I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. Visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Versailles… I was overwhelmed. More than anything I wanted Clark to be there with my family and me, but I grew to accept being there without him and took hundreds of pictures so he could experience my trip when I returned home.
In Paris we had a bit of a problem. There was miscommunication, and I was told that when I called out with a calling card there would be a onetime fee, which I was happy to pay. However, when my parents received the bill, the fee had been applied every single time I had called Clark. The manager ended up refunding half of what we were told to pay, but my mother was not exactly happy with me.
It was a necessary evil, I thought. If I hadn’t called Clark, I’m not sure what he would have done. It was impossible to do morning calls when I was in Paris, so I would call him in the evening, or whenever my little sister and I were in our room. He was even more miserable when we were in Paris. I think he sensed I was enjoying myself without him, and he was home being responsible. If we had known then what would be happening in a year, I don’t think he would have been quite as miserable.
When I returned home, Clark was waiting at the airport with flowers for me. It was one of the most romantic things he has done to date. We went out to a nice dinner, we returned home, and I crashed. I was, once again, exhausted… but it was so good to really be home.
By Emily Herring Dunn
For the past year or so I have been doing many things to try to grow in my faith. One of those things is reading a One Year Bible to try and “know my stuff” and grow closer to God. While I do have moments when I let the everyday world take over and I fall behind on my God time, I am doing a better job than I ever envisioned.
OK, so that’s not quite good enough. I asked for the One Year Bible so I would get up every morning and spend time with God. While some mornings I’m full of excuses or tired from the previous days of the week, I shouldn’t let that interrupt the relationship.
I am slowly but surely realizing that this is a tough world we live in. While I knew this to begin with, it is sinking in more and more as I grow older.
I’ve realized that as Christians we have it even harder. We are living in a secular world that focuses on everything from sex to drugs, to little things like “bad words”, and that secular world idolizes such things.
In high school and college, I think things are even worse. Here we are from ages 13 to 22 and we’re learning how to be adults. I mean, let’s face it, we are learning, and perhaps no one truly ever learns what that word “adult” means.
Just to help this devotional along, let’s give you a definition:
Adult’ a. grown-up; mature—n. mature person, animal, or plant.
So, what does that mean? We could go in circles forever! You could look up grown-up, mature, person, and even animal or plant. How are we supposed to know when we’re adults and when life is supposed to be really tough? I can tell you, for me, life has seemed the most difficult between 13 and 22.
Between ages 13 and 22, a person is supposed to learn how to be mature. A person is supposed to learn good life choices, and as Christians we are supposed to learn how to live according to God’s will and plans. We may make plans of our own, but how do we make sure that everything is for the glory of God? As other individuals around us are focused on the secular world, making decisions that we don’t look at as lightly as they do, how are we supposed to grow up to be Christian adults?
Christianity’ n. religion based on the teachings of Jesus—Christian a., n.
According to Webster’s New Pocket Dictionary, Christianity is a religion based on the teachings of Jesus, so we can assume a Christian would be a person, animal, or plant that follows the teachings of Jesus, correct? So, an ‘Adult Christian’ may be something like this:
Adult Christian’ n. mature person, animal, or plant that bases his, her, or it’s life on the teachings of Jesus.
As ‘Adult Christians’, we are held to higher standards. We base our lives on the teachings of the number one teacher, the Messiah, the Son of God who died for our sins. And yet we are sinners everyday and surrounded by sinners as well. What does that mean? It means that we do not deserve to be Adult Christians, but we are blessed with God’s grace and forgiveness because of His son’s teachings.
OK, so what does this have to do with being between the ages of 13 and 22?
Between the ages of 13-22 a person is more apt to change, more apt to molding, and out on his/her own more so to experience what this world is all about. That’s a scary step, wouldn’t you say? Because when a person is 13 you don’t think much of him/her going out in to the world and becoming a new adult. At the age of 13, a person is still a child to most.
Then, suddenly, at age 18, a person is expected to become a ‘mature person,’ step out in to the world, and make the right choices.
I don’t think so.
We as Christians are growing every single day. As young adults, and as adult Christians, we strive to live by the teachings of Jesus Christ and to witness to those around us. It isn’t easy. The people around us give in to the temptations of everyday life, as we do, but the difference is that some of them don’t have the Savior to forgive them and rescue them from a damned life.
I know. It’s intense.
Psalm 37:3-4 says, “Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
How amazing is that? As long as we trust in the Lord, do good, and take delight in the Lord, then we will live safely, prosper, and receive our heart’s desires. Now, who deserves that?
I can tell you who. No one.
We are living a blessed life. Though at times it may seem more difficult to be an Adult Christian than to just be an adult, it’s a choice we have made and a life we have been blessed with. Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins, and we must live each day with that in mind.
Though other adults may seem like they’re having more fun living a life that isn’t by the teachings of Christ, we have the ultimate blessing and fun a head of us—even after death! We live on forever by the grace of God, simply by glorifying Him and doing good by Him.
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and my God!” Psalm 43:5.
Your life is in God’s hands. Put your hope in God, praise Him, and He will give you your heart’s desires. As an adult, that’s a pretty good thing to know. We trek through life wondering if we will ever get what we desire, ever get what we think we deserve—and God says yes you will. Praise Him through the storms of high school, of college, or growing up and He will mold you in to an Adult Christians.
By Stacey Wilson
Lately, the Richter scale has seen its fair share of news headlines. The first quarter of 2010 left its mark in history as a period of earthen instability – thousands and thousands of people shaken from their normal routines within a matter of seconds, many of them changed forever.
The ground shifting beneath us, however, hasn’t been the only unsteadiness we’ve felt these past few months. Lingering economic problems, more terrorist attacks, and heated political climates have also contributed to a sense of global shakiness.
And then there are the seemingly ever-present personal issues “us girls” deal with that can shake us pretty badly: Will I ever find the right guy? What will I do after I graduate? Am I really where I’m supposed to be in life?
It can prevent us from moving ahead with confidence. It can paralyze us from making important decisions. And it can permeate us with a sense of uneasiness that makes life just plain hard sometimes.
When I find myself in this boat of apprehension, waves crashing around me in the middle of the deepest ocean, I can usually look back on my journey out to sea and realize that it was just me paddling.
There will always be uncertainty in life; the apprehension comes when we lose sight of who’s in control, who should be paddling with us. You see, there’s certainty in the uncertainty.
John captured these words of Jesus in his gospel account: “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It’s certain that we will have trouble in this world. It’s also certain that Jesus has overcome it. So how do we live in the midst of the world’s uncertainties with confidence?
I think these verses in Proverbs 3 sum up what our actions should look like: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Straight. I like that word. It implies that even in the crookedness and debris of life, our paths can cut right through the heart of unexpected obstacles. We can become living examples of Christ’s overcoming power in this world. That’s how we’re supposed to live; trusting that God will make our path straight even when we don’t know if there’s a fallen oak tree somewhere up the road. We don’t have to know where the tree will be or how we will get past it, we just have to trust that he’ll provide an axe or the strength to climb over it.
Staying constantly focused on who is ultimately in control of the storms and tragedies that affect our lives can take the sting out of uncertainty. Each obstacle is an opportunity to experience more of God’s grace, mercy, and provision. When we look at our uncertainties in this light, we can’t really be moved.
I know that I have my regular column entitled Married in College, but I thought it may be refreshing to write an actual article on being married young. After all, many of you may be nearing an age where you feel ready to be with that person whom you love.
My husband and I knew each other all through high school. Though we were friends and we were there to support each other through rough times, we were not romantically involved until our senior year of high school. In the first month of our freshman year of college, we eloped.
While this may seem extreme and not well thought out to many of you readers, we are still going strong and still feel like we did when we first started dating.
It’s not easy. Being married young is NOT easy. No matter how easy people may make it look on the television or through articles or books, it is not easy.
I think it’s and for people who got married young to admit the trials and tribulations they faced. Why? Because when you marry young you are automatically put into a category of concern. People do not understand why you couldn’t wait; if it’s so meant to be, why can’t the couple wait a few more years?
Everyone has their reasons, but being in a category that is so questioned these days makes it hard for younger couples to admit they’re struggling. Getting married young is typically viewed as a mistake to the outside world, so for those who got married young they have to stay strong and appear as though nothing is ever wrong.
OK, you may think that’s a little over the top. There are the few who look at young married couples with admiration and wish that they could do the exact same thing. Perhaps others have patience, perhaps others aren’t sure, or perhaps others wait because they don’t want to be seen as other young married couples.
I cannot speak for everyone. I can simply give you some pointers.
One: If you feel as though you are ready to be married, make sure you talk it through. Don’t just get up and get married because others are telling you not to, or because you want to prove people wrong. Those are NOT good reasons. Get married because you know it’s right, because you know you don’t want to wait another day to start your forever together. Don’t get married for sex. Talk everything through and make sure you are getting married for the right reasons.
Two: Look at your financial situation. One thing I do look back on and laugh at is that Clark and I were not ready financially. We were both college students and the only reason we had money is because I had quite a bit saved from babysitting the year before. Neither of us had “real” jobs, and we were trying to make it in school. If you’re going to get married, you need a support system—friends, family, finances. Clark and I didn’t have any of those, possibly because we didn’t tell anyone we were getting married. Make sure you have enough money to stabilize yourselves in the beginning—especially if you are both in college.
Three: Talk to others about it. Clark and I were concerned that no one else would understand. We told my roommate, a few close friends, and hoped for the best. The day we got married, we e-mailed both of our parents a long letter explaining why. While I know that their advice would have been full of questions of, “How are you going to,” “Don’t you think you should,” “You are far too young,” I think we could have handled it. I think we would have seen things we didn’t think about, and things we needed to wait on, but I know we still would have done it. Premarital counseling, I think, is important; though we didn’t go through it, I think it’s a good suggestion—especially if you’re young. You need to have someone else talk you through situations, point out the importance of communication, and so on. We didn’t get all of that until after we were married, and I think the first few months would have been a lot easier had we talked to our closest friends and family.
The times that we live in do not support young marriages. Women and men are supposed to go out and establish themselves on their own. However, I think that if you are ready—you’re ready. If you know, you know. No one else can make the decision for you, but I think it’s a decision that is not to be made lightly and should only be carried out if you are completely positive.
While my three pointers left out the most important in my opinion, I thought it would be best to end with.
The Most Important thing to Remember: Always put God first. In the relationship, you must remember that there is Someone who needs to come before your spouse. It should be God, each other, and then everybody and everything else. God is always first, and if He is not first in your relationship, then you need to rethink your decision. Clark and I struggled with God in the beginning because we were so enamored with each other that we seemed to forget Him. Talk to Him about it, pray about it… because only He can give you the right answer.
Marriage is one of the most important decisions you will make in your entire life. It doesn’t matter if you decide when you’re 18 or when you’re 65 as long as you’re sure it’s the right decision, the right person, and God is not going to be pushed aside for it.
I married at age 18. Now, at age 21, I look back and know that I would still make the same decision, with the same man, but I would tweak it just a bit. I would make sure we had the support systems, would make sure we talked to someone, and would enforce the most important thing to remember: that God was first in the decision.
By Emily Herring Dunn
Now that you know the condition our apartment was in, you can understand the stress that would come with a family visit.
In April Clark and I prepared for my mom and little sister to visit from Germany. They were coming for my birthday as well as my older sister’s graduation from Roanoke College in VA. We had a fun-filled planned vacation, but my mom and little sister were not prepared for Homespun Hills.
The other thing that we all weren’t prepared for?
When my mom and little sister visited, all of a sudden I was possessive of everything. After all, it was our house. I was angry when they insulted anything, upset when they didn’t consult me about their plans—even if I was in class.
The first visit of my family coming to stay with us did not go entirely as smoothly as planned.
My mom and little sister arrived shortly before my birthday. The plans we had for while they were “in town” was simply to go to the outlet stores up the mountain. Mom said she would take me on a mini-shopping trip for my birthday, and my little sister wanted me to help her pick out some clothes.
Well, the day after they arrived I left my house key with them and went to class. My mom wanted to run a few errands, and she needed the house key, obviously, to get back in.
Well, when I returned from class my mom and little sister were gone.
Clark had one key, and they had the other. Luckily, one of our windows didn’t lock, so I took my time (this wasn’t the first time) maneuvering the window to get it open and get in to the house.
I was furious.
I had told them what time I was done with class, and had thought we were going shopping when I got home. Mom said she just wanted to go here and there and would be back in time. How could they be so inconsiderate?
Between 30 minutes to an hour later they walked in carrying shopping bags.
I started spouting.
I gave them evil looks and wondered what on earth had happened. I thought we were all going shopping together. Did they forget what time my classes were over? I had to break in to my own apartment because they were out doing something we were supposed to be doing together!
After my mom explained and my little sister cried, we all settled down. However, this was only the beginning.
My birthday was on a Friday that year, but we had decided to drive to the outer banks for the weekend. We couldn’t leave until around 4, though, because Clark had to work. Though he assured us we’d get there in good time, mom didn’t know good time still meant 11:30pm.
The whole way there she muttered about his driving under her breath. It took all of Clark to keep his patience, and most of the time all of him lost.
When we first stopped for gas, and Clark asked mom to fill up, there was a conflict. Clark spilled out the how much we really had in our bank account, and then I was furious for letting my mother know how destitute we were.
Oh, how the list goes on.
While the weekend at the beach went very well, it was later that the true blow up occurred.
When we returned I had exams to take and we were going to have a “real” birthday celebration with a cake and such. While I was studying, my mom decided to invite our neighbor over for the birthday celebration. While I appreciated her thoughtfulness, I was annoyed.
I wanted my birthday to be with my family, only. After all, they were there for it—why did we have to invite our 40 year old neighbor who we saw everyday?
I started yelling.
I was yelling about my birthday, about my exams, about mom and Molly not respecting our house—everything.
I then commenced to tell our neighbor that my mom wasn’t feeling well and would he mind if we just sent over some food. My mom emerged from the apartment and started yelling at me, in front of our neighbor, telling me not to lie.
Our poor neighbor.
Clark pulled us in to the apartment and played peace maker, which was surprising because he and my mom had been complaining about each other to me just earlier that day. We then went back to apologize to our neighbor after Clark had calmed us down.
While the visit ended up being wonderful, it was a lesson-learning experience.
I learned that my mother is always going to be my mother, even in my house.
I learned that Clark and I still had a lot of growing up to do before we were ready for relatives to stay with us.
I learned that Clark and I had to establish ourselves as our own entity, our own family.
I learned that my parents, and Clark’s parents, still had a lot of accepting to do.
I learned that everything was going to take time.
I learned that everything would be OK as long as we kept putting God first.
So, this column probably isn’t as entertaining as the last few. I must say that while the visit still sticks out in my mind, I can’t remember a lot of the details. I can’t remember my exact words or my mother’s, I can’t remember Clark’s attitude before or after he played peace maker, and I can’t remember exactly all that my neighbor had to endure.
What I can remember is that we got through it. We survived the first visit of others that were to come, and I finished my first spring semester of college.
We had no idea what was on our schedules for the next year.