Back in January I published a post about sacrifice and how in 2020 I was prepared to sacrifice some "me" time and social gatherings for time with my family. I was yearning for time with them and appreciating the memories we had been making together, just the four of us. I was reflecting on how quickly the time really does go by with kiddos and how they grow up in what seems like lightning speed. Thanks to TimeHop we are reminded daily of what once was and how blinking has made them grow inches taller in no time at all. In a round about way I kind of asked for this time with them. Honestly, it's been a blessing to just be home and to not feel guilty about missing out on other things or passing up other opportunities, because we're being forced to stay home. Secretly, I kind of like it (insert gasp here).
I have often considered myself an extrovert, outgoing and overly expressive, but as I get older I am realizing that I am actually an extroverted introvert, also known as an ambivert. I am a mix of the two; I enjoy selective social gatherings but I am a home body. I love meaningful conversations but can't deal with small talk. I fear missing out on fun times with groups of people but would choose a movie or Netflix on the couch with my favorites any time.
This stay at home time has been a gift for some people, ambiverts like me. I get to spend my days (all days) with my two favorite kids. I get bonus time to make memories with this family of mine and watch my kids learn. I get to appreciate what they know and what they need to know. I see their interests come out in their home school work and I die laughing over the things that come out of their mouths every day. They've gotten closer with each other too. They spend a lot of time with each other and are really bonding over outside exploration, teaching each other games and inventing new ones together. I am getting time to teach them life skills like folding laundry, dusting and vacuuming. And for the love of God, they are becoming familiar with where the heck things go when they need to be put away!
During the "normal" school year, I often envy their teachers, that get to spend more time with them in a day than I do for five days out of the week. My time with them is spent in the car transitioning from one activity to the next, or watching them do their thing from afar. We save a few hours each weekend to snuggle and really talk, that's it. Well now they can't be in in school or do any of the things, our calendars are completely clear and free to just be together doing what we want to be doing (at home).
Do I miss my family and friends? Heck yeah! Do I miss the hugs? Beyond measure! Do I miss laughing and making memories with my other favorite people? Absolutely! BUT, I am choosing to see the silver lining in this and to appreciate the bonus time that I've been given. I love that friends and family from afar have been able to get creative together and problem solve. That we've all found new ways to be together. In a way, this distance is bringing me closer to the people I love outside of my home too.
I know that not everyone is like me, and not everyone shares my feelings and that not everyone has kids or people to be with during this time. I get you too! It's hard for so many and absolutely heartbreaking. We can easily get wrapped up in the sadness of it all and how depressing a lot of this really is. Today I am feeling good about being at home, sharing time with my main squeezes and getting to be involved in ALL of their business. Tomorrow, I could feel differently. That's the thing about this, we don't know how we're going to feel when we wake up, we don't know what each day is going to bring us. All I know is that I did kind of ask for this, maybe not in it's entirety (I certainly didn't want anyone sick, or mourning lost loved ones. I certainly didn't want anyone to lose their jobs, or their lives. I didn't ask for anyone to be experiencing stress, sadness or loneliness), I just simply whispered a yearning for more time with my kids and I've gotten it. I am choosing today to be grateful for that answered, passive prayer and to see the silver lining in this mess. When it all does go back to normal (because it will, eventually), I am going to look at my time with others differently and cherish this bonus time I had when our calendars were clear and free and empty. I am going to miss this when we get wrapped back up in the chaos of every day life. I am going to yearn again for time with my family and will look forward once again to weekends with no plans. So today, I am documenting my grateful heart and feeling blessed with time.
For teachers, this is the best week of the whole year! It's Teacher Appreciation Week! It's the week we are celebrated for our hard work, dedication and passion. I personally love this week the most because it is the week of Mother's Day too, BONUS!
I woke up this morning feeling so super sad though while I reflected on not being able to enjoy what this week is really supposed to be. A week of extra hugs and extra loves from my kiddos (and by my kiddos I mean my students) and extra acknowledgment and appreciation from those around me who recognize my hard work. This is the week I celebrate and reflect on the job I signed up for. Reality is, being a teacher isn't all peachy, it's tough stuff. Some days I dream of winning the lottery and just walking away (hard truth). Some days I question why I ever chose to do a job so stressful, or a job with so much accountability and so many different hats to wear. I definitely didn't do it for the pay or the time off (though the time off is a bonus). I did it because I LOVE kids and I care about the kids I was given. Those hats teachers wear, are hats worn by choice. I choose to be the one to fix their sad hearts, or their scraped knees, I choose to be the one to help them problem solve and council them through tough situations. I choose to be the one to love them and support them and care about them. Right now that choice isn't mine and that flat out stinks. Spending my days with kids can be exhausting and there are days I feel like I am the mean grump just groaning and moaning and nagging kids to behave or do what I've asked them to, that's reality. BUT it's the small moments with kids that keeps me coming back. The moments that bring me to tears because all of my hard work with them has paid off, or their successes have them feeling so proud and in turn it makes my heart burst with pride for them. The moments of pure kindness and joy and love from a kid aren't even comparable to a day in an office. Kids are innocent and truthful and they mean everything they say (good or bad). They keep life simple every single day and I have never appreciated that more than I do now.
The truth is, while I love the extra time I am getting at home with my own kids, I am having a very hard time not squeezing the little faces of the 26 other kiddos I love. I want to so badly tell them to their face in the flesh how proud I am of them. I want them to know that they are conquering something pretty darn awesome right now and they are true rock stars for being so flexible. I want them to see it in my body and hear it in my voice and feel it in my squeeze so that they REALLY know how I feel. I want them to feel how much I love them and miss them. I miss those connections with them and being able to see in their faces how they are really doing. Videos, and Zoom meetings, and voice recordings are just not what I signed up for. It is not the way I want to be connecting to my kids. It is not the way I want them to be sharing exciting things with me. It is not the way I want to learn their news or their happenings. This is not my why. The why in my job is away from me and I get the reason, this is just my platform to whine about it not being fair.
This week when you are thinking about your child's teacher or the teachers you know, understand that we are all in mourning, we are sad and we are frustrated, and we are missing OUR KIDS, feeling less than whole without them. We wanted more than anything to be celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week with the kids we share every day with. We want to be celebrating each other and celebrating the best dang job there is. It's not easy or glamorous or desirable but it sure is impactful and full of so much joy and has made my life rich with adoration and love. I am grateful to God every day that he called me to teach, to be able to spread a love for learning and to be a part of the lives and memories of so many little people. Despite so much, when it all comes down to it, I can't imagine being anything other than a teacher.
As much as I try to stay positive through this unique situation and look for the silver lining in things, that simply isn't all reality for me. Things are just not always perfectly shaped and brightly colored rainbows on my end, which doesn't sit well with my OCD. There are a few issues I am battling, and if I don't address them, I might me missing the chance to relate to some of you, maybe some of you are grappling with the same things and we can problem solve together.
The first, is weight gain or the willpower to stay the heck out of the fridge. I find myself starting each day just like that, a new and fresh start. I begin with my coffee and my lean and light breakfast. I work hard, balance a lot of different juggling balls and quite frankly, I feel like I have conquered the world with homeschooling and home teaching all before lunch. Then I head to the kitchen to make my kids their lunch and I begin to nibble. A little piece of cheese here and there and then I just dive right on in to a salami sandwich. It's just so much easier to eat what I am making for them then to make multiple meals. Then comes the afternoon snacking, what's quick while I am chest deep in emails, online lessons, and checklists for three? A box of Cheez Its, that's quick and damn tasty too! I don't eat the whole box, but let's be honest, even a handful of Cheez Its can cause some damage. Once dinner rolls around, I am filled with good intentions and some nights are good, and then a few nights a week we want to support our community and order take out. Healthy and light options just don't ever sound good or they're not available. I have gained three pounds since the beginning of quarantine and while that might not sound like a lot, it really ticks me off! I know how hard it is to lose three pounds! Ugh! I know that through this we all need to offer ourselves grace and understanding that this situation is unique, however, I just know when we come out of this, I am going to have to work my butt off, literally to lose the salami and Cheez Its.
My next and very real struggle is with sleep. I have been a complete roller coaster with the quality and amount of sleep I have been able to get. The first three to four weeks were awful; I couldn't fall asleep until beyond midnight and then found it very difficult to wake up at a productive hour. I don't know what it was then, worry, stress, the feeling of it just being Spring Break, I don't know. Well then suddenly once my online curriculum was in place, I knew all of my students were good, there was some direction from the Governor and my kids were into a good routine, my sleep got better. I was falling asleep at a decent hour and waking up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. The last few nights have been back to awful for me and probably the worst so far out of the last six (plus) weeks. I am falling asleep at a decent time but now have this witching hour(s) from 3:15-6:15 am. I am out of bed and watching Netflix on the couch just to keep myself from having a complete panic attack about not being able to fall back to sleep. What the heck?! I have no explanation other than the obvious, but for the roller coaster to be happening is just beyond frustrating! Just when I think I have it figured out, boom, I am forced to function as a sleepless zombie and function well.
The other struggle worth mentioning here (trust me, there are more than three for me) is the lack of human connection. I am getting all the snuggles from my kids and husband and for that I am grateful. This time with them sure has been a blessing and has brought us all closer together. We needed this time together, really. I am getting virtual human connection, through apps and online opportunities both written and visual. I am still able to laugh until my cheeks hurt with my friends, and I am having more phone call conversations than I actually would typically prefer. I really feel like these experiences have brought many of us closer together. Our connections have been made stronger because we are relying on each other to talk things out, to check in and to connect more often. However, my friends are going to laugh reading this, but I miss the touch! I need to hug gosh darn it! It's so hard to not reach out and squeeze everyone you know when you see them drive by or walk by, or sit six feet away. Honestly, one of the first things I want to do when we get out of this, is visit all of my friends and family just to hug. It's going to be hard to let go truthfully. Isn't that funny? My friends know (pre quarantine me) was not a hugger. Well post quarantine me will be a hugger! I might even be the squeeze tight and for a little too long, it's getting awkward kind of hugger. I regret all of the times I didn't hug and I fully plan (take note) to make up for those times.
I know all of us are struggling in some way through this and whether your can relate to me and my quarrels with quarantine or you have grapples of your own, it's important to know that you're not alone. I think this time has taught us a lot about ourselves and our needs and we have so much to take away from what we are going through now. The struggles are real.
This crisis that we are all enduring is global, it is effecting everyone on this planet in some way or another. "We're in this together" has been a term used and seen everywhere over the last month. What's been interesting about all of it, is that our battles, our worries, our stresses, although they all stem from the COVID crisis, they are all different. Each one of our scenarios is different. Some of us are working at home while taking care of our families and teaching our children. Some of us can't sleep at night worrying about EVERYTHING our minds lead us to. Some of us are out of a job or have had to close or cut hours for our small business, are going without pay or had our earnings drastically cut and some of us are living each day terrified as we head into work, putting, ourselves and our families at risk.
Through all of this our need for community has been stronger than ever, no matter what community you live in. Our need to take care of our neighbors and be there for each other is extremely necessary. Whether that's a drive by car parade to brighten someone's day, or a phone call to check in on how someone is doing, or a Zoom meeting to lighten the mood and share laughs with friends. We need each other, we need the people around us (6 feet away and beyond).
Anyone who knows Nick and I, are aware that we take a lot of pride in our little town. We love raising our children here and we love all of the little treasures this town has to offer. We are both involved in this community and are passionate about giving back to it in any way that we can, we are loyal to those people near and dear to our family and we have a deep respect for what this community does for each other. Although our day to day has changed and we are working hard to navigate our new routines, schedules and reality, we feel extremely blessed to still be getting paid through all of this. We understand the blessings in this and we understand and appreciate that it is our responsibility to do what we can to help our community get through this.
Many people wonder or feel like there has to be a way that they can be helping through this crisis. We're not on the front lines but just at home doing nothing and although that is helping tremendously, we feel helpless. In our home, we strongly believe that our obligation in helping in this crisis is to support our local businesses any way that we can. We are doing our best to order to go food from our local and loved restaurants, we are donating money to local food banks serving others, we are making purchases and orders at small local shops, we are ordering items online that we might not need now but know that we will need eventually. We are purchasing gift cards for future use and we are doing our best to support those who are coming up with out of the box ways to earn a profit. We feel very strongly that we have an obligation to do what we can to support those around us.
These are small acts that we can only hope will have a positive impact on a community we love so much. We do our best to share opportunities to help with others and hope that our children are learning the importance of taking care of others when you are in a position to do so. Although we certainly don't feel like we are doing enough, we aren't saving lives or putting ourselves at risk every day, we do feel like we are putting in a valiant effort to do our part and we hope that if you're in a position to do so right now, you will too.
We're in this together!
Let me start off with, I am OK. I am not writing this seeking sympathy or hoping for messages of reassurance. I write for therapy, it's what makes me feel better, it's what I do. I choose to share what I write in hopes of justifying the feelings of others who are experiencing the same things. Today, what I am writing about makes me vulnerable for sure, but let me assure you, I am OK, just having a little self doubt and feeling the guilt. Moving on...
It's been a month since I've last written a blog post. March is the craziest, busiest month at school. I put Lucky in Leopard on the back burner because sometimes that's just what you have to do. Little did we know that March at school was going to be cut in half suddenly and we were going to end up at home with all of this extra time on our hands to do all of the things we've been neglecting. I honestly wish that was the case, truthfully though, once school in the classroom ended, I gained two more full time jobs.
I have found my days to be filled with creating and following up on online academics for my students (all of which doesn't count toward instructional time) while making myself available to all of them throughout the day for assistance and questions. I am helping my own children stay on top of their own academics, while keeping them fed, active and entertained and I am staying on top of house management. My husband is considered an essential so he continues to go into work each day to carry out his routine. Our normal (just like most) is that we both go to work, we pass the responsibility of our children off to their teachers and we join together at the end of each day and carry the home and family responsibilities out as a team. Well now I am home, and I am finding that I am putting these responsibilities onto myself, because I am home all day, there is no reason for it to all not get done. This is the pressure that I have been putting on myself for the last two weeks, all while maintaining a stress and worry free persona just to keep things calm for my kids. Today I reached my breaking point, I succumbed to the guilt of not successfully and perfectly fulfilling ALL of my jobs and duties.
Naturally, I had to write it all down. I began make a list of all of the things that were making me feel guilty. I know many of the things seem ridiculous but this is what we women do. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the go to, to get the jobs done, to be the point person and when we fail we beat ourselves up. I am the one who has deemed myself responsible for all of these things, this is my fault, I did this to myself. I forgot to give myself permission to just let some things be and to accept the things that I don't have control over. Writing these things down today gave me the permission to let go and to share the responsibilities. I am still working, I am working even more. Yes, I get to work in my pajamas but working is working. If the dishwasher hasn't been emptied by the time my husband gets home, that's OK. If a parent email goes unanswered, I'll answer it tomorrow. If the kids don't get every task done on their school checklist, they'll do it another day. If we don't get outside today then fine, we'll spend more time outside on a day that the sun is actually shining.
I am well aware that my problems of guilt are minuscule in comparison to problems happening in the world today and in the lives of others. I understand fully that there are people actually going into work each day risking theirs and the lives of their families. I am well aware that people are losing family members and friends that they love. I pray to God every day for these reasons. However, I am not going to make myself feel guilty for losing my sh*t today and letting my emotions overwhelm me, even if the reasons seem petty. If there has ever been a time to give myself permission to let some things just go, that time is now. It's time to take of the guilt and not carry it with me anymore. #outofstyleaccessory
I stumbled upon an article the other day on Facebook or somewhere I was scrolling that said "friendship takes sacrifice". I thought about that for a minute and considered the season in life I am in and I kind of got annoyed. Here I am all worried about missing out on time with my kids and now there's this article making me feel guilty for not sacrificing for my friendships (insert dramatic eye roll).
A few weeks ago I wrote a post addressing my goals for the new year and this next decade. A major priority for me is time with my kids. I have committed to that and made that promise to myself. This time with them just goes too fast and soon they won't want to be with me all of the time and I won't have control over that. I don't want to see them grow up and move on and wish that I had spent more quality time with them. This will take sacrifice, it already has. This means, less time working out, less time with friends, less time being social, less time doing adult only things and less time on my work. I am 100% okay with that because time for all of those things will come. We all have to choose to balance in life and sometimes that balancing happens throughout the day and sometimes that balancing happens according to what is happening in our life right now. I have had plenty of great times being social and making memories having adult time with my friends and being the absolute best teacher I can be and now it's time to have quality time and make memories with my kids and be the absolute best mom I can be.
I had a conversation with someone recently about how social media can be a toxic place in ways that cause us FOMO or guilt or wishing for more or different when we don't even actually want that. It's always interesting to me because I have been that person who wishes she had accepted an invitation to be social or even invited in the first place. However, every time I am, I am wishing I was home with my kids. Honestly, my favorite times are when I am snuggling on the couch watching Disney Plus or playing a board game and snacking with the boys, there is absolutely no place else I'd rather be. Those are the times that they will remember too. When they are older and reminiscing, it will be the little traditions and the quality time we shared together that they will remember.
I think it's important to remind ourselves that sacrifice is essential but that sacrifice needs to be right for right now. Sometimes, we allow ourselves to be guilted into sacrificing for what's not important at this time in our lives. In order to balance what is important we have to sacrifice in all other areas. There is no way that we can give 100% to everything in our life, we can try as hard as we want to but it's just not possible and we beat ourselves up for failing to do so.
I agree that friendship takes sacrifice, but so does everything else! I am choosing to take that pressure off of myself and be ok with sacrificing it all for what matters to me the most right now. Sometimes we just have to be confident in acknowledging what we need and what brings us happiness and give ourselves the permission to be the one who controls that.
Well, here it is the new year, the time for resolutions. I am not a resolution maker, it's just not something that I've ever really been into. However, as you know, I am a reflector. I do a lot of "thinking" and reflecting about things and naturally this time of year reflecting happens a lot, it's a good time to check yourself.
Some of the hot topics scrolling through my head lately are weight (shocker), this blog, parenting and FOMO. These are all things that I feel could use a little more attention on my behalf in order to be the best version of me.
Weight (sigh), this is just a dark heavy (pun intended) cloud that hangs over me always, for years. I go through a cycle every year. This time of year I am always my heaviest, and right now I am actually the heaviest I have ever been (not pregnant). Then I get on a health and fitness kick to prepare for whatever Spring vacation we have planned. I usually drop 10-15 lbs and hang onto that until about half way through the summer. Then I start eating and drinking more and slowly put it and more back on by Christmas and the cycle starts again. This time around I am feeling a little more insecure about this cycle because I post a lot of pictures of myself in clothing for all to see. I worry about judgement, silly I know, but I also am finding it harder and harder to post pictures when I just don't feel good in what I am wearing. That's what's important to me, I don't actually care what the scale says, I care about how I feel in my clothes, and right now I feel blah. So, as the cycle goes, it's time to do something about it. Nick and I are starting a weight loss challenge with a group of our friends next week. This is all for fun but I think a great way for us to be motivated and accountable. The real challenge for me, however, is to actually keep it off this time. To end the cycle and to find balance between healthy living while at the same time indulging and enjoying once in a while.
Next, this blog, this has really been one of my proudest achievements in 2019 and one that brings me so much happiness. It's the one thing I do for me and me only. I would really like to find more time to do this, the writing part. I would also like to not overthink the content I write about and just write, even if that means that just one person got something out of a post and that one person is me. The bottom line is that I am going to keep doing this, the writing, the posting, the instagramming, all of it, because it brings me happiness. It has also helped me to grow so much personally, to accept me for me and to help me to let go of what other's think about me (that's a work in progress).
Then there is parenting, well it's more time with my kids and my family that is on my mind. I posted about how at the end of this decade I will have a senior in high school, a kiddo who will be preparing to leave the nest and head off to college. That thought rocked me like none other. I have ten years to soak up every moment of this parenting thing. I am not saying that parenting ends, but parenting how I know it will end. I want to enjoy this time with my boys and spend as much time as possible having experiences with them and creating memories with our family of four.
Finally, this brings me to FOMO, letting go of FOMO. Often times Nick and I both let the fear or the pressures of missing out drive our decisions on how we spend our time. We will often choose social events over family time. This is something that has never sat well with me. I am not saying that we choose friends over family all of the time, I am just saying that we do have an active social life and I am a homebody at heart, I like to be at home, it makes me feel grounded. There is nowhere else I'd rather be than at home with my boys on a Friday night watching a movie and snuggling with snacks. We are blessed with so many wonderful and active friends who have enriched our lives beyond measure and time with them is still valuable to us, however, time with our kiddos and our small family is what we actually fear missing out on. When our kids are gone and developing lives and families of their own, we will have all the time we want to fill up our social calendars.
So that's that, not resolutions per say, just checkin' myself and acknowledging the ways that I can maintain or grow the things that bring the most happiness in my life. What are you reflecting on? What brings you the most happiness? Make the commitment to focus on those things, put your effort there and let this year and this decade be your happiest time yet.
Having a birthday so close to the year end makes it great for reflecting on the year that it's been. This year I started the year out mourning the loss of my grandma. That was a tough one and a loss that hit us all pretty hard. Fortunately, when something rocks us we usually come out of it better than we were before. My grandma G wasn't the first loved one I had lost but she was someone I was very close to growing up, she was the true meaning of unconditional love. When I lost her I felt like I had gained an empowerment inside that has helped me this year to conquer fears or to at least not let any fear stand in my way of experiences and accomplishments. I took on an "all in" attitude because I know I have her with me, guiding and giving strength.
The first leap was beginning this blog. I launched this blog for all to see six months ago and because of it I have grown an immeasurable amount. I have learned to overcome the fear of rejection, and to not take things personally. I have learned that I LOVE to write, it's really become my passion. I have learned that it's OK to not be everyone's cup of tea. I have learned to just do things for me.
I also raced a horse this year. There's no other way to put that. I raced in a race behind a horse, alongside other horses, in front of a very large and loud crowd. I wore a tiny purple flower pin in honor of my grandma that race too. I knew I needed her with me for that one. This was the most exhilarating experience in my 38 years. I trained for that race for a few months and fell in love with horses. Every time I was behind the horse I felt an adrenaline rush like none other and then of course that rush in the actual race was beyond thrilling and untouchable. I wanted to race again and again once it was over. Funny thing though, when I even thought about committing to that race my palms would sweat and the anxiety inside of me would kick into high gear. I figured I wouldn't sleep for months just fearing that race. I conquered that fear though and I am so glad I did! I can't imagine missing out on that experience.
This year I became an American citizen. After having been a permanent resident for almost 13 years, I decided to go all in and become a voter. Years ago, I was totally fine with just being a resident. I could work here and I could live here and that was enough. Until this year, when I realized that my voice matters, I teach in the public school system and I am a parent and what I think and feel matters. Instead of renewing my permanent resident status I just went for the big title. This took a lot of studying and some intense interviews. I learned a lot about this country, many people believe, probably more than the average American. I was sworn in with 72 other desiring citizens from all over the world. We cried together, sang together and waved American flags proudly together, all with our loved ones present. This was one of the proudest moments of my life. If you haven't been to an Oath Ceremony for people becoming citizens of this country, I highly recommend that you do. You will never experience anything more patriotic in your life. Also, stay tuned for my "I voted" sticker pic in the 2020 presidential election.
In my last year, I also went all in for my job. I became a part of a looping pilot at my school. I moved on from Kindergarten and went to first grade with my same class. This has been so challenging and rewarding all at the same time. I have gotten to know the kiddos in my class far more than I would've ever been able to in just one year with them. As a teacher, you want to be impactful and I wholeheartedly believe that in order to have an impact you have to have a relationship. I am so grateful that this year I was given the opportunity to grow the relationships that I have with 26 kiddos and I get to learn right along side them for 3 more years!
This last year certainly hasn't been perfect, there has been ups and downs, heartache, stress, tears and worry. However, heading into this new year I can honestly say that I have never felt more proud of myself. I know that 2020 is going to bring great things too...some trips and adventures, some new work challenges for both Nick and I. Nick is turning the big 4-0, we're getting a pool and in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the women's right to vote I will vote for the first time in a major election as a citizen of the United States. I will continue blogging and setting big goals for myself. I will also continue to carry my grandma's strength with me through all of it. Bring it on 38!
In memory of G
2/23/1947 - 12/31/2018
Today I was required to meet with an insurance representative at school, something I loathe, anything to do with finance, insurance, taxes, all that stuff. It literally makes my eyes go cross eyed and all I can think about in any of those discussions is how much my palms are sweating.
Following the meeting, a group of my work friends and I were standing around reflecting on how much we all hate that stuff and how we feel bad because we just pass it off to our husbands and trust them to just handle it and take care of it all. At first we were all thinking about just how bad and irresponsible it is that we don't know that stuff, or want to know, that we don't want to be the one to deal with it, that we don't want to be the one to think about it and that we just pass it on.
Rewind, to a week or so ago when I absolutely lit into Nick, my husband, about how he doesn't think about other people, he doesn't do any of the Christmas shopping, or family communicating. How he doesn't plan for dinners, or take it upon himself to organize homework and pre-plan for the boy's social and school calendars. I think at one point in the heated, nagging argument I accused him of not thinking of anyone but himself. Yeah, I feel horrible about that one.
Following, our hallway chat this morning, it dawned on me that we actually do have two entirely different roles in our relationship. That's a team, each member of a team has a position and a job in order for that team to be successful. I can't believe that it didn't hit me in the face sooner, but of course it would't because Nick doesn't gripe at me about the stuff that he does that I don't do. He doesn't ever use it against me when I forward him the health insurance emails I get, or when I forward retirement plan questions on to him. He doesn't ever throw up his arms and accuse me of being irresponsible, he just accepts that as his role, and his job on our team is to take care of our finances, prepare us for taxes, make sure that we are covered in a crisis and that we are planning for our retirement.
Coming out of this, I don't feel so bad now, I don't feel so irresponsible or stupid for putting all of that on him and wanting nothing to do with it. I have my role and my jobs too and I do them well, and I (mostly) enjoy doing them, whereas he wants nothing to do with the list making, the calendar organizing, the thinking about what we can gift to someone, or having outfits ready for school concerts and picture day or managing our home and creating memories for our family. Quite frankly, it scares me to think about how all of that would turn out if it were up to him, and I'm sure it terrifies him to think about how our future would look financially if it were up to me.
The point is, that we each assume the roles that we are best at on our team, if you can think the game and make plays, you play center forward on a hockey team or short stop on a baseball team. If you are speedy and quick with the ball you play forward on a soccer team. If you are big and strong and you have good feet you play offensive line on a football team. A relationship or marriage is just the same, we each assume the roles and positions that we are good at.
The epiphany I had today was that I shouldn't feel bad for not participating 100% in our finances or insurance or future financial planning, it's that I should feel bad for thinking that I do more. In reality Nick does just as much, thinks just as much, worries just as much and tries just as hard on our team, we just have very different, equally important positions.
I can't promise that I'm not ever going to nag again, or gripe about something I am doing that he is not, that's the goal, but not reality. I can promise, however, that my viewpoint on my marriage has changed and I have a new found appreciation for both my role on our team and all that my teammate does to contribute to our needs and achievements too. Go team!
Photo courtesy of Red Fox Market, downtown Big Rapids, MI
Last night we got to enjoy one of the many great events our little town has to offer. It was the annual Parade of Lights that always kicks off the holiday season. I probably say this about a lot of the events I go to around here, but this one might be my favorite. It's just the most beautiful, well attended and magical event. With the lights, and the spirit, and the crowd and the excitement to see Santa Claus at the end, it's all just what makes it a great small town tradition.
This had me thinking last night and this morning about how wonderful it is to live in a small town that provides us with so much including these traditions and ways to make memories with our friends and family. Nick and I both grew up in the small town life and we chose to give that life to our kids too. Right after we got married we moved to the city together and we lasted there just six months. We never felt like we had neighbors or a community there. It wasn't that it was bad, it certainly had many perks, it just wasn't what we knew home should feel like to us.
Home to us is having neighbors that pop over unannounced and are always up for a last minute drink on the back deck. It's both friends and strangers that are willing to drop anything to help you when you need it. It's being at an outdoor event among hundreds and knowing faces on each of the four street corners. Home to us is an announcement on a business sign that prayers for one of our own is needed or that a celebration is in order. It's walking into any restaurant and feeling welcomed as though we've just sat down at a family's kitchen table for dinner. It's entering a local boutique and proudly supporting them knowing that you are making an impact. Home is growing up the same and raising kids together. It's trusting that we're all looking out for each other and that everyone else's kids are the same as our own. It's where everyone's funerals are packed in and weddings are like family reunions. It's where streets get blocked off to share a meal and roll pumpkins or to determine who makes the best chili. It's where you know your local firefighters and police officers and teach their children.
I know some people think that the small town life makes your life small, but that's not the case in the least. Small town life has made my life rich in blessings and relationships, safety and opportunities. It has allowed for my family to build supportive connections and it has given our kids the chance to grow deep roots in a town that is truly proud of them.
Small towns give you small town values and big hearts. I wouldn't trade one single day here in small town USA and besides, the sky in a small town is always the prettiest.
Melissa here! While I'm all about sharing trends, deals, and outfit ideas with you, I have a true passion for writing. I love sharing thoughts on life the most and am excited to share those thoughts with all of you right here!
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