And, She Was Set Free

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       It is safe to say that I had a tumultuous past year and what not. It has caused me to wall myself up, become a little more recluse, and definitely more outspoken. Those all sound like bad things, but I do not necessarily think so. It has made me learn to depend on myself a lot more and to be a stronger person. Maybe some think I have pushed away but I just want to be independent. It has also taught me the value of my relationships with my friends and family. Needless to say, this past year has been an eye opener.

I have found that I need to be happy. No more putting everyone else in front of me. I have to take care of me before I can take care of anyone else. –But none of that will happen unless I speak up…some times YELL to be heard! After all, the way we treat ourselves bounces off of those around us and I do not want my loved ones to feel the way that I some times feel. Nor do I want them to bare the brunt of my negative behavior. This was an a-ha moment, but a constant challenge that I am learning to practice daily.

I have learned how to love differently and that the extent of my love is unreal. I have gained a new perspective for love and in being able to love. It has taken my whole appreciation to a new level and has heightened it. Love absolutely feels more amazing now when I connect with my relationships. I cannot help but to look at my loved ones faces and think, “damn, I just love ’em!” –and truly feel every word.

One of the best things I gained is the value of life. We live it, but most of us do not really LIVE it. We do what needs to be done, but do we bother to understand that we cannot get back that moment our child asked us to read them a story while we were cleaning up? Some things can wait. Life passes by too quickly. I want to savor all that I can and try to remember all of the little things. All too soon my little ones will be grown men and I do not want to look back and feel I could have done more. I want to know I did all that I could do and beyond. No regrets.

In a sense I found qualities in myself I would have never thought that I possessed. I found that I need to strengthen areas, destroy other ways, and evolve. No matter my faults and insecurities, I am worth it all. I will be damned to settle for less.

I have seen the lowest of lows in myself and suffered tremendous heartache. A heartache I wish on no one and one that will never be mended. A permanent hole. Yes, those do exist. Time does not do any thing. At least at this point, it has not for me. To me, it feels like time is taunting me. i hope people are right and that with time it eventually gets easier.  All I know is that I discovered my strength even when I thought I had none because of this tragedy. I seen for myself that I am tougher, more resilient, and one hell of a woman.

I have dived head first into a fire and burned for it, but it was in that fire I was forged, and out of that fire a phoenix was born…I found me.

The Raw Insight of Marriage or Any Couple

It has been a while since I have blogged. I have had some bumpy months. Although these past months were filled with many emotions and lessons I can honestly say that I do not regret them. I have to see the silver lining. The bottom line throughout all of these months: I learned again that the man that I married is not only my best friend, but my absolute heart.

Marriages always have their ups and downs, the secrets, and the greatest of memories. Every one is always so full of advice but no one ever wants to get down to the grit of it. No one tells you that you will have to learn to forgive and in some cases, forget. They hide the fact that some times you have to refresh things and some times, fall in love again. They lie about going from being in a relationship to getting married changing things. They also lie about how much children change things.

I feel as a mother it will be my sole responsibility to educate my children when they embark on a life of marriage or partnership with a person about the muck no one else wants to tell them. I felt like I had a curtain pulled away from my eyes when I had my first son, and now that I have been with my husband for fourteen years, I feel that the blurred is now sharp. Do I feel bitter? No. I feel enlightened.

Throughout the turmoil and the days when I felt like I could not possibly stand on my own two feet I found that I have angels at my back pushing me up and an extra set of hands and feet are keeping me pillared. My husband has been the mountain that never bowed even when I tried to knock him over. It is very true when you build a life with a lover that if they really love you they will stay no matter what (and I am not talking no matter what in cases of abuse, etc.) He stayed. He pushed. He held. He wiped tears. He yelled. He soothed and he said nothing.

There are times when we do not give our partners enough credit, or credit at all, when it should be given. We are not perfect and forget things, say things, and do things. What is important is to say that you are sorry, mean it, forgive, and move on. -And some times, forgive eventually. You are cultivating a friendship, a deep bond, not just a marriage. One does not drop when the other one starts and so many people lose sight of this and that is when a marriage can fail or break through the barrier.

I have a deeper respect for those that have successfully stayed together for many, many years. What I mean by successful is that they still are very much in love and not just living in the same house together. I understand that there are so many things that can break a couple apart. So many tragedies and some things that people are not willing to forgive and let go–BUT–I consider losing a pregnancy right under the worst things that could tear a couple apart (the first being the loss of a child). With that said, our loss could have torn us apart, but it did not. I cannot for the life of me look back and reason how it did not, because every thing seems like a blur. I only know without any doubt that if it were not for the man that I married I would not be where I am today.

I had always wondered before what people meant when they said they fell in love all over again and often thought “why would you need to?” I get it now. If we are lucky it happens over and over and with it comes a much stronger love than before. Even if it means climbing up the mountain, climbing out of quicksand, and swimming through the strongest currents. Sad to say that it also means there will come a time when you must tell people, no matter who they are, to stay out, and learn to ignore opinions and chatter. A relationship belongs to you and your partner, no one else, and in the end, it is yours not their life that you have to live. It is absolutely worth it when a connection is rendered unbreakable. There goes that saying, “If you can make it through this, you can make it through any thing.” Absolutely true. At least they did not lie about that.

 

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Photo Credit: Valerie Vasquez

Get Ready Set, Spring!

Do you ever feel like your calendar consumes you? I have, we have, been so busy lately with events and unplanned things that finding time for just ourselves seems out of view sometimes. I cannot even blame the kids and say it is their friends with all the birthday parties. It is actually our friends and family with the weddings, babies, and birthdays. I enjoy these things for the most part, but I also cannot wait for a break!

Just May alone has some thing planned every weekend. We have a private mini-vacation, just the husband and I, the first weekend of June and we cannot wait! We are so excited, as this is our first vacation alone in some years, and we need the break from every day life. I am fearful that this summer will run past me while I am busy attending all of these events. Yet, I am grateful there is so much to celebrate this year.

I am really starting to get a new meaning for the word “home”. It just takes on a whole new shape when it becomes your absolute sanctuary. As beautiful as the weather gets on some days, these are the days I am more than happy to have a few windows open and just relax indoors with my family. It seems like the winter lull kept us indoors and now the spring freshness has us running the streets. Funny how that works! We crave for better weather and to be able to stay outside, but when it gets here sometimes we need a break from that too! However, this is only the beginning of a wonderful season. It has started off with a bang for my family, and I hope it ends just as well for mine and yours. Image

Muting the Background Noise

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Lately, I have been discovering the importance of taking time to myself. I have three boys, and although it sounds like a lot, it does not seem so most of the time. There are days when it is more than I could have imagined, but nevertheless, it makes things fun and different. I can go day-to-day without ever skipping a beat, but every now and then a wrench is thrown into the spokes and I have to stop to gather myself.

I know some people think “How can you need a break? You do not even work?” A full time mom is a lot of work mentally, physically, and emotionally. You cannot put it down and pick it up the next day. Add to it the daily nuances and the once-in-a-blue-moon drama that occur from one angle or another…some times the pressure builds, and it becomes too much. In order to release the stress in a healthy manner I choose to venture away from home. It helps me clear my mind and not even think about some things without the background noise. It is that breathe of fresh air we all need every-so-often to renew ourselves.

There are some moms that think, “How can you need a break?” and some husbands whose first reactions are, “what is wrong here at home?” It is not the kids, it is not the husband, it is not the home environment. It is the need to step away and recharge, gain clarity, and take the pressure out elsewhere instead of on your loved ones. It is the simple pleasure of not having some one tugging at you, beckoning you, and just simply being able to think in one direction or not at all if you want. Go ahead and think, “Why not exercise or some thing?” I do. Five out of seven days of the week. It is my normal. I need some thing different. Is that too much to ask or do on occasion? And by myself if I choose? I do not think so. It is very important to not forget yourself, your own individual self.

A Fairytale Taboo

Where do I start? I have been with my husband for fourteen years. It does not feel like it has been very long but people beg to differ. We were fifteen when we met and at sixteen decided we were in love. I have been told we are the “fairytale” couple. –That scares me. That feels and sounds like a taboo.

I do not, we do not, aspire to be a fairytale any thing. Our journey has not been perfect but we have managed to figure things out and stick together. I do not by any means think that people perceive our relationship to be perfect and dubbed it a “fairytale”. I know they feel like we are the perfect example of working things out and keeping things smooth. I understand not every relationship is the same. There are couples that like to argue, couples that are indifferent in many ways, couples that put up a facade and I know there are couples out there like us that scarcely hit any bumps.

People scoff at me when I tell them we hardly argue. It is possible. How? LOTS of communication. I have to say I learned a great deal from watching other people around me. I saw what they did or did not do in their relationships. I decided to take the good key elements and use those to build the foundation in mine. So far, it is working.

The biggest thing I learned was to never withhold any thing. Money, feelings, opinions, and especially love. I have watched relationships fail because two people focused on the financial aspects of things, some did not speak when they should have, others did not want to tell the other what they really thought. I know some want to cool down before entering into discussions, but some just avoid confrontation all-together.

What works for us? We do not walk away from each other. We try very hard not to yell because frankly, when one starts to yell no one is listening. We decided a long time ago we would not ever call each other out of our names and we would talk until we worked it out. A major pet peeve of mine, seeing couples bicker or cut down each other in public. Words hurt, name calling hurts. We refrain because you cannot take those things back. I do not want people to look at either one of us and have pity or prejudge any part of our life. A heated moment does not represent my relationship. A public heated moment makes for fools and does not properly represent any person.

I know it sounds corny, but Cliff and Claire Huxtable had it right when they said they agreed to never go to bed angry. So, we do not. I love my husband dearly and the last thing I want to remember is a bad moment, a moment I missed in loving him because tomorrow is never promised–or any next second for that matter. That last sentence probably represents my relationship to the core. I never want to leave this earth without saying or doing every thing I could have or should have. I do not want regrets, or any loose-ends. That is why I feel communication is the biggest key to our successful love.

When you gain the wisdom of being able to live each day as if it were your last, to love with every ounce inside of you, and to be the best person you can be, you become infinitely grateful for the things most people have not. Whether you think so or not, it also propels you onto a positive path for your life. Every one wants a positive path. Every person also deserves the best from you at least once. If they have blown that chance, walk away. No harm in saying you are done.

So, I ask you, did you part ways on a good note or a bad note? –And how does that make you feel?

Happy

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I was watching this lady across the street pull her two kids in a sled down the sidewalk. It made me think of my childhood and the many days spent outdoors enjoying nature. My parents pushed us kids to always play outside. They kept us active. Now, I do the same for my sons. I get a joy from being able to explore things with them from their point of view. I know many wish they can go back in time, but I am very happy with being an adult for the simple fact that I get to rediscover sledding, the beach, and the zoo with them. I am more able to take in the moment as an adult and I am more aware. It is a wonderful feeling. I would not trade these moments for any chance to go back. Ever.

Helping Hands

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I have three little boys sick with colds. Plus one is teething. To say that I am exhausted is an understatement. Today has been filled with an early rise to wash my floors since my four year old decided to “wash” them for me last night with hand soap. I had to start the laundry and clean the bathroom. Let’s not forget I also start my dinner early because my four month old requires a lot of attention right now. Normally, I do all of these things any ways, but when your kids are sick and they keep you on your feet it becomes a day filled with ‘have to’ instead of ‘normals’. 

My nights are currently filled with some ones little foot jarring me in the back or a child crying for mom. It is those moments you do not dare try to get daddy to go instead because they are sick and want mommy. It is important that you respond to them and it is vital that you reassure your own worries that they are fine and sleeping.

I can never fall asleep right away after tending to one of them. It takes my body a while to come down from the initial jump start which makes it even harder to get out of bed come morning. It is these days that I anticipate the quick passing. It hurts me to see my children in pain of any sort and just miserable. Especially my four month old. He is too little to give any thing and some times home remedies are not enough.

Of course, the worst part of having a house full of sick kids is the aftermath. I get to clean every thing all over again and disinfect. Do not forget to air out the house either. The thing I loathe the most, my body completely says, “Okay, now it is your turn to crumble.” -And I do. Despite my efforts to remain healthy. I end up getting wiped out and depending on my husband to man the bases.

Of course, through all of this there is a silver lining. I have heard that it takes a village, but I never really understood until these moments. I call in reinforcement. I know that if I do not get better soon which requires good rest, it will be a disaster. These are the days and weeks I am completely thankful that not only is my husband a great partner, but my mom, my sister, and mother-in-law become life savers. They do not try to over-parent me, but do exactly as I ask, help. When that time comes for me to become a grandma I pray that my kids let me return the many helping hands that I had while raising them. This is one of many things I constantly remind myself I MUST keep in rotation.