Just Heather

Alternate Title: How a meteor saved my marriage.

Okay, so this Perseid thing comes along every August. I am 32 years old and had never seen it. That’s why it went on 40×40“>the official list. I hadn’t made a specific plan to watch it this year, although having it on my list did put it on my radar. I was paying attention to the dates and the optimal viewing time was middle of the night the evening before Blog Indiana. I didn’t think that was wise.

Then, instead of going to bed early so I’d be well rested for my conference, I stayed up late fighting with my husband. I’ve made no secret of our ongoing struggles. They’ve come to a head in huge blowups a couple of times in the last few years, and this one was bad. As in packing my suitcase bad. Then, I read this and cried. Buckets. But it wasn’t enough to make me go back into the house. Pride, probably. Fear, a lot.

I was standing outside thinking about how many times we’ve had the same fight. Wondering how we could co-parent separately if we couldn’t even co-parent together. Trying to figure out how to make it on my own. Contemplating how you can love someone so very much and still not be able to find a way to live together. Something in the sky caught my eye, but as I’ve never seen a meteor shower I didn’t really know what it would look like or what to expect.

As I was looking up, a huge meteor, as in movie effects huge, streaked across the sky. I was doing it—I was crossing off another one! That’s when the tears started. I wanted to tell someone that I had just moved another step closer to 40×40 and he wasn’t there. I didn’t stop to think; I just tore back into the house with tears streaming down my face to tell him I was watching it and he should go watch it too.

He joined me in the front yard to see the meteor shower, but then he grabbed my hand and tugged me to the backyard for the better view. And never let go. We quietly enjoyed the show for a bit, until Spencer went back into the house for a blanket so we could lie down. We watched for a couple hours, actually, and started talking. I realized our life, our marriage is kind of like that meteor shower.

It has its darkness. It has bright beauty. And just when you think it’s over, something spectacular happens. And, just like Perseid, we’ll be celebrating every August. Our latest Alphabet Dating adventure occurred just a few weeks ago for our 12th anniversary. We’re in this together, for life; we just have a few things to figure out along the way.

My friend Liz participates in Friday Fragments hosted by Mrs.4444—it sounds a lot like an old school backlog bulletfest, but I’m giving it a try today. I started out with the intention of random bullet points, but it turned into more of a free write a la Ordinary & Awesome. I’m going with it, partly because I’m too sick to think of anything better and partly because it gives me something to do while I procrastinate the laundry.

  • We leave today for 3 days in my hometown. I’m part excited, part ambivalent and part dreading it. It will be a tight squeeze at my parents’ house with all the sibs in town, but that’s the part I’m excited about—it’s been awhile since all 4 of us were in town at the same time. There’s a big extended family shindig, though, and I’m not so excited about that. I think there comes a time when you have to realize your extended family is now your siblings, their spouses and children—not the aunts, uncles, cousins and numerous other people you barely recognize anymore. Those are better relegated to a once per year family reunion.
  • On the other hand, I couldn’t be more excited about the family reunion I’m planning for my other extended family. Maybe that’s because I really haven’t seen some of them in yeas (love you, girl—can’t wait to meet your kids!) or maybe it’s just because I like them better. Or, maybe I like them better because I’m not forced to give up my rare weekends home to spend time with the whole lot every visit. Regardless, the family reunion will be fun and my brother, who claimed he wasn’t coming, is being forced to attend my his wife (loving my SIL more and more each year!).
  • It is apparently the season for extended family get togethers. In October, we’ll be heading to North Carolina for a weekend wedding. My in-law issues are no secret so I’m sure it is not surprise to anyone that I am dreading this trip. Not only do I have to stay the weekend in my mother-in-law’s town, but I have to spend a fortune for a trip that won’t be the least bit enjoyable. If I’m going to get in a car, drive 8 hours with 3 kids and spend money on a hotel, there should be some semblance of vacation. Instead, we’ll arrive at our hotel just in time for bedtime, spend Saturday dealing with the wedding and—Lord help me—his mother, then spend Sunday at yet another family thing before heading home because Spencer has crappy vacation time.
  • I dream of a family vacation that I know will never happen. We don’t have the money, we don’t have the time and we don’t have the same goals if we ever crossed those two barriers. I want to see my little girls face light up at Cinderella’s castle before she’s too old to appreciate the magic. I want to see my princess decked out for a dinner inside that same castle. I want to spend some time with my preteen before she’s too cool to enjoy family vacations. I worry the time has already passed us by. Our last vacation was 5 years and 1 kid ago, spent with my family and paid for by my mother. The one before that was split half at Disney and half with my parents at the beach—because it was all we could afford. Never have we taken off, just the 5 of us, and enjoyed even a weekend away.
  • This free write took a much different turn than I had anticipated and I now sit here in tears. It’s all slipping by me faster than I can enjoy it. We’re always so caught up in getting through the days that there seem to be very few memories to catalog in the scrapbook. Where is the extraordinary for my children to look back on and say “Remember when we…?” Will they understand and appreciate that we gave it all up to pay for their education instead? Or will they resent us for working so hard that they have no summer vacation stories to report on the first day of school?
  • I don’t regret my decision in the least. There are no other educational options for my girls. The public school isn’t healthy for them, I would not make a good teacher to them and parochial options are just not something we’d consider. They are where they need to be, but the sacrifice is great. We don’t take vacations, we don’t eat out and can barely afford the month date night needed to maintain our marriage. Part of it is a lack of planning. We weren’t so good with money when we first got together and we still pay for our mistakes. We’re learning to budget better, making hard choices about what is and isn’t important and trying to establish some actual financial goals.
  • I’m also building a business, making an effort to increase our income but spending money along the way. I think we’re doing fabulous things there. It has great potential. It’s just going to take time to build the traffic we need for people to see how truly awesome it is. Time—isn’t that what everything needs? Just a little more time, a little more patience. Patience is not one of my virtues!

The winners of the 500 business cards sponsored by Uprinting are Mamacita and Adrianne! Both have been contacted and will receive an email with their exclusive coupon code from Uprinting. Winners were selected by Random.org. If I’d been choosing on originality, the award would have to go to Scary Mommy for her awesome idea of using business cards as gift tags. She graciously agreed to share her tip on Inexpensively—be sure to check it out, along with a few deals (and another giveaway) on business cards if you need to purchase your own!