Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Before There Was Them, There Was Us

I’ve been blogging an awful lot about my kids lately, which is not surprising, seeing that they’re both at particularly fascinating and fun ages. And also because, being a stay at home mom, I spend twelve or more hours a day with both of them. But I was just looking at my blog subheading, “Thoughts about life, marriage, motherhood, and anything else that strikes my fancy,” and I decided that it’s about time for another marriage blog.

After being married for almost four years, my husband and I have been through a lot. In the past year and a half alone, we’ve had four deaths of close family members. In the four years since we’ve been married, we’ve both had surgeries, and we’ve both had medical issues. I got laid off from a job and my husband survived several rounds of layoffs at his company. We’re dealt with financial readjustments, including paying for college and needing to buy three cars in rapid succession. We’ve dealt with parenting newborns twice, and we’re currently dealing with parenting a teenager on top of a toddler and a baby. To say that this marriage has endured a lot of “for worse” would be a fair assessment.

And yet, we’ve endured a lot of “for better,” too. The toddler, the baby, and the teenager all fall into the better category as well as occasionally the worse. In fact, because of how we dealt with them, in some ways every event in the “for worse” category ended up also being in the “for better” category. Suddenly and unexpectedly losing an income was a worse, but pulling together and figuring out how to make the situation work made our marriage stronger and ended up being a better. Suddenly and unexpectedly losing a family member was far, far worse, but once again it pulled us closer not only as a couple but as a family, and showed us that we can rely on support not only from each other but from extended family as well. Definitely a “for better,” in the big picture.

For all my light-hearted, humorous blogs over the past few months, this has not been an easy year for me. I’ve struggled with the baby blues, with the demands of managing two small children, with the physical fallout of being off medications for my rheumatoid arthritis for four years while trying to conceive and bear those children, and with trying to figure out my role in a home with an adult child who is not my biological child yet who I am, in many ways, responsible for in loco parentis. And amidst all that, I’ve been trying to be a good wife, with varying levels of success. And if that doesn’t sound exhausting, you’re not paying attention.

But what has gotten me through the past year, through the past four years, has been the secure knowledge that whatever happens, my husband has my back. Even when he doesn’t agree with me, even when he thinks I’m being ridiculous, even when he can’t even begin to understand why I’m having a problem with something, I know he’s there for me. And I know that he knows, as I do, that “us” sometimes needs to come ahead of “them,” whether “them” is work or kids or family or whatever other demands are pummeling one or the other of us at the moment.

So this Friday night, we’re spending the evening together, going out to dinner and then seeing a show. We’ll take a few hours away from everything except each other, and we’ll take time to relax and rejuvenate and remind ourselves of the relationship between us, the one that started it all. We’ll remember how it was just us before it was them, and we’ll make sure that us stays strong and steady enough to manage whatever they can throw at us.

I can hardly wait!

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