Saturday, April 12, 2014


You knew I would get around to this one eventually.

K is for Kids

My theme for this year's A-Z Blog Challenge is loosely entitled-Married with Children. Mostly I'm trying to focus on the married piece of that three word phrase, but the 'with children' portion is worth mentioning here too.  

I think there are two or three make or break issues in determining if someone is right for you, and one of those issues would be children. As in, yes we both want children someday, or no we're both very certain we don't want children ever. People can and do change their minds of course, but I tell my daughters to assume the way he feels now will still be true ten years from now.

Can you live with that?

If you know going in you're on opposite ends of the spectrum in your feelings about having children, and you get married hoping and praying your spouse will change his mind, well you're setting yourself up for heartache, and potentially a break up down the road.

Marriages quite naturally change once kids are added to the mix. Children open up a well inside of you whose depths you were unsure of prior to those little creatures burrowing their way into your heart and home.  There  have been moments since having children where I thought my heart might literally burst from the joy I feel inside. Becoming parents adds a depth and richness to the relationship between husband and wife that is a remarkable thing.

It also adds conflict, stress, and layers of complexity and need, that didn't exist before you had children. Only someone who has never been awakened six times in a seven hour stretch of the dark dead of night would say they were going to have a baby to make an ailing marriage better.

I don't know about you but my level of snappiness and impatience (with everyone, but my husband in particular) rises in direct proportion to how much or how little sleep I'm getting. When Daughter2 was a newborn there were many days I felt like I'd been steamrolled. Literally run over with a steam roller. I remember once bursting into tears at a family dinner, and my sister (who didn't have children at the time) asking why I was crying.  I screeched back, 'Because I've gone 56 nights in a row without more than two consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep, that's why!!'

I was a delight.
Hubs was tired too.

He had a job with a long brutal commute, and gobs of travel. I was on my own a lot with a baby who didn't sleep and a toddler who wanted my attention. Hubs loved his girls to the moon and back, but I'm sure he was secretly grateful for a business trip with a quiet hotel stay every now and then.

I mean it with every fiber of my being when I say those early days of parenthood were glorious days, kissed by the sun and full of magic. But there were hours amidst the golden that were just plain hard, and those hours could feel neverending at times. Stress and beauty go hand in hand in the world of raising children, and not just when they're babies either. Kids get bigger and so do the demands of raising them. I think those late teen into early adult years might just be the most challenging of them all, yet in many ways they're also the most rewarding.

Parenting is best played as a team sport, because sometimes it's survival of the fittest-ha! In the early years divide and conquer works since you're bigger than your offspring, but rest assured as they grow and mature you will too. You'll discover where your hubs strengths and weaknesses lie in the parenting department, and he'll come to know yours. You zig and zag in a lifelong dance that requires gentle strength, finesse, and humor.

More than 25 years after we first marveled at our newborn baby girl, I still like the boy I married. That may sound a little silly to say, but it matters. A lot. There is great value in remaining connected as husband and wife apart from the bond you share as parents.

Because in what feels like all of a sudden, it's just the two of you again.

I'm pretty sure you never stop caring, loving, forgiving, guiding, praying and listening to your children. What those actions might look like in practice changes, but that well they cracked open inside of you is still wide open. Your heart remains ever exposed and vulnerable to your child's hopes and dreams and hurts and heartaches, even when that 'child' is 20-something. Or fifty-something my mom would say.

Easter, 1992

Being a parent has been the greatest joy of my life.
Parenting alongside my hubs has only made it sweeter.


  1. Another post I soo totally relate to. As we raised our 4 I honestly don't know what in the world would have happened to any of us had it not been for my hubby, but he tells the story that he would have been lost without me. Especially when my daughter hit those late teen early adult years. Bottom line? It was a team effort. It is soo a team job. He's be strong when I was weak and the other way around. My 3 sons as teenaged boys would have challenged ANYONE trust me. My husband was a saint. lol Hunting them down sometimes and doing what needed to be done with 3 strong willed, independent thinking boys. And my daughter was her own worst enemy with her perfectionist ways. And yet there is always someone there whose heart would swell with pride and heart would burst with love and wanted all the same things you did. And now of course comes the reward....the grandkids. Sharing those sweet little things with my hubby is certainly one of life's greatest joys. We ooo and ahh together and spoil and love and dream and hope and send home to their parents to discipline and raise. LOVED this post. Enjoy your week-end!

  2. Kathy from TCKK's letter "K" touches on something you said. She quoted Benjamin Franklin "Keep your eyes wide-open before marriage half-shut afterward?" I was intrigued and found this answer which I thought was very good. You may want to pass this one to your daughters. "It means that you should be very cautious while you are dating. Be aware of your intended's faults. Be sure that these faults are not important to you. It means that you should be very forgiving after you are married. Don't allow your spouses faults to become overwhelmingly apparent."

  3. Yes, children are a ray of sunshine for sure. But, oh, they never stop pulling on our heart strings, no matter their age. And, yes, our spouse plays a leading role as well. I was so blessed, my Hubby owns his own business and could take a lot of time off to spend with us and it was such a blessing.

    A great post and so much fun to read. Enjoy your time with your girls!

  4. I think that LIKE is the difference between a so so marriage and a really good one. One of the sweetest things Honey has ever said was when we were on our first vacation alone in about 18 years. He looked over at me in the car and said he he could retire with me. He is a big old hunk of honey!!!

    Going back to early childhood with you made me TIRED all over again!

  5. You tell your stories so well!! I missed those early years with our boys, since they were 16 and 20 when they entered my life. It makes me sad, at times, that I didn't know them as little ones. Great post!!

  6. I agree with Teri D., you tell your stories well! I had to laugh out loud at one particular part :)
    I felt like I'd been 'steam rolled', too, by the time our middle child finally came to his senses and became the person I'd always hoped he'd be. Those teen years can be brutal, sometimes!
    I agree, parenting has been my greatest joy, and I'm so grateful all of my children are now getting to experience it. ( I was worried about Brad missing out on that opportunity.) I have noticed that my children seem to be aging more rapidly, than before though. Children have a way of doing that to us :)