People tell me now how well-behaved my son Cortland, who is three, is and I know it's because I learned from my parents that consistency on the parents part is a must. Ah! I sound so proud of myself, don't I? I'm actually very proud of him. We have our fair share of corrections to behavior, but, for the most part, we we're blessed with an exceptionally easy-to-redirect child.
My memories of childhood are happy. I remember spending fun summers with my grandma, aunt and cousins in Iowa. There were Penny Hunts and birthday parties and always lots of family and friends around. I loved playing board games like Forest Friends, Sorry and Trouble with my parents. When I got older it was card games Skip-Bo, Uno and Gin. It's funny now, but I was always a little annoyed that my teenage friends would rather sit around the kitchen table on a Friday night with my parents and me and play Gin. Now I can only hope that Cortland's friends feel the same when he gets older. I learned early that I wouldn't always win, and that was okay. Learning how to lose graciously has served me well in life.
My teen years were hard. I was an emotional kid and tended to speak my mind. I took to heart injustices to myself and to those around me. I had issues recognizing which "causes" to plant my flag and which to just let go. My parents provided counseling on and off from the time I was 13 - 18 so I could have someone to talk through the daily complexities of being a teenager. They knew I would have things I just couldn't talk to them about and they were okay with that. I know now how hard that was on my mom especially. I'm so glad she didn't try to be my best friend then, and, because of that, she is my best friend now.
The next chapter in my life was quite the learning experience. I was married to my high-school sweetheart at 19. He was an artist and came from a very different family situation than I did. I accept now (after many, many books and lots of counseling) that you can't "fix" someone. I wanted my marriage to be like my parents marriage. A marriage of partnership, love, trust, kindness and respect. That is not what I got. I tried for 10 years to make that happen and finally had an epiphany that my then husband didn't know how - and wasn't willing to learn - to have a marriage like that.
I have thought hard about whether, if given the chance, I could erase and do over those years between 16 and 30. I wouldn't. I know that those experiences have shaped me to be the person I am today and shaped the choices I have made in the last nine years that have manifested in the life I lead today.
My husband and I were friends before we started dating. He just understood me. He got my personality and my sense of humor. It was (and still is) easy to be with him. He's my best friend. I know everyone says marriage isn't supposed to be easy, it takes work and sometimes struggle - I don't buy that. Been there, done that and it was not fun. Being married to Alan is fun. We disagree and we have struggles in life that we work through together. But our actual marriage? Not a struggle.
Alan and I have had to deal infertility. We have been through two ectopic pregnancies and one failed round of IVF. (Not to mention my poor husband got to deal with an hormonal nut-case for two years. One year while on hormone shots during two rounds of IVF and 35 weeks of pregnancy! That man deserves a medal!) We also held hands during the 5 1/2 week early delivery of our son and the subsequent 10 days he was in NICU. But we did it together and somehow that made it bearable.
My life today is blessed. I still hate doing laundry and dishes (who doesn't!) and, being a stay-at-home-mom, those are part of my job description. I drive my son to his occupational and speech therapy twice a week and he sees a funcional neurologist twice a month for his motor-planning and low-tone issues. I am in charge of making sure that OT is incorporated in his at home play. Which means I make sure Alan knows what's going on with Cortland's therapy and how he can make his playtime beneficial, too. We also have weekly play-dates with friends. And on Friday we do a fun outing - anything from just going out to eat at a sit-down restaurant (to practice table manners) to going to the Dallas Aquarium or the waterpark.
As for me, I love to knit. That is my downtime. I could bore to to pieces with why I love to knit and how enjoyable and calming it is to me. I also work out at the YMCA three(ish) times a week. Every Sunday we spend the day at my in-laws in Arlington. I love having family so close and am especially lucky that I love my in-laws and think of them as friends. Time at their house is relaxing and peaceful. I also read. Right now I'm reading books about fun activities to do in the summer with a sensory kid, but I just finished up the King of Thrones series, so it's not all work-reading.
Alan and I have always wanted another child. We thought long and hard about trying IVF again and about straight adoption. The money issue is the reason we decided not to go that route, but not for the obvious reasons. We can afford either option, but feel that money is better spent on education for Cortland or any other child we would be lucky enough to have. Foster to Adopt is a win-win. I feel like there is so much more I could be doing for the community and loving children is what I excel at. I know that whatever loving foundation I can provide for a child will be paramount to my own emotional ramifications reunification would mean. It's not about me, it's all about the child.