Vacations!! I think of glorious time away spent with family or friends, walking down the beach at sunset, delicious cocktails in hand, and time to reconnect with my spouse or family. Does any of this ring a bell? Our lives are filled with so much busyness; work, school, sports, school plays, concerts, and the list goes on. The older the kids get, the crazier we become. Vacations are a chance to relax and focus on what really matters and it’s worth it every single time we’ve decided to take off and take a break.
Today, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to chat about my other half and how sneaking away in the midst of insanity has been one of the keys to keeping us solid. First, a little background! We met when he was seventeen and I was nineteen. I came home from my first year of college and there he was. Our families are both huge and had known each other for many years, but he was one of the siblings that I knew very little about. He had grown into this incredibly handsome, dark-haired, blue eyed, super fit, sporty young man, and I was sold. We began dating that summer and almost thirty years later, I’ve never looked back.
He is my rock. He is my voice of reason. He has seen me at my best, but more importantly, at my worst. He has seen me through the pregnancy and birth of three children, the loss of a pregnancy, weight gain, weight loss, the unexpected death of my mom, the loss of my grandparents, depression, personal struggles, job changes, and so much more. He holds my hand and says, “you’ve got this.” He accepts me with all of my crazy, and doesn’t waver. He is fiercely loyal, generous, kind, an incredible father, loved by pretty much every person he meets, adored by his patients at work, and literally would do anything for anyone. My late Grandmother created the “scale of Nate” on which all other men that entered the family were compared! It still makes me laugh just thinking about it! I am a lucky girl, and I’m so glad that he is on this crazy ride called life with me.
When we were young, we were probably like most. We had no money. My teacher’s salary was barely livable, and he was in school. We were in love, but early marriage can be tough. Although there were many challenges, we made a pact. We promised each other that no matter what happened we would take time to be together. We made sure that we put each other first. We decided that we were enough for each other. We both always wanted children, but whatever happened, children or no children, we were enough. Through any obstacle that was thrown our way, we were enough. We also made a pact that this was our family and as much as we loved our parents and extended families, this was the new family unit. We would build our life together without interference and rely on one another as much as we possibly could. Now this doesn’t mean I didn’t chat with my mom or siblings when I needed a little advice, but I never talked about him negatively and he did the same.
We also made a pact that we would get away as often as we could, including when the kids were very little. Even on a low budget we’d get away. We’d take a drive, go for a walk, see a movie, or simply hang out and talk after the babies were in bed. Almost every week we did this, no matter what the stress level was or our level of exhaustion. This kept us connected and it made us constantly aware that we were indeed enough.
As the years have passed we have a little more financial security than we once did, so the getaways have included some really fun trips, but we still make time for little dates to remember that we are in this for the long haul. We have children in college and a teenager at home, and our lives are not getting any less crazy, but we are still enough. Leaving the kids to take a trip can make us crazy, there’s coordinating rides from the practices, detailed lists to be made, family and friends to organize to help care for the kids, and with me being type A, it was seriously stressful. In fact, it can be down right hideous! But I promise, you’ll get in that car, or on that plane, and you will be so glad that you made the time to escape, just for a little while. You are enough, and if you both remember that, then there’s no doubt you’ll be sitting back thirty years later knowing you made the right decision. You are a couple first, and you are an example to your children, and if children aren’t part of the equation you are an example to each other.
So take time my friends to just be, be with the one that you love, and never forget that you are enough to make the journey great! Peace, and that’s my dish.