6 Years for Better or Worse

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Historically October has been a big month for my husband and I. We met 10 years ago in October, 9 years ago in October I moved across the country to live with him, and 6 years ago we got married not once but twice in October. October is our month. We got married legally in Victoria on 10/10/10, which is a very convenient date to remember. We then got married in Mexico on October 28 surrounded by friends and family.

I have become a celebrator, I celebrate everything post brain tumour. But a wedding anniversary that is a super big deal. Being married is hard, which is why I think that there is so much divorce. It’s hard to stick through the “for better, for worse”times and still love each other. We have had our challenges but we are still making the choice to show up and that deserves a celebration!

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Kayaking

kayak4When I was young, single and childless I would escape to the cottage frequently stopping along the way to pick up a rental kayak for the weekend. To get my money’s worth I would go for a couple of paddles a day. It has been at least 6 years since I have kayaked. Life got busy with kids, marriage, work, school and a brain tumour. So when a friend suggested that we get a group of people together and go on a kayak tour I was in. I even managed to talk my husband into trying it out, as he had never kayaked before. He has a good sense of adventure and is usually up for trying new things with the exception of sharing a kayak with me.

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Hiatus

Every once in a while it’s important to take a break. A break from things you love (like writing this blog) and things that you don’t. Recently I went on vacation and took a break from many things including parenting. My husband and I went away for a few days together because it’s important for our marriage. I love my kids but I love my husband too, and sometimes we need to be together without the kids. Thankfully my parents are happy to step in and have let us escape more than once.

We contemplated going on a cruise but I have in the past struggled with motion, and given that my brain is still healing we opted for a land based adventure. I may have been fine on a cruise but when someone was meddling around in the part of my brain that controls balance I am going to air on the side of caution for the next 6 months or so.

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Florida Socks

Our land based adventure involved a fair amount of driving, which for me means a fair amount of knitting. I knit a pair of socks while we were cruising around south Florida. We went to the Florida Keys and Miami. We had a few very relaxing kid free days with lots of time to chat (if you know my husband you understand the humour). Anyway it gave us time to reconnect which is critical to the success of our marriage.

 

We started just south of Tampa and drove to Homestead where we stayed in a dive (which was a bit of an accident), but we survived the night. We also took the opportunity to hit up Red Lobster. It has been years since I have been to Red Lobster (we don’t have one where we live), and those cheese buns are fantastic.

In the AM we made a quick escape to the Keys and drove all the way to Key West where we spent the day, and evening. We didn’t stay in Key West because it’s pricey, instead we opted to stay in Marathon (another of the keys). In the morning after a trip to IHOP (how can you resist) we drove to Miami Beach. Our hotel was perfectly positioned right on the beach. We walked the beach for hours while I took too many photos. We had dinner on the strip and I drank the biggest margarita I have ever seen, twice.

We spent the following day relaxing poolside before the drive back along alligator alley to life with kids. The kids had an amazing time with their grandparents (pictures below prove it), and we had a great time without them. It’s important for them to spend a little time without us, and for us to spend time without them, we all appreciate each other more after a little time apart.

 

Happy 5th Anniversary

pics109Yesterday marked our fifth wedding anniversary. We were married on the beach in Mexico which is where I would like to be right now. It’s grey and rainy and it will be for the next few months. An escape to some where hot and sunny would be very welcome.

This was a rather tough year for us. I  became unemployed, went back to school as a graduate student, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had a craniotomy. That is a lot of changes for a marriage to endure in a short period of time. Throw two little kids into the mix and it could have been a recipe for marriage disaster. BUT it wasn’t. Thankfully we figured out how to hold it all together and end up in a better spot than we were a year ago.

The “in sickness and in health” part of our marriage vows were really tested this year. A test that I ignorantly thought wouldn’t happen until we were much older. My husband was amazing throughout the brain tumour process. He remained calm and when I though my world was going to crumble. He held it all together, he never wavered, and most importantly he never lost faith that everything would be OK. I asked him often if he was scared and all he would ever say was “not yet”. His strength gave me tremendous strength which I am very grateful for. I understand now when someone makes reference to another person “as their rock”. I get it, I have one. This year was a big test and I am proud to report that we passed.

To celebrate five years of marriage we managed to escape overnight without the kids. We have the most amazing babysitter/friend on the planet who came and stayed with the kids. We spent the day at the spa and then ate the most amazing dinner, and enjoyed the quiet of the oceanview suite. The fifth anniversary is wood, and we were staying in a log cabin, sleeping in a bed carved from tree branches. If that isn’t enough wood I made this Christmas tree decoration as a present for my husband. Confused he asked if he was supposed to wear it around his neck and I was like “who do you think you are Mr.Tee?” It is made from a tree branch from our yard with string that was used on our wedding invitations. It isn’t the most glamorous gift I have ever given but it’s the thought that counts.

Celebrating 40 years

1 (1)Celebrating 40 years of anything these days seems like a small miracle. Especially 40 years of marriage. I have been married for 4.5 years and that seems to be quite an accomplishment. But 40 years that’s in a whole other category. Today my parent’s are celebrating 40 years of marriage and for that they deserve a standing ovation, a parade, champagne, and I don’t even know what else because the truth is marriage is HARD. Really, really hard sometimes. Did I mention that they have FOUR children. Yet, somehow they have managed to endure all the challenges that life has thrown them TOGETHER.

6779196631_2e600c19fe_oIt’s fairly typical these days to drop a small fortune on a wedding. Don’t get me wrong it is a very big deal to commit yourself to another person, but it doesn’t have to come with a giant price tag. My mom once told me a story about shopping for wedding rings at Kmart. Believe or not you don’t need a giant rock from Tiffany’s to have a great marriage, a simple band from Kmart is the symbol of their 40 year marriage. My mom now has so much bling on her wedding ring finger I am surprised that she can lift her hand, but if you start with something plain there is a lot of room for upgrades.

Growing up my parents were interchangeable. There weren’t designated mom or dad jobs. Dad cooked, did crafts, washed windows, vacuumed, shoveled snow, snuggled babies, worked outside the house, braided hair, helped with homework and did laundry. And so did my mom. My dad learned how to do ponytails and give face lifts all at the same time. I have never seen my mom iron but that’s because my dad is really good at it. I have also never seen my dad sew because my mom is a master seamstress. They each have their own domestic talents.  Most years my dad worked and my mom stayed home with the kids but other years it was reversed. They were able to adapt to whatever the situation needed seamlessly.

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I am about to divulge a pretty big family secret, wait for it…. I HAVE NEVER HEARD MY PARENTS FIGHT. Not once in the 18 years that I lived with them did I hear them fight. No slamming doors, no swearing, not even any yelling (at each other). How is that even possible? I am flabbergasted that they either never fought, or really never fought in front of the children. Maybe they were just too exhausted from raising four kids that there wasn’t time or energy to expend on arguments. I have no idea how they did it. I do however remember them kissing in the kitchen, and the four of us pushing our way between them, yelling gross. Or the bemantic (child slang for romantic) candlelight dinners that they would have.

October 28, 2010-19-51-01-PaleksicWhen I was out the other day buying them an anniversary card I opted for a CONGRATULATIONS card that I though was blank on the inside, only to learn later that it said “Congratulations, all your hard work has paid off. Enjoy it”. While the card was probably designed for a new job, retirement, or promotion it is equally fitting for 40 years of marriage. Marriage is hard work and they did it together for 40 years so congratulations; enjoy it because that is no small feat. They are both pretty excellent marriage role models, and maybe just a little too good because it’s pretty hard to replicate what they have. But I have at least another 35.5 years to get it right. Have an amazing anniversary, Love you.

M&D