Lessons From My Marriage.

Today, April 3, 2019, is my 15th Wedding Anniversary. 15th!!

Am I even old enough to be married for 15 years? Most days I’d tell you that there is no way that I’m old enough to be married for that long. Except those days when my kids run me ragged or have decided not to sleep. Most days I’d tell you that I feel about 17 years old.

How did we get here? The answer in my head is ‘I have absolutely no idea’. But the truth is that we worked hard to get here. A lot of people seem to think that marriage should be easy, that it shouldn’t feel like work. Certainly, I am not a lot of people.

My husband and I have a great story. We met at the ripe age of 12, in the 7th grade of St. Ann’s School. It wasn’t love at first sight, we definitely didn’t even want to be friends. But slowly over the years, we wore each other down and became the best of friends. We dated off and on (mostly just on) through high school and college.

Prom 1999
Prom 1999
Don’t mind the horrible quality photo, it’s a photo of a photo back in actual camera and film days.)

In 2004, after graduating from college and spending 4 years across the country from each other, we got married.

Wedding 2004
(Again don’t mind the horrible quality photo, it’s a photo of a photo.)

5 moves, 2 houses, 2 kids, 2 dogs, a miscarriage, 6 grandparents lost, 5 jobs, 1 career change, 3 college graduations, 8 cars, 4 car accidents, bills, friendships gained, 1 rental property, bills, 15+ vacations, 2 trips (lol), bills, friendships lost, bills, countless dreams shared…the list could go on.

Personally, I think we’ve made it look easy for everyone on the outside. From the outside, our story looks like a real life fairy tale. And trust me when I say, I feel lucky. Lucky to have met my person and been able to share my entire life with him. There is truly no other person who I would want to do life with, no better person to be the father of my children.

But people, the truth is I AM NO CINDERELLA.

Some days it feels like we’ve been married for a hot minute, and some days it feels like 115 years have went by. Marriage is work, relationships are work.

I asked my husband what he learned over the 15 years we’ve been married. What was one lesson he would share with people? His reply was: “Just enjoy the journey.” I needed an explanation, I wasn’t really sure where he was going with this one. He went on to explain that no marriage is perfect, but that you have to embrace the good with the bad and just hang on to each other through it all. I liked it, it’s similar to what I’d say to people.

4 lessons I have learned from marriage:

  1. Show up. Showing up is half the battle. Be present, take the time to hear them. You don’t always have to talk, a simple hug goes a long way. Just be there, have their back. Loyalty, show them how important they are to you.
  2. Team work & communicate. Work together, instead of against each other. Believe it or not, you are both working towards the same goal…being happy in whatever life you’ve built or are building for yourself. Tackle life together. Actually talk to each other. Don’t confuse this with always agreeing, just because you are married does not mean you share a brain.
  3. Take time to yourself. Give your partner time to be themselves, time to do their thing. And in turn, give you time to be yourself, time to do your thing. This one might sound the opposite of what I have been saying in 1. and 2. above, but hear me out. Speaking for myself, I am a better person when I have time to breathe and be myself. This used to mean a vacation alone, now it means time in the bathroom alone. Like I said before, you’re married, you don’t share a brain. You don’t have to be together 24/7 just because you got married, guaranteed doing something for yourself will make you a better partner, probably a better parent too.
  4. Laugh. This needs 0 explanation, laughter makes everything easier. If you can find laughter in life, it makes it easier to live…so keep laughing.
Us – 2017

This is Us. We aren’t perfect, but we show up day after day for each other. Fails, successes…we just keep laughing. Sometimes it’s teary-eyed crying laughter, and sometimes we laugh until we cry.

Love you Nick, always have and always will. Thanks for always showing up. Cheers to the rest of our story.

This is Us.

Today I failed.

Today was not my finest day. Today I was not my best self, I was not the best mom/wife. Today I had a ‘poor me party’, where I was the only one who showed up. Today I wouldn’t of won ‘Mom Of The Year’. Today I was mentally checked out, unavailable…just going through the motions. Today I failed.

You see I’ve been up since 2:15am, when my son started restlessly coughing. By 3:45am, I was laying on the couch willing him to close his eyes (more like screaming in my mind to go the f&$k to sleep, which I might of said out loud at one point). I dosed off between 4am and 7am, but any parent who has slept with a kid on the couch knows…it ain’t sleeping.

My hat goes off to all the Stay At Home parents out there. I will never pretend to be one or want to be one. I am not cut out to stay home, it’s not in my DNA and I’m ok with that.

I’m lucky that I am able to be off on Mondays to spend time with my kids (it came with a price of 1/5 of my salary, but the memories I’ve made with my daughter have no price tag). My job allows me to work from home on Tuesdays, I’m lucky and thankful to have that flexibility. Don’t confuse that flexibility with ease. Working from home with kids is a challenging struggle, to put it mildly.

Without that flexibility, I would of easily lost my job by now. Since the middle of January, I’d be lucky if I have made it to work 3 full weeks (which is only 3 days per week).

Of all the things we’ve caught this year, not a one of them has been a break.

If you read my last blog, you’ll remember that our Disney trip was one big fail which ended in non-stop sickness throughout February. Sadly, March has been no different. We’ve had cluster headaches, the stomach flu, pink eye, an ear infection/earache and a thrown out back (don’t even ask).

(And for anyone who would like to point out that my 8 month old goes to daycare…you are correct. My 8 month old does go to daycare 2 days a week. And in the past 2 months I think he’s made it to daycare 4 or 5 times (2 weeks). So keep your daycare judgements to yourself. I don’t judge you for your nanny or your in-home care or your family member or for being a stay at home.)

It’s March 25th and I’m just done…fed up, tired and frustrated. Everyday I look in the mirror and I see more grays, more wrinkles, more bags. My body feels so beat up and I’m exhausted.

You know the last time I did anything leisurely? The last time my husband and I had dinner together that didn’t consist of keeping other humans occupied? The last time I went to the gym? Watched TV? Slept without interruption?

This is real life. This isn’t some fake Facebook best life post. This $hit is hard.

So to all you parents out there that are struggling, feel like you can’t catch a break, are rundown, feel like you are sinking…

Today I failed…but I’m gonna wake up tomorrow (maybe at 2:15am again, who knows) and I’m gonna try all over again.

Because I’m a Mom and that is what we do.

The Gift I Didn’t Want to Receive

Welcome people! This is my first official blog post and it’s my birthday. There I said it…IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. I’m not shy about it, honestly I’m not super shy about much. Birthdays are usually my favorite, they were always really special growing up. With all the warm and fuzziness from growing up, I try hard to make sure my kids birthdays are really special. If I can’t get it right everyday of the year, at least I can attempt to get it right on the one day that really means something.

Every year as an adult, I attempt to look back on the past year. Sometimes I start a project or journey that I have been thinking about, regardless of what I do (or don’t do)…I try to look for growth. So this year, I’m going to start a blog. A blog about my life that incorporates my sense of humor and the way I look at life, about my journey as a woman, mom, wife and what I think about & encounter on a daily basis. God help us all and god help me, my thoughts on the internet…this could get bad. Right now it doesn’t look like much, but I’m just starting out and I gotta start somewhere.

Basically I was unprepared for my 36th year of life, but let me explain…

Have you ever received a gift that you didn’t want? Not just a gift that you didn’t like because it was the wrong size, color or just wasn’t you. A gift that meant something was coming that you weren’t prepared for…a gift that was a great sentiment, but at the complete wrong time.

Last year, my wonderful husband gave me this as a present on my birthday. I opened it up and couldn’t even read it, I placed it back in the box and closed the lid with tears in my eyes. You see the necklace said “no longer by my side but forever in my heart” (with paw prints), but my dog was sitting at my feet COMPLETELY ALIVE…for now.

It was 10 days previous to this that we had taken Cliff to the vet and they told us that he had a mass in his bladder. A mass that nothing could be done about, they told us to just keep him comfortable and we’d know when it was time. This news was still fresh and it hurt. Cliff was my first baby, he was my baby before I had real human babies.

I always attempt to start a new birth year with a fresh start. I was in need of a new start. The past year was spent praying, wishing and hoping for another addition to our family and I had ended up with a prolonged miscarriage. A loss and experience that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, a life changing event. Just 10 days prior to my ‘fresh start’, I knew that sometime in my next year I would be experiencing another loss. And my thoughtful husband decided to engrave my pending loss in a pendant for me to wear around my neck, and give it to me for my birthday. I didn’t want this gift. I didn’t want to think about this and I certainly didn’t want to wear it. So I hid it in a box in a drawer. At this point in my life, if I could of gotten in the box and hid in the drawer…I would of done the same.

Fast forward a year later…

Today, on my 37th birthday, I have that same necklace…the gift that I didn’t want to receive last year…around my neck. Yes I ended up losing Cliff, and yes it hurt a lot and yes I still miss him. But today, I am wearing it proudly, because it turns out that it was actually a gift that I treasure. The whole story makes me laugh now, and the fact that I get to keep it in my back pocket and throw it at my husband when I need to prove a point…makes me smile. It was definitely the right present given to me at the wrong time, but regardless he knew what I needed…but shhh don’t tell him that.

Today as I’m wearing the gift I never wanted to receive around my neck, I received another necklace from my little family. A necklace that has 2 pendants on it with the names of my 2 kids on it, the exact gift that I spent 2 years praying for. Life is full of irony.