I was sitting here thinking about what to post tonite, and so I opened up my photos in hopes of inspiration. I had forgotten how inspiration often flows just from looking back on our days. It's amazing how much is captured in a photo.
This is the photo that grabbed me immediately. We have a similar photo from our wedding day. I've been thinking a lot lately about relationships, marriage and the dynamics when you add homeschooling and attachment parenting. I don't think I'm the only one who finds this combination a challenge. It's a lot (obviously there are challenges in any situation - I'm just pondering these specific challenges) And while my heart is 100% there with my choices, it does put a strain on a marriage. I think it's so easy (and quite natural really) for the needs of the relationship to get put on a back burner. I recently night weaned my youngest after 10 solid years of interrupted sleep and I immediately felt another crossroads approaching in my career as a parent. Realizing that it won't be long until there are no children in our bed. An interesting concept to wrap ones brain around after 15 + years of bed sharing.
A beginning of the end, of the years of no sleep. My mind has been spinning with possibilities knowing that our life is going to be slowly getting a bit easier in so many ways. Gone will be diapers, and night waking, and that early attachment that begs not to be broken of mama and babe (and bigger babe) Part of that spinning has me realizing that couple time - especially away from home *alone* is seriously lacking. It's almost funny really - with all the care I put into making sure that I have solo time with each of my kids - that I haven't made solo time with my love a priority. And yet it's as we chose it - knowing that that time in each child's life was really such a short period (tho of course when you add that up times 5 lol .....) And so we approach a time with a little more freedom.
Someone was telling me recently that they saw a billboard that said "A babysitter is cheaper than a divorce lawyer" So true! An investment of sorts - well worth it me thinks. It's exciting to ponder actually going out on a date with my husband! When we got together I already had a child, so we really skipped the whole dating stage and dove head first into family life. All this time when it just wasn't practical for many reasons to get out together, I've looked forward to this time we are entering when that will be easier to manage. There's something to be said for delayed gratification - something that in our current society is a bit of a rarity. It keeps things exciting knowing we have this whole new side of our relationship to explore.
Now of course it will take some time to remember what dates are all about after all this time ;) At the end of our first date we vaccuumed out the van. Ahem ;) Not the most romantic, but heck - we were all alone right ?
And it seems that creating space for that time together has a similar effect on our family dynamic to that of the solo time I carve out with each of my kiddos. A specialness - a different sort of connectedness that really needs to be maintained - like a garden. All relationships need to be watered, and fed - and yes weeded ;) to thrive and bloom as they should.
I find that that more I nurture the relationships with my family, the more I find myself opening up and finding parts of myself that I never knew were there - it's interesting since on the other hand it can be so easy as a mama to begin to lose oneself in the chaos of the day to day grind (it's not all a grind, but there are definitely parts of it that are - like laundry and washing dishes lol!) I find tho that I am most inspired when everyone's cup is full. There is a contentment - and ease that I feel when I feel connected to my family. When we are out of sorts, that feeling permeates the home. That said it's not at all easy to keep all 5 kids and a husbands' cup full - but I try ! Oh I sure try. And it seems to me that that is the point. That we hold those we love close to our hearts so that we know when there cup is a little low and we know what will fill it. And that knowing - well it seems to fill my own heart as well.