13
Jan

I'm getting older too

"I built my life around you".

I have spent years of my childhood and young adult life building a life around proving someone wrong. Standing up for myself, standing up for what I can do, walking through fear, and saying "I can" to myself (even when I knew I was in over my head). It was lonely, it was scary, it was overwhelming, and it consumed my every thought. 

But, it also served me very well. It got me through, it told me I really can do hard things. It allowed me to walk and keep walking through fear and it defined real bravery for me. It showed me what strength really means and it taught me that I can. It reminded me I will never be confident, I will always and forever be afraid of everything, but I still can and will do things. 

I always had you in the back of my mind, I was always trying to prove to you how wrong you were about me, and although I will never shake this feeling, I also know I have to stop trying. The one thing I never wanted was for you to have control over me, my decisions, my life and instead, what I willfully gave you is full control. Because every move was to either hurt you or prove you wrong. And even though it has been almost 20 years of no longer wanting to hurt you, I still set out to prove all I had accomplished without you. I still clung to wanting you to finally see how strong I am, what I can do, what I have built, not because of you, but in spite of. You will never feel that way, I know you won't. You too are trying to protect yourself and your bubble and you need to feel as though I have always needed you and every decision I made on my own led me down the wrong path, not to the life I built.

You have gotten older, you are who you are, who you have always been, and you are trying. Not to change, but trying to be in this world. Not to accept it, not to embrace it, not to let things roll off your back but to be in it. That all by itself is a major accomplishment for you right now. Me, I'm getting older too and I am headed in a different direction this year. One that reminds me that it is time to put this part of me to rest.  And although I can tell myself that I have already done that a long time ago, what I really did was say goodbye to the anger and blame, what I still carried was proving myself. 

Because like I said, proving myself to you has served me well. I have felt a determination and grit and truth be told, if I put that down to rest, what else will I let go of and who will I become? I have been afraid to let this last part of us go. As I have watched you age, I realized this is not a game we play together, I am in it alone. You do not realize I am even playing, you are just living. And maybe, just maybe, you too are playing a solo game of she needs me. I do not need to know this, I do not need information on how the game has worked or hindered you. I just need to stop showing up for my part.

I am me because of so much that I have gotten from you. My hard work, determination, grit, sleepless nights, working fingers to the bone, and loving loudly, loving deeply, showing up for those you love, all come from what you taught me. I am also me from what I learned for me. Like to love kindly, to not have those around me be afraid of me, to be open and let them know we are a team and I always have your back, those are things I do better. There are so many things I thank you for, many others I have reminded myself that like all of us, you did the best you could with what you had.

So, not out of spite, anger or resentment, but with love...I am trying to build a different life now. One that is not built around you. One that starts with the foundation which has a mixture of all you have done well mixed in with all I want to do better. This will not be a snap of the fingers, there is always still stuff, I will of course linger too long in the past. I will of course think of a situation that will bring me all back, I will of course be reminded of the anger I held, of the burden I felt I carried, of the times it was just me. But it is time for me to embrace all change, and this is a big part of it. It is time for me to end this hold. I do not need to prove myself to you, I know who I am, what I have, what I still need, and I won't lose sight of that. I am willing to let the resentment go and allow you to think there was a need there, because, in some reality, there was. And more importantly I love you and want what is best for you. That is the meaning of love. I wish nothing but the best of what this world can give you and what you deserve after all you too have sacrificed. 

I am thankful for my life that could have gone in so many different directions. I am thankful for who I found and who I hold close. I am thankful for my foundation that told me I should expect better out of people. I am thankful for our relationship and my understanding of what has transpired. I am thankful that I get to wake up and be with the people I love most. I am thankful for how hard I work and the plans I make. I am thankful that I have goals and I am even thankful that I am still scared because I can relate so well to those that feel too frightened to move. I am thankful for all I have accomplished and even of my years of trying to prove you wrong, even my years full of anger, they have all brought me to a different place. They have all contributed to the final product. I walked through a lot and I found love and joy. I found what I was always looking for, family as I define it. 

"Well, I've been 'fraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm gettin' older, too
I'm gettin' older, too"

11
Jan

Five Minute Friday - better

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on better.

Go.

It's my year of change, my year to embrace it, my year to wrap it around me. And unlike the me of yesterday, today's me cannot focus on better. I cannot focus on improvements, I cannot focus on getting better, getting more, I need to stay grounded in grateful and grace.

So many changes are coming my way, so many scary moments for me, so many things to let go, so many things I have been meaning to say goodbye to, so many things I have never wanted to say goodbye to but am being reminded the choice is not mine to make. And so, in this drastically changing year, I will focus on staying right here. My mind always races to the future, always lingers in the past, and although I have my plan, although I have a path to keep me okay, better is not in my plan. Better cannot be what I spend my time on, better cannot be a part of me this year.

Because this year will be a wonderful challenge. This year will be building the foundation of all I have planned, this year will be ever changing. And I cannot say that it will be better, I cannot say it will be glorious, but it is necessary. And although I am not making it all better, I still have growth in mind, I still have changes I need to make for me, for them, for us. Is it possible they will make us better? Yes, but that is not the goal, the focus, the end. I am okay, I am trying and I am doing the absolute best I can for right now. Better is the me of yesterday, the me I have to let go, the me that strives for too much. Today, I will be ignited by change and the new me I need to become.




6
Jan

Lessons learned

We have covered a lot of ground, haven't we?
We grew up together, meeting exceptionally young.
We fell in love for very different reasons than why we are still in love.
Because we both changed and continued to grow.
We put a lot on ourselves, we have made some big changes and major decisions.
We have moved countless times, our biggest one leaving city living for an area we hoped to fall in love with and did.
We have worked countless different jobs, doing anything to make it work out and did.
We have paid off countless debt with three degrees and cars and a wedding and a home and a renovation.
We have been through disease and loss and fear of the unknown and concern.

We have aged, drastically aged, and we still think the other is adorable.

In many ways, our life has been like a videotape, me hitting fast-forward, spending too much time in rewind, and you hitting pause and stop.
And after all this time, there is little we know about marriage and couplehood, all these years later, there is very little we can share as any sort of advice, other than find your family.
But, there is a lot we have learned about each other and after almost two decades, lots we do well, lots we still need to figure out. Lots we hope to pass down to you both, lots we hope you do better than us, lots we hope to do better than we are. With each change, each new direction, we struggle, we stumble, and we come back to touch toes.

There are lessons though, some we made the hard way, some that took someone else's opinion, an outside point of view to finally see clearly, some that work just for us, some that just plain old work. And lessons learned mainly means these are areas we messed up on loves and finally saw the light at the end of some pretty dark tunnels.

Lessons like there is no such thing as 50/50.
We're a team, we figure it out, we fill in gaps.
Yeah, we have our responsibilities and yeah, more of the day to day falls on me and more of the big projects fall on dad.

But what I finally came to realize is, what is important to me, gets done by me because I want it done. And if I want it done, that means I do it without complaint and without resentment. If I no longer want it done, I can leave it or I can ask for help in that moment. I cannot rely on anyone to do things that are only important to me because they honestly don't even see them in their path.

Lessons like the little things in any family, with every connection you have in life, really make all the difference. Remembering to make two cups of coffee on the weekend, remembering to plan little surprises, a hug in the middle of chaos, a hotel stay in town, a surprise sitter, a note left out of love. Small, little ways of reminding those you love that you do love them. Grand gestures mean nothing and are not possible when you are in the thick of it, it's the small that will always and forever matter.

Lessons like it is easy to love in the good and even easier to love in the bad, it's the ordinary that needs attention. And it's in the ordinary that you spend most of your lives. It is in finding love while parenting and doing the laundry, and figuring out the bills, and fighting over who ate the last of the ice cream, it's still wanting to be with that person in the every single day of life.

Lessons like be close. Connect and that means no electronics and talk. That means sitting on the couch and touching. That means sleeping next to each other, that means holding hands. That means connecting in the car ride, that means looking at each other, that means hugging for real a few times a day. Be close to those you love and keep them close.

Lessons like one person is a little more responsible for the joy in the relationship. And my biggest lesson learned, that can flip-flop. The one that naturally has joy in their heart will also find themselves staring into a void of unhappy and dark and it will be up to the other to bring the joy. It will be up to the other to make the silly jokes and laugh harder and bring their attention squarely on to joy.

Lessons like you each have a decision to make to stay and keep going. And there will be times you both really don't think it's a good idea and it is the other to ground you back to who you two really are. But, you each have the power to walk away, you each have the ability, you each decide every day, you are who I want to say good morning and goodnight to. You are home.

Lessons like, we give the whole world the benefit of the doubt, give it to each other and think the best of them too. Have them catch you praising them, praise them in public and praise them behind their back, and praise them to their face...praise them for their effort and praise them for loving you the way that they can.

Lessons like sometimes someone will love you with all they have, in the best way they can and it is not the way you "need" to be loved. There will be moments you will feel so lonely and unloved and you need to remember that feeling unloved is not the same as not being unloved. We all give and receive love differently and it is rare for it to match. Find what fills you full, communicate the hell out of it, and know they are doing their absolute best.

Lessons like after 18 years of us and on this day, 13 years after saying I thee wed, well, it's still us. Lovies, I found my person and I was so lucky. It came with such ease and grace in the beginning and I fell so hard for joy and love and laughter. When that ease faded and life got complicated, I got worried, but never your dad. He is always teaching me that it is always and forever us. Learn from the man who built a foundation that he knows will never crumble, he never doubts, he never wavers. He believes in us and because he is so confident, I do too. I have learned that family is the craziest ride of our entire lives and here we are. We have our seatbelts on, we have helmets secured, and we are not going to stop this ride for anything. My biggest lesson learned is that we are in this together and there is no breaking that. 

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