I've been feeling very apathetic for a number of months in case you couldn't tell from my infrequent posting. If I had to put my finger on it, it's been the change in our family structure as of late. Our three youngest are not quite so young anymore. Two are off at college out of state - their rooms sit dark seven days a week. Our baby of the family just turned 16 - her room sits dark except from midnight to 3 am half the week! I know change comes whether I like it or not! This time around I seem to be having a harder time accepting life has moved on.....
If times goes by in a hurry for parents who are lucky enough to raise their kids everyday for eighteen years - it's on warp speed when you only have them half the time. Although, we crammed a full time life into the half time we shared - I'm still left wanting more time. Wondering if I stopped and looked around enough - really soaked up the time with my kids.
To get me out of my funk - I'm taking time to look around at what is great about my life NOW! Seriously, if I don't I'm sure in another four years I'll be crying over not appreciating this time in my life. So here it goes:
- My Hubby and I are reconnecting as a Couple. As our parenting roles are moving to the next phase it feels easier to make our coupledom a priority with less emotional/time demands from the kiddos. I'm really enjoying the couple we have become. We've survived blending our family together with hopefully the hardest years behind us - we've shared our best and worst moments together as partners, parents, people - given new meaning to the term unconditional love - lucky enough to still be best friends! I'm looking forward to getting to know this older, wiser, stronger couple in the years to come.
- Laughing often with my Hubby about completely unimportant things! Laughter was one of the first things to go when we started blending our family. Most days seemed to present a new challenge or fifteen. Trying to laugh at life was hard, but somehow we managed to find ways to bring in it. Today it feels quite freeing to find my Hubby and I randomly laughing at the little, inconsequential things.
- We can take off to Paris on a moments notice! Ok we haven't flown to Paris yet, let alone on a moments notice, but we have been on more spur of the moment dates and weekend getaways this past year than we did over a period of a decade. I'm thankful that we fought to keep our connection as a couple despite the challenges we have faced so far. I love that I have the opportunity to spend more time with the man I gave my heart to 14 years ago.
- "His" Kids - "Her" kids are now "Our" kids: When Raylan and I started blending our family we made a conscious effort to refer to the kids as "OUR" kids in hopes of creating family unity. Although the "OUR" initially started as a statement filled with hope and wishes it now has become one of true meaning. It doesn't mean that we have forgotten or replaced the kids other parents. It means that we see ourselves as a team in raising "OUR" kids - giving them a life full of love, opportunities and experiences we wish for "OUR" children regardless of DNA.
- Having a home that our kids miss. I am grateful to know that the home we created for Jax and Elle is one that they both miss as they embark on this next phase of their life. It never gets old hearing them both walk through the door and say "it feels good to be home!" Although, their rooms sit dark many weeks at a time - they find security in knowing that home will always be here no matter where life takes them.
- Ex Spouses and their Significant Others are very limited in their appearance in our daily life. With five kids on their own adventure and the youngest driving - our interactions with the other parents have become relatively minimal. Their lives are theirs and our life is all ours! Thank God!
If I've learned anything on this blended family ride it's this: Enjoy the ride! Strong marriages and close knit families are not built on smooth sailing day in/day out - they're built on how you weather the sunny skies, as well as the storm clouds TOGETHER!