On Marriage

Marriage isn’t for me. Wait. What?!

When a friend posted the blog, Marriage Isn’t for Me, on Facebook the other day, I was intrigued.

If you haven’t read this blog yet, I encourage you to take some time to read it. I really enjoy hearing/reading the male perspective on proposals and marriage. I believe our society has made marriage into a woman’s thing, especially the wedding. It’s rare for me to hear a man’s thoughts on the matter. It’s encouraging and inspirational. It also makes me believe men do care more about these things than they let on!

Not surprisingly, The blog moved me to tears. But my tears were inspired by the honesty, respect and honor of a father’s advice, and by the admission that its easy to forget this advice. I also cried because reading this blog made me think about my relationship with HOS.

If you know what HOS means – husband of sorts – you’ve probably picked up on the fact that we are not married, but we are blessed in many ways. Most importantly, we are blessed with Ms. Charli! I am not married, but I have been careful not to put too much pressure on HOS about the matter. I drop some hints and make jokes every now and again – I can’t let him forget! – but I know that nagging at him will get us no where.

After reading this blog, I realized that I have spent my life looking at marriage the wrong way. And when I really start to think about it, HOS already lives his life like this! Everything he does is for me and Charlotte, from the hours he works to the lifestyle he now lives.

I may not have a crazy production of a proposal and I may not have a ring (well, I have one my dad gave my mom), but I have a man who would do anything and already does everything for me. Am I doing the same for him?

I think so. I hope he thinks so…

Next time someone asks me when I’m getting married, I’ll do my best to remember that getting married isn’t for me. And if it isn’t for me, it sure as heck isn’t for all these other people either!

My Niece’s Love

I received a gift beyond measure today. The gift was so meaningful and so powerful it brought tears to my eyes.

I have loved and adored my niece for more than 13 years. I am so proud of the intelligent, caring, beautiful young woman she is becoming. My sister is one heck of a mom to raise this girl on her own.

I was only 13 years old when she was born, and I didn’t know the first thing about being an aunt. I loved dressing her like a mini me and playing with her. As I grew into the person I am today, and my nieces life changed, our relationship evolved.

I am proud to say that she is one of my closest friends. I’m honest with her even when the questions are tough. I tell her what is right, not what is easy. I don’t always tell her what she wants to hear, but she knows I mean well. And she knows that she can tell me anything. And as long as it isn’t anything dangerous or harmful, I keep her secrets.

I’m so grateful that HOS understands our bond. I told him once that if – God forbid – anything were to happen to my sister, I would fight tooth and nail to keep my niece with me. I would never lose her. He would fight for her by my side.

My goal, especially since becoming an adult, is to be a role model for my niece. I want to be someone she can turn to. Someone she can look up to. And someone she can be proud of.

Most people spend their whole lives never knowing the impact they have on another person. We never really know what sinks in or what matters. … But today, I learned that I am exactly who I wanted to be for my niece.

I received the greatest gift today in the form of a PowerPoint. My niece’s teacher sent it to my sister who shared it with me. The presentation was all about my niece – who she is, what she likes, what she wants to do when she grows up…

And on one of the last slides she wrote this:

“My Aunt taught me that if I’m not happy with something in my life that is in my control then change it – therefore I’m never unhappy with anything that is in my control.”

When I read that, I knew my mom would be proud of who I am. And I cried happy tears.

Taking Advantage of Rare Free Time

I used to think the worst thing to happen to a weekend would be no plans.

Now?

I pray for just one day for one day free from activities and schedules. And then I realize that my daughter is one-year-old. The schedules will only become exponentially busier.

I’ll be trying ducking and weaving through panic attacks in my future, but today I’m simply struggling to balance my family-faith-friends-work-volunteer balance. As you can understand, this is no easy feat!

Last weekend, I was constantly on the go. Looking back at my time – Friday through Sunday – I can isolate four, maybe five hours of quality time with Charlotte. … And that makes my heart ache. I find myself sneaking into her room to swoop her up for extra hugs and kisses.

In order to make up for missing out on the precious time offered on the weekends, I let dinner cook in the crockpot so I wouldn’t need to cook today. I designated all night as family night!

We all three enjoyed a meal AT the dinner table. This was huge for us! We rarely eat the same meal, let alone at the same time. Enforcing the family meal time isn’t a possibility with HOS’ career, but I’m happy to take advantage when I have the chance!

After dinner, we let Charlotte paint her first pumpkin! This was another example of cute ideas online that never turn out as expected in real life.

First, Charli decided to taste the paint and then spent a good five minutes gagging, coughing and spitting.

Second, painting MY pants turned out to be far more amusing than painting pumpkin.

Third, Charli wanted to actually paint. … With a brush! We now have some nice purple and blue splatter on the kitchen walls.

Most importantly, though, we had a happy baby girl covered in paint and smiles.

We ended the night with a bath, play time and reading.

Life isn’t going to be slowing down any time soon, so it’s up to me to take advantage of what little time we do have as a family. I guess that means more scheduling? 🙂

What do you do to take advantage of rare free time with your family?

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Leaving On a Jet Plane

In eight hours, I’ll be leaving my little family for a quick business trip to Chicago. I just found out about the trip on Tuesday, and I’ll leave tomorrow morning and return Tuesday evening. It’s just a blip in the crazy, too fast life. But my tummy is turning and my heart is aching while I listen to Charli tossing and turning in the next room.

*sigh*

This is my third work trip away, and it’s the shortest. I thought that being gone for a short trip would get easier, but no such luck.

Maybe when she’s a pre-teen and we fight about everything?

Doubtful.

I’m afraid I’m one of those moms who will forever miss her child(ren). I am only consoled by the fact that she won’t remember I was gone. … Yet. And she probably won’t even miss me. Of course, this just makes me sad for other reasons entirely!

There is no winning. Unconditional love is the most awesome and wonderful thing, but it, too, has its downfalls.

I doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight. I really want to scoop Charli up out of her crib and fall asleep with her in my arms so I can cling to the feeling of her cool cheek against mine and the smell of her freshly bathed hair. But I won’t disturb her.. Not until morning, any way. 🙂

There She Goes Again

A lady today told me that if babies stayed itty-bitty, cuddly, babies for a longer time period, people would have fewer kids.

I agree.

Charli has changed so much, so quickly.

Just when I start to feel like I have a handle on Charlotte’s new stage, and I’ve stopped pouting about how old she looks, everything changes again!

I’m still reeling from her first birthday. I keep looking at the hundreds of pictures we’ve taken since July 26, 2012. Teary-eyed, I force HOS to participate by shoving pictures into his face and asking if he removes the time she did this or her first that. *sigh* I’m not ready to accept that my precious baby is one, and she goes and does this …

Don’t get me wrong! I’m so proud of her. I’m amazed at how quickly she learns, and how strong she is. I’m so happy for her. … I just feel bad for myself. My baby isn’t a baby, baby any more.

And I’m too out of shape to chase this little walking machine!!

Miss Talkative

My daughter is talkative, animated and waves her hands around wildly while speaking. … She must have gotten those from her daddy. 😉

New Best Friends

Could it be that Bear wants to be friends with Charlotte? Is that even possible?

Could my baby girl and my cat get along?!

Eh, probably not. … At least not yet.