Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On Seasons and Change

"All Things Bridal" continues!

The leaves are in their full glory in our neck of the woods.  My favorite are the bright orange leaves!

It's great to drive and see the beautiful colors lining the sides of the road this time of year.  
Fall is my favorite!  

The change of seasons is one of the best perks of living in New England.  Weather changes around here in the blink of an eye.  "If you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes", is one of the sayings you hear often in our neck of the woods!  Of course, it's not a literal 15 minutes...and almost every year winter cold overstays its welcome!  But, just when you think you will never again remember what it feels like to be warmed by the sun, Spring arrives to give us hope and wake up the sleeping beauty from its winter rest.

Marriage goes through different seasons, too.  

There's the first season of newness and discovery.  Blissful on one hand, (with eyes for only each other), and challenging on the other, (If he leaves that wet towel on the floor one more time....).  Then, two become three and the exciting and scary ride of parenthood begins.  The wonder and miracle of the tiny life entrusted to you mixed with the physical challenges of pregnancy, childbirth, and lots of sleep deprivation change a husband and wife relationship like no other!

If baby #2 is in God's plan....(or 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 &9!!!)....more changes and challenges enter the picture!  

When we had 3 little boys in 3 years, we didn't get out much!  But the little boys had early bedtimes, so our quiet time came when they went to bed.  There were "date nights in" with take-out pizza or homemade fajitas eaten while watching a movie or a tv show we followed.  Some un-interrupted talking happened until we inevitably fell asleep on the couch together!

As the kids got older, and multiplied(!), it got busier.  Little league baseball invaded our lives first.  Much of summer was a sea of practices and games.  Some years were easier because the boys were on the same team...but then Jay started coaching and it got harder in new ways!    While Jay was on the field directing kids, I was off the field herding 3 little ones and trying to watch my older sons play!  

Basketball eventually seeped in our lives, too.  We were a one sport family for a long time just because I couldn't deal with the insanity of sports schedules over multiple seasons.  When your sons start to approach the 6 foot mark, coaches start to take notice!  So our lives as basketball parents began...but Jay promised no more coaching!  

As the boys reached high school age, things became a little easier because their practices were after school so we only had to pick them up.  Most of the time there were other parents from the area who we could carpool with.  Getting to games together didn't happen often.  Peter couldn't handle sitting still that long...and still can't...so Jay and I usually take turns going to games unless we can get an occasional babysitter.  (Then it's a date night!)

Of course, when you get a bonus baby or two, it makes life a little extra crazy!  Starting over after you haven't done diapers or nursing or bottles for several years is overwhelming and exciting.  It was such a blessing to have Luke...and then Kate.  They changed our family forever....and brought everyone closer together.

Having teenagers and toddlers at the same time is challenging!  The teenagers want to stay out late and the little ones wake up at night.  The older kids' worlds are getting bigger and having little ones makes our world smaller.  Trying to make it all work can be hard.  We tend to do a lot of splitting of tasks.  Up to now, Jay has gone with the older kids the majority of the time and I have stayed with the littles.  Now that Kate is almost three, that will be starting to change.

Unlike when the boys were little and all went to bed early, our older kids stay up later than us most nights.  That makes together time a challenge!  The upside of having older kids is that we can get the occasional date night in a little easier!

For many years, our anniversary dinners included a nursing baby as a tag-a-long guest!  Our 20th Anniversary 2 years ago was no exception.....

Oh my goodness, I love that sweet little face!  She got so big so fast!
Now we are in the midst of a season of young adults on the verge of moving up and out.  It is a bittersweet season.  It helps us to appreciate the time with the little ones more....because we know how fast it goes by! 

When we said our "I do's" almost 22 years ago, we never would have expected all that has been a part of our marriage.  There has been lots of great times, but there have been some really hard times, too:  Getting married young, getting through college, having a difficult pregnancy, having a child live only 16 days, having a child diagnosed with severe Autism....those have been major hurdles.  Through God's grace, our families, good friends, and a little therapy, those challenges have brought us closer together.  

We certainly aren't the perfect couple, but we are perfect for each other...through every season:)