Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Different Kind of Family

On the evening of November 22, 2010, I wrote an introductory email to a gentleman I had never met before. A mutual friend had told me about this gentleman, and suggested we might have enough in common to merit an introduction. Upon learning the gentleman was a professor of religion and actively involved in his church, I agreed with our mutual friend: "Yes," I thought, "this gentleman and I, both of whom work in academia and share the same faith, do in fact have a lot in common." I wrote the email.

For the sake of orientation, it's worth noting that three days later, I published my last substantial post before taking a hiatus from blogging that lasted a year and three months, the reason for which should soon be apparent.

The gentleman replied to my email the following day. A lively and engaging correspondence unfolded between us, and several weeks later we decided it would be worthwhile to meet. On a Friday in mid-December, he drove the two hours that separated us to come and meet me.

What the next year had in store for us, I could not have guessed. The gentleman became my fiance that following spring on April 25. He then became my husband on October 23, 2011. We are now expecting our first baby this upcoming July--which, I might add, is why I call myself a mother in my About Me description in the right-hand sidebar.

There are so many aspects of my story of meeting and marrying Paul (my gentleman) that I could choose to focus on in this post. Instead, I want to share about my transition from being a single independent woman in the library profession, to being a happily married mother-to-be in the same library profession. The "rightness" of this transition has everything to do with the woman my husband encountered as the year turned from 2010 to 2011, a woman very different from the one she had been a few short years previous...


On New Years Day 2011, just a few weeks after we had met for the first time, Paul and I shared a meal at a lovely little restaurant and talked about our personal hopes, dreams and plans. I explained to him that there were three relationships in my past that I would call "serious" to a greater or lesser degree, that during each I thought the relationship would lead to marriage, and that in each case God had a different plan and the relationship ended. Simultaneous with these relationships, I earned my Masters degree in Library Science, moved to a new state, and began work as a professional librarian in a university library. I confessed to Paul that before I got my degree, the strongest calling I felt was to marriage and motherhood; my library degree and any subsequent work was something I would do to "bide my time" until that "greater" calling was fulfilled, at which point I would happily walk away from my work in order to devote my full attention to my husband and children. It's worth noting, of course, the (now humorous) folly of my younger self in counting on the fulfillment of a calling that was completely out of my control, that being marriage and family life, as my record in that life category up until then did not bode well for me (to put it mildly!).

However, as I told Paul in that lovely little restaurant, during the intervening years a second, equally strong calling emerged, particularly once I started working professionally: the more I worked as a librarian, the more I realized that if I was indeed called to marriage and motherhood, they would likely co-exist alongside (and interwoven with) an active professional life as a librarian. My work had grown from something with which to "bide my time," into something I was meant to be doing for its own sake, as a means to share knowledge and serve others. After many years of struggling with images of family that never quite seemed to "fit" when I tried them on--images containing the stay-at-home mom I never had (and in retrospect would never trade for the hard-working, mother of self-sacrifice I did have)--after trying to insert myself into an image of family that never quite felt like home, the fittingness of my work had finally revealed a picture of what family could look like with not one but two working parents, at least one of whom found her occupation in (crazy, challenging, rewarding) academia. And this latter picture was finally one that felt right, and was likely to be the one I was called to, if I was called to any at all.

Paul listened to these things I told him about me, about the woman I had become versus the woman I used to think I was. He understood me, respected me, and supported me (and hey, he grew to love me too--not a bad deal if you ask me). And in the end (well, eight months later), he embraced them for his own when, in the midst of planning our wedding for later that year, he willingly chose to relocate so that I could continue to work in my current job--a job I absolutely love, but which I do ten times better now that I get to do it with him by my side.


Northeastern Pennsylvania (where we live) is home to many colleges and universities, not to mention a seminary or two, such that Paul has also been able to find work in his area of expertise. In this we are very blessed. It also means we are both academics--a comfortable (if sometimes nutty) marital fit for us both. And with the addition of our little one this upcoming summer, that different kind of family, the image of which finally felt "right" when I described it to Paul in that lovely little restaurant on the first day of 2011, is about to become a reality.

Photo by Ksenia of Eighth Day Photography
(our amazing wedding photographer)


  1. Congratulations on your marriage and your coming baby! That's wonderful. Also, glad to see you blogging again. :)

  2. Thank you Jenna! It feels good to be back with some new things worth writing about.

  3. Wow!!! Sorry I totally missed this new post! talk about similar!! My heart is so happy for you!!!!

    1. Elizabeth, thank you my dear blogging friend! And as I indicated over at your blog, my heart is so very happy for YOU as well! I'm looking forward to being back in touch through our blogs during this exciting next chapter in both of our lives.