First comes love and then you choose to work at it…

Recently, a coworker just asked me a question about my marriage. “How do you make time for each other?” It is something I get asked a lot. It is pretty obvious we made some time for each other at one point or another in that we have evidence of making time.

The beginning it was easy. Everything was new and exciting. Talking to each other, sitting so close that in a dark corner we were one silhouette. The future, wants, dreams, fears. Memories. Opinions. Conversation and physical contact were one and separate. We were young and fell hard. We had both left relationships that had caused us deep emotional harm.

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The beginning, way back in 2006

But time moves forward. We have grown older and we have grown apart in some ways. In other ways we are closer. We work to make this work still. We take trips to be together. But we are two people that arrived in a place together.

We are still two people. We had very different upbringings, we have different interests and we have very different tastes in movies. But we have a lot in common and we enjoy each others company.

Relationships get pushed to the back burner as life gets hectic… especially when you have kids. Sometimes the partnership of keeping tiny drunken lunatics alive makes the relationship become harder. For a while my husband and I basically only discussed the kids. We went opposite directions and never came together for the mental intimacy that is necessary.

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This is our wedding photo in 2007

We grew differently. He left on a great adventure. His family that he loves so much was out of sight and out of mind. he made some choices that shattered a small part of me. choices still breath through the cracks left behind. Those choices profoundly changed the dynamic of our relationship.

The version of me my husband fell in love with is mostly gone now. The version of me he fell in love with was incredibly unwell. She haunts me still. Lingers in the background of me and keeps me awake at night. causes me to forget to make dinner, pay bills. Sometimes her anger and instability starts to leak through.

The man I fell in love with is mostly gone now. He is different now than he was at 21. More stable, less spontaneous. However, he is also more comfortable being himself all the time.

We have grown as individuals. Which means we work at knowing each other and the people we are becoming. I love him and the life we have but it is a quieter relationship then the tumultuous, intensity of our youth. We love the person each of us has grown into. It isn’t bad but it is different. Love is not static.

Love is a living breathing thing. It must be cared for and allowed to change. It has changed slowly in some ways and in other ways it has changed quickly.

I am not static. My husband is not static. We grow and change because we are alive.

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2014! 

People seem to look into the dressed window of our lives and see… something. It is carefully curated to look this way: easy. it isn’t any relationship is hard and adding in flaws and five small humans makes it even more challenging.

But that is what makes a relationship worthwhile. The downs are downs but they make the ups so much more delightful.

A past that Haunts: America & Racism

This is just MY personal opinion. Based on MY personal experiences.

I grew up pretty normal. An American kid. In a southwestern town. My parents aren’t perfect, we were poor and they had issues they overcame in order to provide for their children. We are also a family that check {caucasian} on every bubble sheet or document. My siblings all have a white name. I did not. As the child of a previous marriage I carry the name of a man I never met. It really was a beautiful name. Also, I look white, my natural hair is an auburny-brown, fair skin with lots of freckles… I never stood out by any standard. However, after 9/11/2001 my world changed drastically.

Because of this I have an interesting take on racial profiling.

I was placed on the FEDERAL NO FLY LIST. I have had difficulty getting my passport when all I want to do is sit on the beach in Mexico with my husband while One through Five splash in tidal pools. All because my maiden name. Because it is persian. middle eastern during a time that our country is at war with the middle east. I was called terrible things by the parents of friends. I was physically harassed by TSA agents, Police officers and many others. All of them said the same thing to me “But you look so white.”

I LOOK WHITE. They wouldn’t have harassed me if my name had been that of my siblings and the man that actually raised me: because it is generic and that makes me not a threat.

I cannot even imagine the terror that people of actual color, people that cannot change how the world looks at them by getting married. I changed my name for a number of reasons but mostly because it is so white. Like the Scottish version of Smith. My husband has seen the difference between how a white kid in Louisiana and a black kid in Louisiana are treated for resisting arrest. Louisiana has a history of killing based on race (please refer to the police killings following Katrina)

There are GOOD police officers. I have met them. I know them and they literally rescued me after a car accident while my husband was away when I was 200 miles from home.

There are bad police. My very own Maternal Great Grandfather was a bad, racist police officer.

Good officers do not deserve to be hung for the crimes of the rotten ones. They need to be held up by our nation as the example. GOOD Cops that picked up the badge to protect and serve. Good officers deserves to work with officers that are there for the same reasons they are: the greater good. To help rescue those in need from those that are preying on them, to be role models for our children and who we as Americans can turn to with out fear, no matter our race/religion/creed, for help.

Good police officers do not deserve to be sniped out by an angry man like what happened in Dallas.

BECAUSE NO BODY DESERVES TO BE MURDERED. IN COLD BLOOD. DUE TO PRECONCEIVED IDEAS.

But the BAD cops, that are crooked and scared and racist and violent, need to have consequences within the realm of the laws that they swore to uphold but bent to their will, tried by the people they promised to protect but betrayed and not get away with murder of unarmed People over and over.

Racism in this country… It is ugly. It is there. It is heartbreaking when that racism causes people to FEAR for their lives. for their children. I am white. I happened to have a name that was middle eastern. I feared for my safety. I feared for the safety of my muslim and middle easter APPEARING friends after 9/11. I have been called horrible names. I have had my life placed under a microscope and was told that I should just accept it because it was for the greater good of the nation to have my Constitutional rights infringed on (and yes you can always tell when your phone is tapped, mail is intercepted and when you are disproportionately pulled for “random” checks). I was able to hide from that as soon as I became married.

People of color cannot and SHOULD NOT EVER have to hide for fear of preconceived ideas about themselves. Not every Black man is a thug. Not ever Muslim is a jihadist. Not every Mexican is illegally in this country.

Black lives matter movement is important because they are American lives that even 70 years after the Civil Rights Movement still have to stand up and say “Hey, we are here and we deserve to be equal.”

I don’t see the BLM as just for black people. They are the voice of every oppressed person in this country. Black, brown, muslim, LGBTQ. Of every marginalized person in this country. We should all stand up because this is America and we are free to have our voices to point out unfair treatment. To voice out when we see infringement on the rights of the people around us.

To the people that think that a group standing up and requesting the same civil liberties and basic human rights as you are asking for special treatment (IE the right to get married…) then you need to maybe go out your front door and find a little empathy.

Because if we don’t we are no better than the people that turned their heads to oppression in the past.

Peek-a-Boo, Fool

There is nothing like playing peek-a-boo with a teething baby while trying to shampoo my hair to really bring my life into perspective. The other 4 are currently screaming at each other through the bathroom door about who needs which Lego (I think that is what they are saying). I have no privacy and no dignity.

11201841_10207735839057150_1908224425333868708_nEvery so often I have a moment of “Huh.”; a moment that makes me stop dead in my tracks and think: How did I get here? A bit of an existential crisis.  Especially since I was sort of thrown into it headlong. Which is what happens when you fall head over heels for a person with children. But how could I not fall head over heels for One and Two? They are absolutely amazing little guys and I am in awe everyday about how very lucky I am to GET to be their Momma.

However, I really miss privacy. Quiet. Sleep.

Because I am a human I sometimes think what our lives would be like if we hadn’t had children. If we had somehow met earlier in life and neither had the relationships we had before this. What if and could have been flood my mind while looking at the screaming 5 year old that happens to look exactly like my sister lays on the floor of the cereal aisle. Should haves haunt me when I am cleaning baby food off of my ceiling.

Life could be… Quiet. Smaller. Probably with a lot more BIG adventure. Probably more opportunities for “romance”. BUT  “romance” is why we have 5 kids. Four is a statement to the truthfulness of “just once”. But what if we had chosen no kids.

Maybe. Or we would be as big of train wrecks as we were at 20 and 21 except a decade older. We weren’t exactly the most pulled together humans when we first met. Basically we found another person that enjoyed us despite the demons we were dealing with.

Then I look into the eyes of these tiny humans. These people that are developing into doers and shakers and jokers right before my eyes. That have their own interests and hobbies and personalities despite genetics and parental guidance. (Three is very organized and persnickety… Husband and I cannot figure out where this trait comes from). I’m in awe. I am suckered into parenthood over and over again by these hooligans.

If I had to choose even in moments of my absolute selfishness (oh sleepy lazy mornings how I miss you) I would choose this path I took. Over and over again. I would leap head long over the cliff, having faith in the arms and the potential of the broken man I fell for. I would open my arms and most importantly my heart and soul to One and Two. Discovering how faceted love can be. I would choose singing out of tune “peek a boo!” with a screaming 9 month old with shampoo running into my eyes. I would chose phrases like “Work it out or the legos will all belong to MEEEEE!”

Every single time. Because this is heaven. And who needs sleep, privacy or dignity while in heaven?