I got off to a rocky start in the relationship department, sinking nearly 10 years into a boyfriend/husband that was never really invested in me. We were together for a long time, so when we divorced, I looked at that time as wasted. However, when Craig, my meant-to-be husband, came along and we spent more and more time together, I realized how much I had learned from my first marriage. My perceptions changed, and I was truly able to appreciate how much better my life is because Craig and I are together.
We enjoyed our time together as a couple, and when our daughter was born in 2006, she made us better. She made us a family, uniting us more than words or rings can do, without even trying. And when our son was born in 2008, something that we thought could never get any better than it already was did. His arrival made me feel our family was Whole. Complete. Together.
There have been some bumps, cracks, and hard life lessons along our timeline. Raising two babies 18 months apart is a true challenge. Moving, changing jobs, shouldering an unexpected second mortgage, managing extended travel for work, dealing with health issues – none of these are easy. But, because our family has been through these things together, we know we can go through anything and be better than we were before.
Our immediate future is unknown. We are trying to sell our home to get out from under at least one of our two mortgages and put an end to Craig living three hours away from us every week for work. We’ve weighed the implications of moving the kids, losing friends, and all the other challenges that come with relocating. It’s a difficult spot to be in, but my husband and I can rely on each other, knowing that we are strong enough together to do what needs to be done to make things better for our family.
A couple weeks ago we loaded some of our belongings into a trailer to take to storage in an effort to “stage” our home for buyers. As I huffed and puffed back and forth across the front yard, I watched our two children playing with one another, using the furniture blankets as pretend horses, a picnic blanket, bridges over treacherous waters, and more. Craig and I laughed at the various scenarios that were being played out, listened secretively from inside the trailer as our son sang a made-up song in his sweet little treble voice, and then watched as our daughter cuddled her brother, who was laid out on a carefully folded blanket. “What are you doing?” I asked her.
“I’m taking care of him. He’s sick.” she said.
“And who are you?” I asked, expecting her to say she was a nurse.
“We’re brother and sister!” They announced simultaneously.
I turned to Craig and grinned. “This is why it does not matter where we live. As long as we’re together.”
The most important lesson I’ve learned about “making together better” is that it’s not just the adults who hold the power. I’m a Type A control freak, but I am not at the helm of my family’s life ship. Rather, each of my family members share in the charge of making one another better as we sail through this life. We learn from one another, we laugh together, and we hold each other up when the ship starts to toss and pitch in stormy weather. Our little ones tow the rope just as much as Craig and I do. Each moment of our lives may not be super-duper, but in the long run, our family knows that together IS better because we can make anything better together.