I think, on random days, it's a good thing to be grateful for what we have, what we are, and what we are continuing to be. Especially today, though, when we celebrate 20 years of marriage, it’s even more appropriate to reflect and to be grateful.
Oh, the places we've been!
We're on our WAY! Seeing great sights! So many good moments, so many happy ones. Sure, some moments have been less than shiny and stellar, but ... that's how it goes when two unique and determined people come together, committed to making a new string and able unit. As we are not carbon copies of each other, quirks abound, patiences get tested and compromises are made. Marriage is not about enjoying wedding-day-bliss every single day, because that just is not at all realistic. Bang-ups and hang-ups, as it were. Instead, marriage is about trying – Every. Single. Day – to love you, my partner, IN SPITE of these differences, to be as strong together as we are apart. And really, would you want it to be wedding day-like at this point? I mean, sure that whole newness was fun, but after 20 years of marriage, I think we are in better places and our relationship has changed - in a good way - along the way. Bang-ups and hang-ups, indeed ... Bed of roses it ain’t always, but I know that at the end of the day, I love what we have. I love who we are together. I love what we’ve built together (proverbially and literally). And the kids see that.
Oh, the words that we've said!
Thank you, too, for reminding me how important communication is. Sure, often when the kids are around, we have to laser in on soundbites instead of conversations full of declarative sentences with adjectives and clauses and descriptors. They talk a lot, and it can be hard to find that pause in conversation to get a word in. And yes, I still stew on things, mulling and chewing before finally, finally getting it off my chest. But I am working on keeping things in perspective and bring up irritations when they are still molehills rather than the big-as-a-mountain elephant in the room. Never once has stewing made me feel better about a situation, I know this. Stewing is not a successful nor effective communication tool. Yet, habits (stupid as they may be) are hard to break. I know the same is true for many of your habits as well (not saying they are stupid just ... hard to break). You know this as well as I do: communication really is the backbone of any good marriage. It doesn’t matter how many sparks fly in the beginning or how compatible you may seem to be; if you can’t talk about the BIG things, it doesn’t matter. Learning to be a good communicator – actively listening and capably voicing your own opinion - is a skill. A skill that we’ve both better developed and honed over the years, and one that our kids have learned as they watch us. They definitely know when and how to step with great care and great tact. Of course, perhaps we've helped perfect their communication skills a little too well, seeing as how the eldest has negotiation skills of an experienced and able lawyer, and the youngest one can charm the pants off of any living person.
Oh, the people we've met!
Speaking of, kids certainly complicate things, don't they? Sometimes it is hard to get a word in edgewise. Conversely, sometimes, all we can get from them in response is a grunt. Squabbles resembling war about pitifully small unimportances, brawls about miniscule tiny details ... kids add a lot of nuances to the relationship. And, at the same time, they make it infinitely more complicated to focus on us, on the foundation of this family. Thank you for being patient for the times that I am Mom first, and Wife second. Thank you for grounding me when I fly off on tangent XYZ about some kid-related detail. Thank you for reminding me that us is important too, even when my energy is ebbing at the end of the day, often because kids come home from school and need need need. Definitely hung up on that prick-ly perch.
Most days, it IS all about the kids. Most days, we focus on daily tasks, kids stuff, family stuff, and ... many days feel like they happen at break-necking pace and grind on for miles cross wierdish wild spaces. The next thing we know, it's time to drop into bed and to start all over again the following day. Most days, energy for more than that is just hard to come by. Hard to un-slump. The family load? It's a lot, right? You work all day, dealing with all sorts of workplace drama, so when you come home, I try not to give you more. Sometimes - most times - I am successful. The boys are at ages now where they can come up with their own entertainment, and as often as not, it doesn't involve me unless I want it to. Sometimes, though, I have all three on me like sticky burs, absolutely desperate for parental attention. Those days, you come home, after a day full of mind-maker-uppers waiting and staying, and the Home explosion just has nowhere else to go but in your lap. Thankfully, that happens rarely. Sure, we have sibling rivalry flare-ups, but for the most part, the boys have taken our your-brothers-are-your-friends lectures to heart and they get along which makes life easier and more entertaining (watching them interact can be golden). It's probably a little early to be clapping ourselves on the back, but it does appear as though we have three little people well on their way to becoming happy, healthy, self-confident and capable little people (okay, Let’s say ‘younger’ and not ‘little’ since two of them are inching to be taller than me) . These three are most often dexterous and deft and remember that life is a great balancing act. Yay, us!
Oh, the places we'll go! The fun to be done!
But, at the end of the day, what it comes down to is you and me and what we have built and have together. This relationship. This nuclear family. The people we call 'family' around the globe. This home (that we reconstruct over and over as we traipse about the globe). Our values and beliefs. Ready for anything under the sky. Sure, it is our anniversary, and that is no small accomplishment, but I can't help but think it's so important to celebrate US on random days, too, and not just the day that we officially started this journey. Oh what big mountains! Life has thrown us a few curve balls, and it is amazing to me how well we've fielded them. (Yes, my gift to you, that softball reference). Honestly, I can't wait to see what we'll be up to in our next inning. ;). The winning-est winning of all!
So. Today is our day! Thank you for the adventures. Here’s to at least 20 more years of them.
I love you,