The Roads We Travel

A few days in a life journey.

Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Happy Birthday, Love.

Last night, we spent an hour at Target trying to find “a really special birthday gift for daddy.” My seven-year-old had a gift idea in mind when we arrived, but when she saw the options that Target had she felt they just weren’t special enough. I tried to calmly walk her through some other options, but she was fading fast and getting frustrated. The WHOLE of Target and NO-THING was special enough for her daddy.

That’s love.

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Yeah, I know. I should have planned it out months ago, and there wouldn’t have been the last minute rush, but if you know me, then you know that’s just my flow. I thought about it last month. I had lots of great ideas, but the planning time got allocated to squeakier wheels, and here we are, December 8, 2016.

Today, I wanted to share just how much I love my husband. Although, I feel like I expended all my mushy note writing on our anniversary Facebook post last month. That was just 8 days after the election, and I was feeling kind of emotional anyway, nevertheless, all of it was heartfelt.

Last night, I binge-watched Insecure on HBO. The show is hilarious, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud. At 1:00 in the morning, I was thinking, “Girl, you are crazy, you need to go to sleep… the alarm goes off in just five hours!!”

Did I mention, I am NOT a morning person?

But, I finished Season 1 and then drifted to sleep. As I did, scenes from the show had me thinking that I’m so glad I’m not in my 20s or 30s anymore. I mean we all would take a dip in the fountain of youth if we could, but there were a lot of tough lessons to be learned in those years. I’m sure there will be tough lessons in the years to come as well, but the show just reminded me of how I met my husband when I was only 23. We dated off and on for years and then finally married in my 30s.

It takes a while to figure some shit out.

I’m so glad that we figured it out together, though.

Last month, on our 9th anniversary, my son did some quick math on the car ride to school with my husband. “Cat’s out of the bag,” my husband announced when he got home. Apparently, my son figured out that we did NOT have our shit together BEFORE he was born.

It’s cool. I knew this day would come, I thought, as my Christian guilt started creeping up.

“Well, what did you tell him?” I asked, scared to know what was really said.

He told my son that he figured he already knew since he was in our wedding!!

 

 

Apparently, my son thought it was an anniversary celebration, not our wedding and let’s just say we really haven’t discussed it at length until now…

9 years later — as they stand nearly shoulder-to-shoulder.  My husband has been by his side since he took his first breath, whether we were together or not, he’s always been there for our son. I love this man.

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So, as another year marches by, we’ll turn the page and start a new chapter. I love being your wife, your best friend, your companion on this life journey.

Happy Birthday, love.

Written by Shara

December 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Intentional Parenting

It’s no secret that I love this time of year. There’s something about it… It’s like a rebirth, or call it a do over.

There’s a lot I want to do with and for my children, but once summer rolls around I start feeling like there’s not enough time to get it all done. That art class or community service project just goes by the wayside. Then I think,  maybe we can squeeze it in during summer. Ha!

Maybe it’s because of counting school years that take us from August to June vs. the calendar year, but Back to School feels more like a New Year’s to me. There’s the shopping, new teachers, new friends, new schools (in our case) and the excitement of what’s to come. What IS to come?

Well, the strategist in me wants to hunker down and create a  plan for the school year. What are the top goals and priorities. If we accomplish those, then everything else is gravy.

Sometimes I forget that the plan should be inclusive and I  set about it on my own. Willing it all to happen and dragging everyone along by their scruffs. That’s always a recipe for disaster.

Sometimes I try to get others to take ownership of said “family plan” and when it doesn’t happen, I get salty. Yes, I admit it! I’ve been known to give a stink-eye or two.

So at age 40, here I am still trying to find the right blend of leadership, initiative, influence, inclusion and motivation to get our family plan created and implemented this school year. At 40, I’m hopeful that THIS will be the year we strike the right balance.

I wish it came naturally to me — to us. My husband and I both came from broken homes, so we have no model from which to work. We start with and always come back to our foundation of love and respect for one another. Everything else has to build around that.

But, the struggle is real folks.

Maybe there shouldn’t be a plan at all. Maybe we should live and let live — just let the chips fall where they may. Free range parenting. I contemplate this often.

I’m just a believer in intentional parenting. Nothing major, yet, but if I want my children to have an appreciation for the Arts, then I have to make the time to introduce them to art at various times in their lives and in various forms. This year, it’s piano. So we’ll all suffer through the practice rounds of  “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” with our eye on the bigger prize — a deeper understanding of the music we love and listen to everyday.

I’m genuinely curious about other parents though. Do you create a family plan for the year? Why? Why not?

Written by Shara

August 30, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Marriage, Parenting

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How to Marry for Life

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Of course that’s only if you want to! Not every relationship was meant to be forever and ever amen… and that’s okay!

Today is my 7th anniversary. So naturally after seven years, I feel a certain level of qualification to speak on the subject of how to marry for life. After all,  surviving the seven-year itch means channeling a lifetime of patience, strength and forgiveness,  then blending it down with a dash of vodka shaken vigorously over ice. Yes, vodka (or you can substitute wine, champagne, chocolate, etc.) and ice (the ability to step back, cool-off and regroup) are key ingredients for a lifetime marriage, but remember everything in moderation,  nothing in excess.

Getting married in my 30s, as an independent-minded, ambitious, career woman, feminist and single mom, was scary. Would I lose my sense of self? Yes. Would I have to compromise on everything? No, but more than I would like. Even changing my last name felt like I was kicking aside the very essence of me.

Seven years later, I understand how we evolve, we change and we grow with every life experience. I did lose sight of my old sense of self, but I have discovered something beautiful and more meaningful along the way. I’m learning how to make time for me within the walls of my preoccupation with others. This is not an easy lesson and yet it is so important. Boundaries. It is life sustaining. Writing, creating, singing, dancing, laughing … these are my air and so I have to breathe this air daily to live. What is your air? You can’t live and thrive in a marriage without it.

My husband has been a tremendous support and partner in our journey together. Just like me, he’s learning about himself and what he needs in order to breathe, live and thrive in our world together. The more he discovers, the happier he is and this makes my heart glad.

It’s not about being selfish, although admittedly sometimes we are. It’s not about being selfless, and yes we have passed many of those days as well. It’s just working (everyday mind you) to find harmony and balance. Yes, working! Both of us work at it. After seven years, I can share that it doesn’t come naturally… not yet.

Being raised by a single mother, I heard people talk about marriage being work, but I couldn’t conceptualize what they meant. The only work I knew was stocking shelves at Hechingers and selling tickets and popcorn at the local movie theater. How do I apply those skills to a marriage?

My husband, who was raised in a home with an abusive dad, didn’t know either. So, we sought help together. I’m convinced that the tools we learned in our pre-marital counseling and subsequent sessions have been the key to helping us communicate, and see and hear one another.

Many men refuse to go to counseling with their wives and I understand that it can be a scary thing to allow a third-party into your heart, mind and relationship, however, and I feel strongly about this, if you have never learned to swim and you’re determined to teach yourself, don’t jump into the deep end first!

That’s what marriage is. It is the deep end of the pool. No scratch that, it’s the ocean and if you don’t have the skills to survive the turbulence, the strong waves and the undercurrents,  then your ass will drown. No question. Save the macho for fixing cars, not your marriage. Go ahead and get a swim coach (i.e., a professional marriage counselor).

For those fortunate enough to have had some effective tools modeled and taught to them by parents who had it all together, amen and awesome, keep paying it forward.  For the rest of us, the secret ingredients to sustaining a marriage for life (or at least seven years, ha!), lie somewhere in a lifelong commitment to learning about ourselves and our partners, making time to breathe our own unique air, an acceptance that we don’t have all the answers, and vodka blended in your favorite drink with ice… lots of damn ice!

Written by Shara

November 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm