Growing Old Together

Marriage. The very word can make a person smile, cringe, or cry. Marriage has brought some of us to our knees. Whether out of loneliness as we desire it, or because we have been heart broken at the loss of it, or as we plead for strength to endure it. And perhaps there are some -hopefully not too few- who are humbled to their knees out of gratitude that they still have it.

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Our younger, ignorant, but very much in love conversations went something like this:
Him: “I want to grow old with you. I bet you’d be cute with gray hair.”
Me: “I probably won’t go gray. But I’ll dye it white when I turn 50!”
Him: “What if I grow a wart on my face? Will you still love me?”
Me: “Well, I suppose I’d have to. But do I have to look at it?”
Him: “Yes. And kiss it.”
Me: “No way! Get it removed dude!”
We laughed and held each other. I secretly hoped he’d never grow a wart.

A few years passed. We had a baby boy. Time went on and…he grew a wart. Not on his nose (phew!) but on his hand. It was so random! Where do these things come from? And isn’t he too young for warts? A dear friend that we went to church with told us about the ultimate cure for warts: duck tape! It did the trick.

I share this silly little experience because my epiphany was that life just isn’t what we think it is going to be. Over the years I have come to understand and find humour in the saying “Well that didn’t go as planned!”

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Many years before I found my husband I was engaged to someone else. I remember that after our breakup I had told a friend that I felt like I was going through a divorce and he took the children we were supposed to have away from me. Now as I think about my own words I say; How ridiculous! What a stupid thing to say! DIVORCE?!?! What a heavy word for a relationship that was incomparable to MARRIAGE! Surely any idiot would know that MARRIAGE is more than a few hours of dating a week and a few phone calls (or nowadays texts). The heartache I felt back then was real, but it would be like a shallow pond in comparison to the deep oceanic devastation I would feel if I were to ever lose my husband.

As a Christian, I believe that marriage is ordained of God. It is a covenant bound promise between two people with God. Spouses SHARE everything. That old boyfriend and I shared NOTHING. My husband and I share, create, build and care for this home, we had our children, we share each other’s milestones and those of our children, we even share our sicknesses (thanks for the germy kisses babe!) Together we share the RESPONSIBILITY to nurture our relationship with each other and our children. We share all kinds of experiences TOGETHER. We are there for the big things, the little things and the inbetween things. We also share hundreds of stories, and as we continue to grow old together the stories keep coming.

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A pretty typical random ‘boring’ memory like this one:

{Sometime in 2016}

Our 3 kids will be accompanying us on our date. So really it’s a family outing but I refuse to say that and I firmly told the husband to make sure to call this a date despite our entourage. Like a typical day, some things came up and he went to do some stuff while I got myself and everyone else ready. Soon, I hear him come in through the back door and our two sons, age 5&7, both bombard him with:

“Daddy! We are going on a date with you and Mommy!”
“Yay! A date because we love you!”

To which I hear my husband reply to them,
“Don’t tell mommy but I got her a present, shhh! It’s a secret!”
“What is it?!”
“A secret!”
Of course I pretend I didn’t hear a thing, but can’t stop smiling and my heart dug itself a little deeper in love.

We pull into the parking lot and in our usual routine unload the kids. There’s something to be said when you have been with someone for so long that you don’t feel the need to vocalize each other’s tasks or voice what you’re doing and what you expect them to do next (because I was young, opinionated, and temperamental). Nah, that happens in the first few years. The expectations, the negotiations, even the arguments. Right now, we are in a comfortable war free zone… as he shouts from the other side of the van, “Don’t forget your Mary Poppins bag!” I forgot it ONCE. So clearly I’ll need a reminder for the rest of my life. “Did YOU lock the car?” He’s never NOT locked the car but he might one day so it’s best to prevent it now. He rolls his eyes at my comment and I pull up my chin a bit higher. Hmph! 😉 {we joke about these things}

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And then there’s aging together.  We have been married almost 9 years. We met as teenagers, fell in love as adults and here we are. I am convinced we are entering the category of being officially an “old” couple. Old(er) couples probably stand in the cleaner aisle for a good half hour discussing what is the best way to disinfect the house without poisoning the kids or risking long term health damage. Or perhaps we can use vanilla freshener for the car but a different one for the bathroom so when we are in the car we don’t think about the bathroom? Oh and have you seen the commercial for that new bleach toilet cleaner? Sounds effective, smells  good but is probably deadly since we have little kids and yes they have either touched or tasted the toilet water at least once. Yes I agree that these conversations are gold.

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I am often impressed by the wives of couples who have been together for DECADES. They really know their husbands! From knowing which belt loop they always use, to knowing which tie they prefer with what suit, they can recite their husband’s, and his parents’, medical history, they know what drs they need to see next and sometimes make doctor/dentist and other appointments together, and they even know what to put on their husband’s plate at a potluck dinner! But there is more. It is knowing their body language, reading the look on their face, or sometimes even now as I walk into a room I can just sense something is wrong and he’s about to tell me why. I recently read a quote somewhere about how a mature love is the best kind of love. It is deep and takes time. Years worth of time.

Growing old together is very emotional. We all change. We grow up (some of us anyways!) and hopefully we get wiser. That wisdom comes from experience. We hope that our spouse will continually love us as we change over the years. Sometimes we make foolish mistakes. As a spouse we need to understand, and I mean truly take to heart, how imperfect we all are. We all do stupid things, say hurtful things and we all need to forgive and be forgiven for something. All of us. Except me, I’m pretty close to being perfect and I’m pretty much always right- hahaha! Just kidding! I have my own faults, ugh, I don’t like admitting them but part of my growing up process has been just that.

So here we are. Nine years later. Nine years of being “us”. Nine years deep in love. Nine years worth of stories told and stories buried. Nine years of our hearts dancing around each other. Actually more than nine. Our love story started a decade before we married. All of my heart believes he and I were always meant to find each other. Be together, stay together and grow old together. Through everything this life or people throw at us. We hold onto each other. The more we do, the stronger we are. Nine years going on forever.

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Rebels in Larsononia

You can call me Sergeant Mom. Here in Larsononia I have two rebels under my watch.

Rebel A has been guilty of excessively kicking people, stealing from and nearly deafening Rebel E with his skills of high pitched screaming. He also has trouble following orders. He has been given the benefit of the doubt with his warm cuddles.

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Rebel E has been found guilty of consistently not following orders, picking fights with others and vandalism around the house. Although he has trouble following orders, he enforces his own rules on Rebel A. He has been given the benefit of the doubt with his random hugs and I love you’s.

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It is a hard battle in Larsononia keeping the peace between these two rebels. The objective of my assignment is to guide them into the direction of friendship and hopefully mould them into decent citizens of society.

After some extensive research and a meeting with Director of Home Dad, we have decided that the best way to achieve the goal of friendship is to establish unity between the two boys. We mapped out our plan and put it in action.

Report One-

Incident:

Rebel A had a Buzz Lightyear toy. Rebel E tried to take it. Rebel A screamed and both boys fought over the toy. They were told to put Buzz in Mom’s room for timeout. Then both boys had to sit on the floor quietly in timeout and look at their Mom as she spoke.

Dialogue:

To A- “Buzz did not belong to you. Screaming was not the right way to deal with E.”

To E- “Taking toys is not nice. You need to use words. Next time, E, you offer A another toy and accept his decision. Be patient. Help your brother make good choices.”

To A: “Next time, A, you offer E to take turns with the toy. Help your brother make good choices.”

To both of them: “Say okay.”

In unison: “Okay.”

They were then told to stand and shake hands. Affection such as hugs is not promoted as part of disciplinary action. However, it is also not forbidden. If they choose to happily hug and tell each other they love each other, it is permitted.

Report Two

Incident:

Rebels A and E were caught hitting and kicking with no remorse. They refused alternative activities. E was very angry. A was very complacent.

Dialogue:

Me: “That’s it! RUN!”

The boys ran laps around the living room, the dining room, ran obstacles of alternating between crawling and jumping. During this course of action I would use words like:

“E run with A.”

“A run with E.”

“Run together.”

“Help each other.”

When this was complete, E stated he felt happy again and would like a reward or treat. This was my reply:

“Your reward is the good feeling you have. Let that be enough for you.”

Conclusion-

Progress is being made. Although it has taken months of vigorous work and extensive amounts of patience.

Percentage wise, Rebel E is more quick to offer other toys to keep or obtain the one he wants and Rebel A is now considering alternatives to kicking.

Will report again in five years time.

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She Changed Our Lives Forever.

The blog went quiet soon after we found out I was pregnant. My pregnancies are always rough.

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2015 proved to be one of the most difficult years of my life, for many reasons. There are days I’d rather forget. There are things in the past I need to bury, left quietly hidden in the shadows or deep under a mountain, and eventually becoming the unseen ground I walk on because I am now looking up and forward. In contrast, because of her, it has also been one of the most wonderful years of my life.

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When everything around me felt like an emotional storm, complete with screams and tears, she has been my calm. I hold her and I can breathe. I watch her and I can smile. My sad tears become happy tears because she has been here to help me through it all. I had no idea this kind of joy existed. My heart literally feels warm and slightly giddy, like a love bubble invisibly bursting through my chest. So grateful she is here with us, making our family smile more than we have ever done before.

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