Our Lives

Our Lives: The kind of support a true partner gives

January 26, 2013 

KIMBERLYCONLEY.OURLIVES2012.AL.JEL

Kimberly Conley.

JLEONARD@NEWSOBSERVER.COM — JULI LEONARD

Over the last year, I’ve been tested. Tested in ways that have been difficult, yet enlightening. I’ve been humbled, many times over, but in that, I’ve sure found a lot to be grateful for. I’ve learned a lot about myself, but I’ve also learned a lot about my closest relationship – the one with my husband.

When I set off to leave my steady, full-time gig at a major university just over a year ago, I was petrified. Reason, logic, common sense (as embarrassing as it may be, I don’t exercise these traits enough) were screaming out, ‘Don’t do it!’ and, ‘Why would you even think of leaving this organization?!’ I muffled their taunts and moved ahead with my plan.

Plan, I did have a plan, right? Well, sort of. I created one, on the fly. The self-employed route wasn’t completely new, but still, it required a certain amount of moxie, confidence, belief that you can. When I wasn’t sure if I possessed those attributes, I had someone to pump me up. Enter lead cheerleader, my husband. Minus the kicky skirt and bobby socks, he’s the backbone of my support system; the meat and potatoes on my plate; well, since I’m primarily a vegetarian these days...the tofu in my scramble?

Over the course of the last year, we’d spend many an evening preparing dinner together, plotting and planning how to maneuver that day’s and the next day’s labyrinth of twists and turns – for both of our endeavors. Relationships can’t exist if they are only one way. It’s sometimes tempting to get so caught up in your own stuff that you forget you may be someone’s tofu too.

Having the support of someone who loves you and believes in you cannot be underestimated. It’s a powerful gift. The gift extends beyond me; he also gives it freely to our kids. A great husband and a great dad, all rolled into one? I really should thank his parents, in part, for this gift. So thanks Mum and Dad, for raising such an amazingly compassionate, intelligent and supportive human being.

This support has done more than lift my spirits or give me the courage to look beyond my typical objectives. It’s actually helped me build the foundation of my consulting business. The limits I set for myself are now in constant flux, and it is because of this newfound confidence inspired by the belief of someone who knows what I can attain.

This kind of support is quite a selfless act, and it’s genuine through and through. It brings me back to the vows we said oh so many years ago, “through richer or poorer, through sickness and in health.” It’s true that I may not have known the depths of those statements when I uttered them only 24 years into my time on this Earth, and I can’t profess to truly understand them now, but I do know that with time they will offer new lessons about the world, each other and ourselves.

By taking his lead, including his culinary preferences, I strive to return this gift of support, by being the peanut butter in his chocolate.

kimberly5.17@hotmail.com

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