The Box

I carefully took the box from the closet and placed it upon the bed.  I removed the top and gazed into the cellophane window that had been hidden beneath.

It had been preserved for over 27 years in the airtight box and although the gown remained the same, life since wearing it had changed in many ways.

June 25, 1988 was on record as one of the hottest days that Jackson Michigan had ever seen.  The power went out at the reception venue, the cake began to melt during the ride over and the church was not air conditioned.  Thankfully I was blissfully unaware of all the wedding day challenges and was happily readying for my walk down the aisle.

In the early years we had no appreciation for how glorious life was.  Many nights were spent talking into the wee hours of the morning.  Sunday’s were spent in bed watching television, reading the newspaper and napping on and off.   We were in love and we were young and wild and free.

Life moved quickly, there were careers, children, autism and ring 22 syndrome, soccer games ,band competitions and all that comes along with parenting.  Sleepless nights, meltdowns, therapies and doctor appointments took place of date nights.  Exhaustion took over and as sleep became a rare commodity,  so did those long talks into the morning,  lazy Sundays and couple time.

Along the way we lost sight of the couple we used to be, instead becoming expert caregivers and a tag team that could rival the best in the WWE.  Through it all the kids remained our focus and we dedicated our lives to being the best parents we could be.  We may not have had time for romance or intimacy but we became stronger in spite of and because of our life experiences.

Our children are adults now, both with their own living arrangements.  We are now on our own,,,,we are older, in love, not so wild and strangely free.  Now we work on rebuilding ourselves as individuals, as husband and wife rather than co-parents and caregivers.  We will always have those roles, but now we need to regain our roles  as individuals and  our relationship as a couple.

As I put the lid back on the box and tucked it safely away in the closet, I reflected on our  life. Like the dress in the box it was a bit yellowed and worn but beautiful all the same.

 

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Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful

 

If you are a child of the 80’s you will remember the Pantene commercial featuring the beautiful model with her mega hair and the tag line “Don’t hate me because I am beautiful.”

I haven’t blogged much recently.  I have been leery of people feeling as if they could not relate to me any longer, of people feeling that I have nothing in common with them any longer and of people feeling like I did when I saw that commercial;  “What a hypocrite”

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying the sleep, the time with my husband, the ability to run to the grocery store on a moment’s notice, having control of what television shows I watch and many other simple pleasures. It sounds awesome doesn’t it?  BUT The evolution from full-time parent and caregiver to “empty nester” is not as glamorous as it may seem.  It is a path wrought with doubt, worry, and a lot of time for introspective thoughts.

  • That whole saying about “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”  is pretty accurate.  Although my life as a mom and caregiver was exhausting,  I miss having my kids here.  When they are not feeling well or are sad I want them curled up in my bed watching TV while I bring them chicken soup and ginger ale.  I miss seeing my girl on the couch watching episodes of The Food Network and the look on my boy’s face when something tickles his fancy.  I thought I couldn’t wait for peace and quiet now I long for the sound of a full house.
  • I made a lot of excuses….”I don’t have time to exercise,”  “I don’t have time to cook,”  “I don’t have time to dedicate to my relationships.”   So far I have all the time in the world and I still don’t always make those (and other items) a priority.
  • I put off happiness.  “When I lose weight I will be happy,”  “When I have enough money I will be happy,” “When I have more time I will be happy.”  Another quote rings true “If you are not happy in the here and now, you never will be”
  • I blamed Autism and Ring 22 syndrome for a lot of things….they can no longer be my scapegoat.  #noexcuses
  • Being an empty nester can be lonely.  Having a husband who travels frequently equals a lot of alone time.  I am still learning to be Ok just being by myself.
  • Reinventing yourself is not easy.  After children I was like jello poured into a mold. Now that my role has been redefined, I don’t want to just sit “wiggling on the plate”

I am not complaining nor do I have regrets, I  just wanted you to know why I have been quiet in regards to writing.  I am a work in progress, I am on a path of discovery.  What direction do I head into as a mother, wife, friend, individual and writer?  What does life have in store for me?