Tag Archives: marriage

A Glimpse of the Other Side

empty nestI have a teen-ager in my house. Raising him to be a level-headed, productive, faithful adult has been the priority. In a few years, he will graduate and head off to college. My husband and I will begin the journey toward the empty-nest. This summer, our son was chosen to participate in a three-week music program. He would be away without our being able to visit. His departure meant we would have an empty nest.

I’ve heard of couples who really struggle when all the kids leave. No longer do they have a buffer or something other than themselves on which to focus their attention. They have spent years sometimes decades raising kids and functioning as parents. They don’t know how to be individuals and a couple.

I had no expectation about what our three weeks would be like. Would we fight? We don’t usually. Would we talk and spend time together or each find our own space in the house to spend our evenings? What would our weekends be like? No work, no activity with our son’s sports team. Would our conversations center around wondering what he was doing or anecdotes about when he’s with us?

We came home from dropping him off. The energy in the house was different. Admittedly, I felt a little antsy. I had no one to be responsible for. So, I took the dog for a walk. This gave me time to think. I decided to take on a couple of overdue projects while he was gone.

My husband was supportive of the painting and home projects and even suggested one of his own. And so our time began. Our weekdays were pretty normal, we worked. Our evenings were a little different. I tried to plan our dinners. We ate at home, but in front of the television. Several evenings I worked on my projects and finished them in the first week or so. We connected in conversation like we always do. We had a few more date nights then we would have. We laughed and enjoyed just hanging out together. In other words, I was very encouraged by our test run at empty nesting.

I think when the time comes, we will be ready. We will graduate into the next phase of our relationship smoothly. Our son is a blessing and a very special part of our family. But my husband and I like and enjoy each other as well. We are in love and are best friends.

In and of itself, our relationship is strong. We are as intentional about taking care of our marriage as we are about parenting. As parents, we are to raise our kids to release them to live full and productive lives. This is certainly easier said than done. But it’s necessary. Parents, when our job of raising kids is complete, our lives are not over. We will enjoy our son as an adult in whatever work he takes on. Together, my husband and I will have a new adventure in post child-rearing years.

KK

 

Ladies, Pay Attention

Many of us have experienced having a teenager in the house and what that can mean to getting dressed to go somewhere. They camp out in the bathroom for what seems hours and then there is a thunderstorm of clothing whirling around their room. But when they are ready, they are ready!

For the appropriately dressed teenage young lady (#momofgirls), the outfit is well put together with hair and makeup complete. They leave the house looking sharp and feeling good about the way they present themselves.

Recently while having lunch at a fast food restaurant on a Sunday, I watched families come in. For some it was obvious they were coming from church. The daughters were well dressed with hair and make-up. Just behind them were their mothers dressed in what I can only guess were clothes they had tripped over when getting out of bed and hair haphazardly pulled back in a ponytail (#styleover40). Important note, these were not families with small children that needed tending to get everyone out the door on time. Sadly, it was same for several families I observed. Please understand my thought wasn’t about why the mothers weren’t dressed to the nines, it was more about taking a little pride in what they were wearing and how they presented themselves.

Middle-age moms take note. Now is NOT the time to let yourself go. I get it, you are either married and don’t think you need to impress anyone, or you are tired of trying to figure out what fits and what doesn’t. You are right, our bodies aren’t young and firm like the teenager or twenty-something sitting across from you at work. There are two reasons I can see for a middle-aged woman to decide to make a few changes.

First, we don’t feel as young and spry as we once did. Energy levels can droop as much as our [choose body part]. There are a few more lines around our eyes and our moisturizer is our best friend. These things don’t go away under frumpy over-sized clothing. In fact, they get worse. This is your opportunity to “fake it till you feel it”. Get yourself ready to leave the house feeling complete and ready to take on the day. If your clothing is looking aged or faded, take a few minutes and clean out your wardrobe. Consignment shopping can help with budgeting for new outfits.

Second, if you are married, consider this: are you being the best you can be for your husband? Think about it, in a few years when the kids are grown and gone, it’s going to be time for just the two of you. Time for holding on to each other and enjoying the life you have built and watching your children build their own lives. Why not continue to be the “beautiful bride” of years past?
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You may be thinking, “have you seen my middle-aged husband?” That’s not the point. You can’t control him, but you have complete control over yourself and your choice to age gracefully.

If you aren’t married and have a husband to consider, you are probably living a life filled with friends, work, and adventures that you still want to look and feel your best at.

Ladies, we have the choice to let ourselves go and let the aging process take over. I’ve not even mentioned diet and exercise. You tell me. After 30 days of getting up and really taking time to put yourself together for the day is there more motivation for healthier eating?

Ponder this and let me know.
KK

P.S. — please use the teenage reference as an example of how much to care about our appearance not WHAT we should be wearing. It may be worse to go from frumpy middle-aged lady to “scary lady wearing her daughter’s clothing”.  Age appropriate, please.

6 Things I’m grateful for – One at a Time – Number 2

Today I am thankful to be both a mother and a wife.  I have a teenage son who is becoming an outstanding young man.  Don’t get me wrong, we have our moments where I have to stop, take a deep breath and realize he will grow out of some of the typical teenage attitudes.  But for the most part it brings me great joy and great challenge to raise him.

There hasn’t been a stage of raising Cole that I have liked better than the other.  I loved cuddling and caring for him as an infant.  As a toddler and small child he was all smiles.  The worst part of my day was leaving him at daycare every morning, but the best part of my day was picking him up in the evening.  He was into super heroes for many years, so I never had to fear danger because Spiderman or Buzz Lightyear was never far away.  Elementary years were when things got a little challenging because his questions got bigger.  I realized I needed some wisdom to help him begin to enter the bigger boy world of friends, sports, and building character.   Every stage has been enlightening and has driven me to my knees more than once.  Next year we head into high school; I’ll keep you posted.

Believe it or not, I sometimes feel less equipped to be a good and Godly wife than I do a mother.  Five years ago I married a wonderfully Godly man who loves me and Cole with all of his heart.  There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for either of us.  Getting remarried in my forties, I found myself older and smarter about how to do marriage right.  First of all, I know Jay needs to know I respect him.  I appreciate all of his hard work to provide for us.  I love his personal convictions and character.  Secondly, we work together equally.  If I need Jay’s help, he is available and willing.  Just about every morning I ask him if there is something I can do for him.  He is a very independent sort and he may not ask me if there is something I can help with.  The other reason I am mindful to ask him is that I know it’s easy for me to get lost in my own to-do list and not consider others.  Cole teases us because he’s never heard us fight.  We don’t.  We love each other and work very hard to think of the other person first.  With both of us doing this, it really makes being a wife a joy.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when one of us has hurt the other’s feelings.  In those times a little communication goes a long way.  The hurt doesn’t stew, we talk about it and each of us is quick to apologize.

These two men make it very easy to serve them as mother and wife.  I am very thankful for the opportunity to do so every day of my life.

All the best,

KK