A few years ago I attended a seminar for wives and at the end of our insightful discussion we were asked to stand and to verbally express something that we were no longer going to hold on to as it related to our husbands. When my turn was next, I remember nervously standing up and saying “I’m not going to let my husband embarrass me anymore”. What the facilitator said next would stay with me for the rest of my life; “That’s right, because you didn’t raise him”. I walked out from that evening’s event feeling empowered and a wee bit smug.
I often recall those words, but more often than not, I repeat them in my mind with a sense of arrogance. I have often joked ODC about it, and thankfully, he’s not as sensitive as I am, so we can laugh about it together. Now that we are participants in the “Social Media” movement, I have more than once caught myself cringing, with my shoulders clutched to my ears, at some of ODC’s commentaries on FB and/or Twitter. I just take a deep breath and repeat that powerful statement that I heard about 6 years ago “I didn’t raise him”.
I have known ODC for 27 years, and thanks to the power of God, he has evolved into a wonderful man. I began to think about some of his obnoxious, prideful, and often insensitive ways and how those attributes have benefited me over the years. We have chosen not to live our lives according to the “satus quo”. Extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, no/limited vaccinations, homeschooling, natural parenting, deciding against artificial “life control”, living in a one bedroom condo in DC with a new baby, and the list goes on. I have a strong conviction about our decisions but it builds my confidence to have a partner who doesn’t care what people think and will often challenge them right back when they question us regarding our lifestyle. Oh and yes, ODC is consistent; it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know you or you are part of our family, he’s very straight forward with everyone. I won’t even get into customer service issues or other business related matters. My nickname for ODC is “Johnny Cochran Jr”. I’m emotional, he’s not. It makes him a very objective person to go to bat for our family when we have to negotiate.
We are two different people, which is a good thing. We don’t share the same opinions about everything and I don’t always agree with his approach. Anyone who really knows ODC recognizes that he is a very giving person. He has taught me so much and exposed my nasty, often selfish nature. Over the past 5 years, we have had 7 or more people/and or families live with us, almost all of them “rent free”. If we had the money that we have loaned out over the years, we could pay our mortgage and utilities for the remaining months of 2011. If he has it, or sometimes even if he doesn’t, we will help you. His work ethic is impeccable. I always tell him that I would love to have him as an employee. ODC is someone you want on your team; “ride or die”, that’s him.
At the end of the day, when I’m standing next to the man who will make an unpopular choice to preserve the character of our children, work 2 jobs to stay true to our family’s values, won’t shove his wife out the door to find a job when he losses his, promote breastfeeding in a way that doesn’t always make people “feel good”, and with extreme grace and sensitivity, hold me as I stand next to a hospital bed saying good-bye to my mother, “I didn’t raise him” but I am thankful that his mother allowed him a sense of freedom that resulted in him having a sense of immeasurable confidence and a giving heart that is sure to take our family places we can only imagine.