Shifting Family Dynamics – What will we do without our people?

I grew up in a house where people would drop by. Without pre-planning or calling ahead; they stopped by just because. We pulled up an extra chair, poured a drink or a cup of tea or set an extra place at the table. They were always welcome, no questions asked.

Recently this German supermarket holiday ad went viral and it has hit us all right in the feels.

It definitely shook me and made me start questioning when it became the norm for families to drift apart?

There was a time when big events, both good and bad, were shared with those you love. Graduations, weddings, babies, they were all filled with loving support from family. You called in your people to help you celebrate your successes and they were more than happy to toast in your good fortunes.

Even more importantly, the moment life knocked the wind out of you, it was your family and close friends that were your support system. They brought dinner, cleaned houses and helped to care for children while you picked yourself back up. You were never alone.

Somewhere through the years the winds have changed and people are retreating into their bubbles. The dynamics in extended families are changing. Suddenly invitations are required, struggles are hidden and stipulations and control surround celebrations.

We have become selfish and guarded. We have built a wall that is intended to keep people out. We have lost focus. We have forgotten what it takes to build our village.

We all live busy lives. Double income families that are just trying to keep their heads above water with soccer practice, dance recitals and homework taking up every free moment of time it can often feel like we have nothing left to give.

Relationships require effort. They require care and feeding. When you don’t nurture you run the risk of having those relationships fall apart.

Social media has given us a false sense of closeness with people. Our pictures of new babies garner 300 likes but who actually visited the hospital or brought flowers to welcome the new addition home? You get birthday messages from people you haven’t seen in 20 years but who actually helped you cut the cake? Messages of condolences are sent via email or text when you have lost someone you love but who shared in your tears?

Distance used to be measured in kilometres from home; how many flights it would take you to make it home for the holidays. That’s no longer the only form of distance. We have family that is within 30 minutes by car and we are no closer to them than we are with family who live an ocean away. Our need to shut ourselves off is pushing us further and further apart.

My mum fondly remembers the hospital room full of people who welcomed my brother into the world just a day after his birth. I will never forget the family dinners we shared every single evening that my son was in the NICU. Dinners that were made with love and brought to us warm every single evening for 6 weeks, just so that we didn’t eat alone.

It was all about people. It was our people. It has always been our people that have made our highs feel high and helped us survive our lows.

If we aren’t careful, if we don’t start focusing on our people, we will lose them.

Sometimes we really don’t feel like setting that extra place but if we stop inviting those we love to the table eventually they will no longer want to join us. What then? What will life be like without our people?

Getting Crafty with Weavy Loops

I am not a crafty person. In fact I am probably the furthest thing from a crafty person you will ever meet. The problem is that I have these grandiose dreams of getting artsy and creative with my kids and usually it ends in disaster and the crafts end up looking like a disaster.

That’s why when I was asked to try out Weavy Loops I was a little apprehensive. I wondered how long it would take me to give up and toss it to the side. Yet, I agreed because I still have a vision of me crafting at the table with my little ones.

As soon as the Weavy Loops arrived my daughter was super excited to try it out and I was super doubtful that I would be able to pull it off.

After getting ourselves all set up, we started watching the videos to learn how the Weavy Loops work. If I were to go back again, I would probably would have watched the videos before I brought the kids in to begin. Since crafting doesn’t come naturally to me, I did have to watch the tutorial videos a couple of times to really understand how to weave.

The kits come with almost everything you need; the loop tools, cords and even little decorative items like stars and hearts that can be used as key chains. The only items I needed to have at home were a tiny amount of tape, a small set of pliers and a little glue to keep the ends from fraying.

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My daughter, who is five, was able to sit on my lap and we got to creating together. Without hesitation, the first thing she wanted to make was a bracelet and she couldn’t wait to wear it to school and show it off.

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She is pretty particular about her hair so I was pleasantly surprised when she suggested that we use the Weavy Loops to make a neat headband for her to wear.

While it did take us a little bit of time to get flowing once we found our groove we had a lot of fun making neat things together. At five years old, my daughter did need a little help, but it shouldn’t be long before she’s able to weave all on her own. I found myself thinking how much fun I would have had with this as a young girl.

As we worked through our little projects we began discussing all the great things we could weave; bracelets, headbands and key chains among other things. You can weave just about anything, adding your own personal touches to almost everything.

When my daughter’s friends saw the cool bracelet and headband she made, they were instantly impressed and wanted one of their own. We decided right then that maybe we would be able to hand make some Christmas gifts using Weavy Loops. We know a few people who would love to receive something handmade from us!

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to try Weavy Loops. To be honest I might have been afraid to pull it off the shelf if I had seen it in a toy store, making an assumption that it would be way too complicated for a novice crafter like myself. Once I tried it, I realized that it’s really not scary at all, it was actually a lot of fun.

My little artist to be, who loves drawing and creating, was so happy to spend quality creative time with her mummy and I am so glad that I finally had the opportunity to get crafty with my little girl.

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Thank You NICU Nurse

During our NICU stay our son was seen by dozens of doctors; surgeons, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, orthopedics and radiologists. He was treated by occupational therapists and physical therapists.

If you were to walk in the room during rounds on a typical day you would have found five or six doctors huddled around his tiny body reviewing his charts. They discussed his numbers throughout the night, their opinions on his treatment and how he was responding. The doctors didn’t always turn to us to include us in the conversation and to be honest we didn’t always understand their language.

If you were to look very closely at the scene you may have noticed someone hovering in the background almost going unnoticed. If you looked hard enough you would have noticed my son’s NICU nurse who rarely left his side during rounds. His nurse stayed close by and tended to my son while the doctors tended to his illness. His nurse always helped us understand what the doctors had said after they left.

Those nurses were our background heroes. They didn’t get the credit that the doctors got and they didn’t search for the praise but they were such an important and necessary part of our NICU journey.

NICU nurse, I don’t know if you know the impact you had on our family.

I don’t think I thanked you.

I hope it’s not too late.

Thank you for quietly closing the curtain to give me privacy when I couldn’t stop the tears.

Thank you for rocking my baby when I couldn’t be with him at night.

Thank you for knitting him hats and booties.

Thank you for reading to him.

Thank you for singing him lullabies.

Thank you for staying with him in the operating room.

Thank you for being gentle with him when he was battered and bruised after hours and hours of surgery.

Thank you for being his advocate and questioning everything, even the doctors, when you felt like he was being given unnecessary treatments.

Thank you for keeping the small bit of hair that was shaved off of his head when the only available vein was on his skull. It was his first hair cut you said when you handed it to us the following morning.

Thank you for teaching me how to bathe him without making all the alarms ring.

Thank you for teaching me how to read the machines he was attached to.

Thank you for helping me hold him without pulling out all his tubes.

Thank you for silently standing beside me while I cried tears of helplessness.

Thank you for helping me see the good I was doing by heading off to pump every three hours.

Thank you for making feel like a normal mother in the moments when I felt anything but normal.

Thank you for celebrating each ounce of milk consumed, each breath taken without the breathing tube, each time the number on the scale went up.

Thank you for celebrating when he was discharged.

Thank you for helping me get through one of the toughest experiences of my life. You were a part of the reason I survived it.

 I know I don’t know the half of what you have seen. I know that even though you always seemed to be smiling, behind closed doors you cried your own tears. I know that in the moments of chaos when alarms were sounding and codes were being called and my world seemed to be crashing down around me, you stayed calm and focused and you made sure that my world stayed upright.

 I hope you know that I felt your hand of my shoulder. I hope you know that I was grateful to see your face every morning. I hope you know just how important you were to us.

I hope it’s not too late to say thank you.

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Another year older and another lesson learned. 37 lessons learned in 37 years.

Another year has come and gone. I keep getting older and not that I expected it to, but time has not slowed down a bit.

The crazy thing about getting older is that with each passing year I become more comfortable in who I am.

I become more confident in the decisions I make and less afraid of making mistakes.

I become more stable.

I become more settled.

I become more of who I’m supposed to be.

Last year I wrote a post about some of the life lessons that I have picked up along the way and that I want to pass on to my children. This year was full of lessons but I decided to choose just one more to add to my growing list of teachable moments that I hope to be able to pass on to my own kids

1 – Don’t ever be afraid to show your vulnerable side. There are times when the only thing that will make you feel better is to cry. The ability to show this side of yourself actually makes you strong.
2 – Do not waste a moment of your life trying to be perfect. Perfection does not exist. We are all flawed. Own your flaws, they are a part of who you are. They make you beautiful.
3 –  Be yourself. Do not try to be anyone else. People will always see through it.
4 – Your job won’t hold your hand when you are sick or dying. Always give it your all but remember it’s just a job. Don’t sacrifice everything else.
5-   Slow down. Enjoy the moment. It will all pass so quickly so take the time to relish in the beauty of life.
6 – Don’t compare yourself to others. You know nothing of their journey and they know nothing of yours.
7 – Try to give people a second chance everyone deserves a second chance. They don’t, however, deserve a third.
8 – No matter how much of a cliché it is, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
9 – Don’t go into debt. It’s more of a hassle to get out of than it’s worth. Live within your means.
10 – No one gives a f*&# about the Jones’ do not try to keep up with them.
11 – Learn to say no. It’s ok to say no sometimes.
12 – Don’t ever make someone else feel bad just to bring yourself up. Don’t be a bully and don’t allow yourself to be bullied.
13 – When deciding on a career path, do something you love. You are going to spend a lot of time working, make sure you love what you do. Don’t think about money first. You will be happier doing something that fills your soul over something that fills your bank account.
14 – When someone tries to bring you down, know that it says more about them than it does about you. Haters gonna hate 😉
15 – You can’t control others. The only thing in your control is you.
16-  Love doesn’t conquer all. Choose wisely.
17 – Read. There is nothing better than getting lost in a book.
18 – If someone loves you they won’t make you chase them.
19 – You never know unless you try. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.
20 – Don’t be flashy. The kind of car you drive, the label on your clothes or the size of your house doesn’t mean a thing. Be modest. Stay humble.
21 – Feed your creativity. It’s necessary for the soul. Find your outlet.
22 – Bad things will happen; a true test of your character is how you pick yourself up when you fall.
23 – Be honest. There is nothing worse than a liar.
24 – Looks always fade. Don’t put your self-worth into what’s on the outside.
25 – See the world. It’s big and beautiful. You will learn so much about yourself and others if you travel.
26 – Demand respect. If someone won’t give it to you, don’t keep them in your life.
27 – You don’t always have to be the best. There will be things you aren’t good at and that’s ok.
28 – Mistakes are how we learn. Don’t be afraid to make them.
29 – Life is a journey. Don’t spend every second worrying about where you’re going, just enjoy the ride.
30 – Celebrate the little things. Use the fancy dishes, wear your best clothes don’t always save it for another time that other time may never arrive.
31-   Touch people. Hug those you love. Kiss them. Hold hands. Cuddle on the couch. The touch of a loved one can soothe even the most battered soul.
32 – Get outside. Fresh air and sunshine is as necessary as food, water and sleep.
33 – Relationships are 50/50, even friendships. Be a giving/caring friend but if you aren’t getting the same back, know that it’s ok to turn and walk away.
34 – If you have a handful of close friends you are lucky. Having a few meaningful friendships is far more important than many superficial ones.
35 – You are stronger than you know. You will have moments when you feel weak. Remember you aren’t.
36 – There is still so much left to learn. Once you realize that you really know nothing, that’s when you know you’re a true grown up

37 – Find beauty in the ordinary. Don’t spend your life waiting for the big, dazzling moments, they are few and far between. True beauty can be found in the mundane; snuggling under the covers on a snowy day, looking at the stars on a summer evening, seeing your children smile. Embrace those moments because those are the real magnificent moments of life.

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Celebrating a year in our not so new home

Just over a year ago I wrote this goodbye to our sweet #38. Though I was excited to start our new life and make new memories, the thought of leaving behind where we began our family was breaking my heart just a little.

I sit here, a year later, sitting on my couch in my not so new home, listening to the breeze blow outside my big windows that offer the most beautiful view of the sunset, and I am unbelievably happy with the decision that we made.

It took me exactly five minutes to feel perfectly at home in my new house. My kids started running around enthusiastically staking out their rooms and very excited that we had two bathrooms upstairs now!

It took me another five minutes to fall madly in love with my new home. The breeze that blows through the entire house. The sun that shines through the huge windows running along the entire back wall, the sound of the birds in the trees outside.

The kids started poking around almost immediately and now a year later my doorbell rings constantly, when it’s working, and the flow of kids through the house is non stop.

My daughter and her friends skip in the driveway and exchange dress up clothes in between bike rides. On more than one occasion, I have walked out to find a gaggle of shirtless boys walking down the street carrying Nerf guns and eating popsicles.

I love it!

I love that my kids can run outside after school to play. I love that there are always tons of kids running the street.

I love that I can drive anywhere in this city in under 20 minutes and that I don’t have to wait in line for 20 minutes at the grocery store.

I love that we can have ice cream by the river and go canoeing in the lake.

I love that we can eat in cute little diners and check out family run businesses.

Me and change? Well, we never mix well and over a year ago I was terrified about moving. I was terribly sad to leave the home where I became a wife and mother; the house I brought my children home to. I silently wondered to myself if we were making the right decision.

A year later we have already created so many memories in our new home. We said goodbye to training wheels, we said hello to full day school, we learned French and we got our first pair of glasses!

Our story continues with a different backdrop. We are building new memories here and they are just as beautiful.

Happiness isn’t determined by the four walls in which you reside. Happiness is determined by so much more than that. It’s about who you share your life with, it’s about the dreams you pursue, the goals you attain. It’s about getting up when you fall and sometimes changing direction. Happiness is made up of so many little things and the place where you decide to lay down at night? That’s the icing on the cake.

 

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Motherhood is a universal language

It wasn’t until I first looked in Mr. T’s eyes did it hit me; the magnitude of what I was about to embark on. Throughout my entire pregnancy, he was this figment of my imagination. I imagined what he would look like, I invented the life we would have together. I envisioned what kind of mother I would be. Then they placed him on my body and he took my breath away. Everything that I had been fantasizing about was tossed to the side. This was real. This wasn’t a story that I was writing in my mind. My needs and wants suddenly seemed less important. He was it. My family changed in that instant. My world became much smaller; I now lived in a world of three; Mr. C, Mr. T and myself. Nothing else mattered. All of a sudden I knew that I would do anything to make sure that he lived a beautiful, happy, peaceful life that helped him grow into a lovely young man who had the courage to follow his own path and find his bliss.

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photo cred: Jennifer Monroy

Exactly two years and 10 hours later my family grew to a family of 4 when Ms. J burst into our world. Though I had been through this once before, again my own imagination couldn’t prepare me for how big my heart would grow to wrap itself around this wonderful little girl. A girl that has taught me more in 4 years about courage, kindness, and acceptance than I had even come close to learning on my own in the 32 years before she was a part of my life.

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This is it. My entire life I had spent wondering where I was going. Each and every path I took just didn’t seem entirely right, as though something was missing. Yet here, in this moment, it seems as though all the stars have aligned perfectly and these two amazing little people fit like a glove into my heart and my soul. Those paths that didn’t feel quite right? They were leading me to my village. The village where I belonged. This village of mothers.

Yesterday, I took my kids to the park and as I pushed Ms. J on the swing, I watched Mr. T play soccer with another little boy and his mother. I felt thankful that she was playing with Mr. T so that I could push Ms. J on the swing. It took away that feeling of guilt that I sometimes feel when I can’t be in two places at once. Later we chatted while the kids all played together, she referred to me as auntie. Her kids had never met me before but they referred to me as auntie. This, I thought, is what it should feel like to be a part of this village of mothers.

Later, as we sat eating our dinner together, I found myself wishing that every mother could feel as though they were being supported by their tribe every single day. I know that so much of our journey in motherhood is shadowed by guilt. Guilt that we bestow upon ourselves when we make our mistakes. Guilt that others push onto us when they pass their judgements on the decisions we make for our families. I wish instead of passing judgements, we could embrace each other. Be the person another mother can lean on when they are struggling. Help each other stand when motherhood tries it’s best to knock us down.

Motherhood is a universal language. Look at families across the globe and you will see that across every race, culture and language, mothers everywhere have the same wish for their children; that they are happy, healthy and loved. We are all in the journey together.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mummy’s out there who are doing their best every day. I make you a promise that I will always be a part of your tribe if you will have me.

Happy Mother’s Day to my own mummy, who taught me that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful and who has always been there to pick me up when I have fallen and to cheer me on when I have succeeded.

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Reactions to tragedies – A little boy lost

There was a tragedy yesterday in the city of Toronto. A terrible tragedy that hit so close to home for many of us it joined us together in shock then in hope and later in heartbreak.

Now come the questions. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Was it preventable?

We want answers. Of course we want answers.

We all feel so close to this story, to this little boy and his family. We see our own children in his perfect little face, we feel the heartbreak of his family as if it were our own. Yet, Elijah isn’t our child. The sadness and despair we feel isn’t even comparable to the nightmare this little boy’s family is living. Eventually, we will all go back to our lives and this story will sit in our memory, Elijah’s family will never be the same again.

We want answers, yes, and there are some questions that should be answered, however let’s remember that right now a family is in mourning, their lives have been destroyed. Let’s try and be sensitive. While we must keep asking questions to make sure that we learn from this, we have to refrain from placing blame.

Asking questions is logical. We all want to be sure our families are safe. Asking questions is how we make sense of such a senseless tragedy.

The most important thing to remember is that sometimes terrible tragedies happen despite all our efforts. As parents, we put every safety measure in place that we know of and that’s all that we can do, as hard as it is, we can not let fear dictate how we live our lives. Sometimes, no matter how many gates and locks we surround our children with, bad things happen.

Assigning blame can be a result of our own fears, our mind’s way of protecting itself. Our own internal voice telling us that it can’t happen to us because we have protected ourselves.

The fact of the matter is, a life changing, devastating tragedy can happen to any of us at any time. Do not, for one moment think that you are immune to tragedy. It can happen to any of us in the blink of an eye. Yes, there are times when accidents can be prevented. Each time there is a tragedy we learn another recommendation to make sure we aren’t one of the statistic; regardless tragedies continue to occur.

So in our search for answers, in our need to determine how on earth this beautiful little boy lost his precious life, let’s be very cautious not to give in to assigning blame. Let’s be very careful not to think this could never happen to us. Instead, let’s rally together as parents, as mothers, as fathers, as grandparents and shower this family, who is facing the unimaginable, with love and empathy. Let’s make sure this family knows that we will not pass judgement but instead we will stand by them in their grief and we will help hold them up when they don’t feel strong enough to go on.

Rest in peace little Elijah, may you fly with the angels.

Happy New Year – Taking the lessons from 2014 into 2015

 

New Year’s isn’t really my thing. It never has been. I was never a fan of overpriced parties, long lines at clubs and a crowded bar just didn’t appeal to me. That doesn’t mean I didn’t go out, I did, and I’m sure I enjoyed it, though I would much rather have been in my home with the people I love.

I think part of my issue with New Year’s is that I didn’t look at it as new beginnings. I always saw it as a goodbye and I’m not very good with goodbyes. I tend to live in the past and often find myself daydreaming about freezing time. I live for memories and I mourn the end of happy moments. Letting go of what I know for what may come has always brought me fear.

This past year I have done a lot of growing. I’m getting older and I guess I’m actually starting to learn a little from life. As 2014 comes to a close and I look forward to a bright 2015 I am taking with me so much more than I am leaving behind. 2014 has been fantastic. Our life underwent some big changes, new jobs, a new home in a new city, new schools, new projects (ahem….my new Yummy Mummy Club blog) The lessons that 2014 brought me are sure to make 2015 an epic year.

Letting go of guilt: 2014 marked the last year that I beat myself up with guilt. I will not feel guilty because Mr. C. is doing things that I wish I could be doing for our family. We are a team and we each have certain tasks to make sure this family runs smoothly. One task is no more important than the other. What I do to ensure this family runs smoothly is just as important as what he does and vice versa. I am a working mother and there are only so many hours in the day. I know in my heart that I do my very best with those hours and that’s what matters. If my laundry sits in the basket it’s because my time was spent on something more important. If I miss a 5am workout it’s because I needed the sleep. I will let go of the guilt for the things that I am not doing and instead will be proud of all that I have accomplished.
People pleasing: Guess what? If you aren’t happy with me, I’m ok with it! It feels so freeing to even put this in writing. There will never be a time when I will make everyone happy so I’m just going to quit trying. Not only will I be ok with it but I won’t feel bad about it (see above). I won’t lay in bed worrying that someone is upset with a decision I’ve made. My decisions will be made with my family’s best interest at heart. That’s the best I can do.
Focusing my energy: I am surrounded by people I love and people who love me. 2014 saw me wasting a lot of energy on people who didn’t seem to want to make us a priority. I’m not going to carry that with me into 2015. My heart knows those who are priority and that’s where my energy will be focused rather than chasing.  I promise I will do my very best to be there for those who are important to me. To make time for them even though our life is very busy. I promise in 2015 to show those I love just how important they are to me and make it known that my life is better because they are a part of it.
Just Breathe: Life gets busy, for all of us and it’s very easy to just rush through the days not really taking the time to focus. The one promise I make myself is that I will take the time to just breathe. When my head is swimming with a to do list a mile long, when the laundry basket is overflowing, when the floor needs to be swept and my anxiety levels are starting to rise I will sit down and take a breath. I will watch my children playing. I will take the time to read them a story and cuddle with them on the couch. I will just breathe.
This year I was blessed, blessed beyond words. It was a year filled with love, laughter and memories to last me a lifetime. My family has brought me a happiness that I had never imagined possible. 2015 promises to hold the same. Fun will be had, more fantastic memories will be created and there will be tons of reasons to celebrate. Tonight, instead of feeling sad to say goodbye to 2014 I am looking forward to the excitement that is yet to come. I feel prepared to face the year and bring with me some of the things that 2014 has taught me.
Happy New Year and may you see all your dreams come true in 2015!

Why I love where I live

I grew up in Guelph and recently, after living in the GTA for quite a few years, we made the decision to return. This was a big decision for us, a scary decision, a decision that caused some worry and stress. A city change, a school change and change in basic culture from big city to less big city.

Now that we are here, I can tell you that moving back was the best decision we could have made. There is always so much going on, just check the events calendar on the city’s website and you’ll be amazed! Parks, museums, community events, art centres, fantastic restaurants, everything you ever wanted can be found right here! It’s the perfect mix of quiet smaller town with the same big city perks.

We definitely love where we live!

One of the things we love the most about our new city is that it is such a family friendly place to be. There are so many wonderful things to do around town that both parents and kiddies alike will enjoy; you’ll never have a dull moment.

Our kids love dropping in at Play with Clay, a beautiful little pottery studio nestled right in the heart of downtown Guelph. They scan the shelves with excitement to see what neat pottery pieces are available to paint and then they settle in at one of the many tables ready to get creative and maybe even a little messy. They will happily paint away for hours, no whining, no fighting it’s just pure artistic bliss! It’s our go to place when we are looking for fun activities to do on a rainy or cold day.

If our kids need to run around and burn off some energy then Riverside Park it is! A stunning park complete with a fully accessible playground, merry go round, train ride and paddle boats. The rides are seasonal but the park is open year round. The playground is fantastic, tons of slides, climbers, monkey bars and swings for kids to let off some steam. If you’re heading there in the summer pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the many picnic tables. Bring a blanket, a ball and some snacks and you can end up spending the entire day! It is one of the most amazing parks I have been to.

In the summertime if we are looking to cap off our day with a little treat we always make a stop at The Boathouse for one of their gigantic ice cream cones. One side of The Boathouse contains their famous delicious ice cream and other side is a cozy tea room where you can enjoy a nice cuppa and tasty snack. It’s such a great location, right beside the river, you can watch the canoes glide by, feed the ducks or let the kids run off their sugar rush in the cute little park across the street.

It’s not hard to fall in love with Guelph, just one visit and you’ll fall hard! I couldn’t dream of a better city for my family and I to live. These are just some of the neat little things that make me love where I live!

Enter the #Lovewhereyoulive Contest and you could win a Southern Ontario Prize pack!

What makes you love where you live?

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7 years of beautiful imperfection

It rained on my wedding day. I sat in the chair of the salon getting my hair done, pestering my maid of honour to pop her head outside and give me an update on the ominous black cloud that had been working its way toward us. I had my fingers and toes crossed that it would shift and move in the other direction at the last minute.

It didn’t.

My wedding was not going to take place in the beautiful gazebo as I had planned. It was going to have to take place on the covered patio of an Italian restaurant, the only rain sheltered venue on the resort.

The night before our wedding Mr. C. and I had a fight. Family tensions that had been building came to a head and we fought, big. I remember wondering if the rain was somehow a sign.

Things weren’t going as planned.

Yet, on the afternoon of November 8, 2007, I stood there, about to walk down the aisle, and I looked up at my soon to be husband and knew, deep down in my soul, that I was making the right decision. I knew that our path would not always be filled with sunshine but I was confident that I wanted to face the clouds that may sometimes cover our path, together.

When I was young, naïve and unmarried I had a vision of what marriage should be and it may possibly have looked something like a Nicolas Sparks movie.

It turns out that marriage is nothing like a Nicolas Sparks movie.

Life can be hard, mundane, boring, frustrating and beautiful. The success of my marriage should not be measured by how perfect our life is, because it’s not. The success of my marriage should be measured on how we handle ourselves when things don’t go as planned.

My marriage is successful because we fight. Yep, we do fight, and sometimes it gets ugly, but we work through it. We learn from it. We move forward because of it.

My marriage is successful because we can create romance out of the most mundane. When Mr. C hugs me from behind while I’m doing the dishes and I see my kids smile at his gesture, it feels more romantic than 100 candle lit dinners.

My marriage is successful because when life kicks us in the ass and knocks us over, we help each other up.

My marriage is successful because when one of us can’t stand up by ourselves the other is always there to lean on.

My marriage is successful because we have fun together. Laugh until you cry and your stomach hurts kind of fun.

My marriage is successful because we are on each other’s team.

It’s been 7 years since that rainy day and I couldn’t be happier. My marriage isn’t always sunshine and roses but it’s real and I love real.
I also know that my marriage is successful today, but it might not be tomorrow. We have good days and bad days and every single day my marriage teaches me something new.

7 years ago, just as I was about to walk down the aisle, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun started to peak out. The sun shone down on us as we promised each other our lives.

Happy Anniversary my Mr. C! I love you more today than I did the day I said I do. Thank you for keeping the promise you made me. You add beauty to my life every day. Growing old with you is going to be so much fun.

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