Looking Back Three Months

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Joshua’s birthday is in a few days and we’re heading to the southwest part of Wisconsin to spend the weekend in the driftless region. The cabin that we’re renting sits on 52 acres of seclusion, and we plan to turn our phones off, take as many walks as needed to lose count, grill a lot of vegetables, eat some cake, and watch the sunset through a firepit haze.

Here in April, with the weather turning warm, grass turning green, and birds turning chirpy, I find myself a little shocked that we made it through our first Wisconsin winter. We survived on hot chocolate, short bursts of walks with Jack, ice-cold air in our lungs, plenty of board games, budding friendships, long conversations, and new considerations of faith.

In late February, we signed up for a YMCA membership and started swimming. A week ago, we ordered some equipment and reached 3,400 yards. We’re beginning to find some peace in the quiet exhaustion of pool laps.

I started reading again, for pleasure, for knowledge, but mostly for exposure. I’ve been challenging myself to diversify my reading and lean into stories that look different from mine, to read authors with experiences and perspectives I’ve never considered. I’ve also given myself permission to stop reading books I don’t like, thanks to Austin Kleon, and oh man, has it ever made the difference. More than once have I returned a book to the library that came highly recommended and praised, but, alas, it just wasn’t for me.

Books finished:  

  • Tin Man by Sarah Winman

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

  • Florida by Lauren Groff

  • A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen

  • Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

  • Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

  • Sadness Is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher

  • Everybody Always by Bob Goff

  • Severance by Ming La

  • Heads of Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

  • The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

  • Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala

  • Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue

  • Am I There Yet? by Mari Andrew

  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

  • When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

  • I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson

In a few weeks, we’re leaving Wisconsin behind for a nine-day cross-country trip. We’re starting the trip with a drive down to Santa Fe, New Mexico to stay in an adobe house, traipse through the desert, drink some margaritas, and eat lots of spice. From there, we’re heading to Denver to spend a few days sampling the local beer scene, crossing some restaurants off the must-try list, and sitting in the mountains.

This trip out west is a belayed celebration of our three-year anniversary which we welcomed with a mini, one-day celebration in February. Sometimes I look at Joshua when his fingers stretch across the guitar or when he bends over the sink into a deep tub of dishes or when he throws his head back in laughter, and I can hardly believe that I am here, in this place, three years into a lifetime with a partner as unique and hilarious and kind as him.

Almost daily I’m confronted with how hard it is to lay down selfishness and pride; choosing someone every single day doesn’t always translate as romance in everyday life. More than ever, we’re finding ourselves grappling with the fact that we each are complete beings in and of ourselves before we are each other’s husband and wife. So in this season of shifting and changing, we’re choosing each other by first pushing one another toward individual healing and restoration, so that togetherness can be fuller, more grace-filled, more enduring.

Spring is here, and summer will surely come too.

In your corner,
Angelina Danae