Thursday, May 22, 2014

15 yrs later my eyes are open, but my choice is still the same

So blissfully unaware these two are. So happy and so excited and so clueless to everything the next fifteen years would bring. They happily and easily said their vows, to love, to serve, to treasure till death would they part. It was so easy to say those vows. The wedding really is the easy part of marriage. It's exciting it's fun, it's a fantasy world. Real marriage is in the day to day. The ignoring the piles of laundry and dishes, the doing those piles of laundry and dishes. The sitting at the hospital bedside and running to fill the prescriptions. The battling through the disagreements and letting go of the hurts and wrong doings. That is what marriage is. I've said it before, but each anniversary as I look at these pictures, I realize again, It's not the party, it's not the dress, it's not the favors.

Marriage is living out the vows and promises daily, yearly and choosing to keep them sacred. It's saying, I would choose you all over again, knowing what I know now about who we both are and what we have become.

Gone are the days of constant love notes, and little gifts, song after song and email after email about how much we love one another. Acts of love today are more about doing the dishes and having fun with the kids than serenading me with a song from stage. It's about the partner and dad he is, not how hot or entertaining (although he is both of those things). Back when that photo was taken, it was all about how quickly we could get to that hotel room and get our hands on each other.  These days we are lucky to get an hour together at the end of the day to sit next to each other and watch Grimm before one of us falls asleep. We have grocery dates now, romantic right?  We don't go to the beach for a whole weekend anymore on our anniversary and that trip to vegas to renew our vows, never going to happen. Big ceremonies aren't the important parts of marriage, it's about big commitments, big sacrifices and lots and lots of little things. Little things like picking up those prescriptions, walking dogs and picking up the kids. Knowing how to stack the dishes next to the sink, although I still haven't figured that one out. Now it's about a text on a busy day to let him know I am thinking about him, or making sure the kids have everything laid out before I leave for a weekend at work. It's about him ignoring my stressed out snaps and not taking them personally and vice versa.  It's about enjoying grocery errands, because we are together, and even grocery errands can be fun with the right partner. It's thinking the same thing at the same time over and over again, because we know each other and enjoy so many of the same moments and parts of life. It's about being comfortable, vulnerable and loved so completely by another person even when they know how truly awful you are.   I don't mean to say that marriage isn't great, and that it is absent of romance and awesomeness. Those old habits and grand gestures still happen sometimes, but now there is so much more to appreciate and enjoy, so many more ways to understand that we love each other. It's a new kind of awesome this everyday marriage.

We are aware now, our eyes are open, at least to some things. We chose each other today, and hopefully for thousands of more days. We will fight, we will disappoint each other, but we will also be there. We will have moments of great joy, and lots of fun. We will also have moments of crisis and sorrow.  We will support one another, and we will start dreaming new dreams, blissfully unaware of the troubles the next fifteen years might bring. We choose each other, really knowing things won't always be blissful, but we will choose both the bliss and the beauty, the awful and the ugly together.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Motherhood and other opportunities for failure

Mothering is hard, and I don't say that to whine and complain and make all of you who wish you had a child angry. I get that it is a HUGE privilege to have two kids to mother, and I have lucked out with two amazing kids, that make mothering not so tough. I have to say though, it is really hard, and there is always always something that you fail at, ALWAYS. There is always something you can't give your kids, something you are neglecting, it is endless, but really we all can relate moms or not....

For instance, after a week of feeling like I wasn't doing enough for my kids, I wasn't providing enough, I could never give them the life my mom gave me, I realized that while I may ponder those questionable failures, I had definitely failed at something. Dental care. We have big name HMO dental insurance, we have had a lot of dental work, we don't have great teeth as a family, and we don't intentionally neglect them. We stress the importance of dental care we nag the kids to brush and floss and wash on a regular basis, we limit soda, we eats lots of veggies and fruits, so it's not that we don't care about our teeth. It's just we have a very busy life and we don't get reminders, like ever. Even if there is more work they need to do, our dental care provider never sends a card, never calls. Ever. Even the vet calls and sends cards!!! Now I realize they are not wholly to blame for this. I should have known that it's been over a year, since we have been there, but seriously I didn't. I didn't realize. I thought it was just last summer, when I called today. I really did. FAIL. 

So here I am beating myself up, realizing that I have let yet another thing go by the wayside for my kids. In addition to the camping trips I haven't planned, and the sports leagues I never figured out how to register for on time, I have failed their teeth. This broke open the gates of mom guilt for like a million more things to come to mind, that I haven't done for my kids. It was the cherry on top of the shame and guilt Sunday I had been preparing myself all week. Like the no college fund started thing, and the I didn't get them a house with a treehouse thing and the holy cow, I yelled at them this morning thing. Now who knows the damage I have done to their teeth. Every disapproving look from the hygienist they see in the next week it will be a dagger in my heart. Every stab of novocaine they might need for the cavities, I know must be waiting, it's going to cut through me like a knife. 

I failed my kids. 

But there is grace in life and even in motherhood. There are victories too. And I think it's high time ladies and gentlemen that we start focusing on those things instead. There will always be a ball dropped, an appointment missed, a pile of laundry, something you could have done better a to work, a workout you could have squeezed in. No matter what, we cannot hold it all together. We will fail our kids,we will fail each other, we WILL fail ourselves, but we will do wonderful things too. We will help our kids, ourselves, each other in ways we have no idea. We all fail people in our lives whether we are moms or not, but we will also help shape others to be amazing people, better than ourselves, just as we love them.

I can mom well despite dental dementia. I planned a kick ass birthday party for my daughter this weekend. She had a great time. I got both kids to all of their stuff last week, made lunches, had them in clean clothes, remembered to check and spray my son's hair with the anti lice stuff (because I actually took the time to read the newsletter for his class that suggested there could be issues in class). I read stories, helped with homework, snuggled, administered medication, and worked my butt off at my job, all for them. Those are victories! There are many things I didn't do last week, but many more I did and did well.

I got a mother's day card Sunday hand written by my son, who insisted to his teacher that he write his own message. Here is what it said:
"I love you because you made me the most special son in the world. You bought the big dane, you are a good cooker, you give me animals. When I feel sick you make me better, you are kind of Jesus in my opinion."

He realizes what I do, and it reminds him of Jesus. So really, job well done right. He may have cavities, but he is thoughtful, and sweet and understands Jesus love, and the responsibility we have to show that to others.  So I am going to quit beating myself up about the dentist, grin and bear the looks of the dental staff this week, hold their hands through any procedures, and set a jillion reminders on my phone to make appointments throughout the year. Or course I am gong to try and do better, try not to let things fall through the cracks, try and enrich their lives and love them to the fullest extent I am allowed. I am going to try though to be a better mom by not concentrating so much on my failures, on the things I am doing wrong, on the things I can't provide. I am going to extend grace to myself. I am going to try not to compare myself to others and their mothering skills, even my own mom,because who knows what they have forgotten!

I hope you can do the same mom friends, and all friends. None of us are perfect, but if you are reading this then most likely, you are my friend, and all of my friends are awesome! So if you need a reminder of the ways you are awesome, just let me know, I will tell you some of your victories!!!! And if you are the Jesus following type, God loves you failures and all, nothing you do, or don't do according to Romans will separate you from his love.