My husband, the principal...
Have you ever met a couple and thought - wow, they are perfect for one another! They are a mirror-image of each other, enjoy doing the same things, and it's like they were meant to find one another along this path of life. Then you meet couples who are polar opposites, not at all a like and at times you think - wow, they are so different, how do they make it work? But they do and it's a magical ebb and flow that you just can't imagine. My husband and I, we are the latter of the two. Complete opposites in terms of personality (we even have a personality test to prove it), far from one another on the spectrum, but it works, we fill one another's voids, we clash because of our differences, but there is this rooted common goal and we may weave there differently, but because of our stark differences at times we need the other to get there.
My husband is a principal at an elementary school in the same district where I am an 8th grade English teacher. He is actually the principal at the elementary school that my sister and I went to back in the day and that our children attend now. When people in the district first find out that we are married there is always this expression on their face that is hard to explain, other than you can tell they are thinking "wow, they are so different." My husband has a personality that will light up a room, he can talk to anyone, and is quick with a joke. He knows how to make people feel comfortable and loves to laugh, but he is also ornery, and will push the limits sometimes. I am much more reserved, not good in large crowds, overly professional and a perfectionist. While writing this, I realized that it makes me sound boring and not at all fun, but maybe that's why I married him, he gets me to loosen up a bit.
These odd expressions, go back even to when we first got engaged. It was the final month before graduation when Mo asked me to marry him and we happened to be taking the same class - Literacy in the Content Area. For me, this was my thing and of course I'm a huge nerd, so I sat with my people and was eating it up, while Mo being a Physical Education major, this was a stretch, he sat with his crew and was counting the minutes. The day after we got engaged my classmates were all ogling over my ring and the professor came over and asked, "so who is the lucky guy?" Everyone laughed - she had no idea that Mo and I were together, it never occurred to her that we were a couple, her face was priceless when our peers shared the news.
We have stark differences, but that's what makes us work. He will push me out of my comfort zone and I will wrangle him in. Our children see nothing but love, even though we express it in different ways - Mo by tickling them until they can't breath and me a quiet snuggle and song. This man supports my weaknesses and is in awe of my strengths, as I am constantly amazed by his heart and there when he needs direction.
As reserved as I can be, I'm also highly emotional and quick to panic. Mo can be such a calming force. I worry way too much, especially about our children and he reminds me to let them grow, let them fail, let them wander. When having our children, Mo was the one to make friends with the nurses, ask the questions that I was too afraid to ask, and bring a lifted spirit to a room when things were stressful. As we were heading downtown to the have the twins, we had to stop so he could get Tim Horton's, he joked with the worker that he better get the order right, because his wife was in labor (I wasn't overly amused), then as we were walking through the halls to the maternity ward a contraction hit me and I had to stop, a lady walked by and asked if I was okay, Mo responded with "oh ya, she's done this a million times," mind you, I was 10 centimeters with the twins when we finally got there and they rushed me into a room, no time to panic because Mo was keeping the situation from looking dire, always. Even when Ryland had to spend time in the NICU and I went home with Caroline and the others, he was our rock, while I was spiraling.
We can see the school where Mo works from our house, so we live amongst his population and he loves it! You will often hear "Hi, Mr. Ross!" or "That's where Mr. Ross lives" as kids and parents walk by. He will be standing in the driveway, barefoot, beverage in hand, white undershirt and waves away. He has mastered the art of having serious conversations in a casual way and enjoys that his work and life blend in this way. I struggle at times with this, you see I worry about perception to a fault. Mo reminds me that there shouldn't be a facade, this is who we are and it's okay that there is a window into our life. I have to remind him that there are rules that sometimes you can't bend and help him to clean up the edges sometimes, but that balancing act we play is what makes this work.
I see it as a pendulum. It's never an even balance, we will lean one way and the other person keeps us from tipping completely, then shift to the other. Opposites do attract, we see things in the other that we might be missing or crave. Even though our personalities differ there are commonalities that brought us together from the start - being athletes, a passion for education, the importance of family. Those pieces are what lay the foundation of our relationship, even though there are obvious differences with how we approach situations or interact with others because of these common passions and similar goals there is strength in our relationship.
We celebrated 12 years of marriage a few days ago and it will be 16 years together this September and I can't imagine dancing through life with anyone else. In life we need people who are our cheerleaders, but we also need people who offer a varying perspective. Sometimes we find that in friends, co-workers, family members, but I'm lucky to have that in my husband.