Life in a blended family can sometimes get quite chaotic. As always, last week we had a revolving door of children. With two pre-teen girls and two teen boys, everyone had their own agenda for Halloween and it did not include hanging out with us. After letting everyone do their own thing for a while – stepkids went trick-or-treating at their mom’s house, my daughter went with friends in our neighborhood and my son went to a Halloween party – we reconvened and ended the night as a family. Our first Halloween as a blended family ended up being a success! Touch and go at points due to insanity caused by overload of sugar on the brain in the teen boys, but we made it.
And I was exhausted.
My amazingly handsome husband always knows me better than I know myself and he knows that my writing has had to be last on my priority list lately, so he surprised me with a weekend in a cabin at Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia. He claimed it was my “writer’s retreat.” It was so much more than that.
Marriage in and of itself is challenging. You must be proactive to keep the marriage healthy. This can be even more challenging in a second marriage because there are so many divisive elements between mine, his, ours and theirs. As I have said before, there are plenty of people who are somehow invested in your family and some of them are pulling against you. Because of this, the divorce rate is even higher than in first marriages. You have to be committed to your marriage and to making it work… and sometimes a trip away is the perfect catalyst for a happy couple.
It’s the first weekend that I can remember when we had no kids and no kids’ activities – no piano recitals or soccer tournaments or races. And as always, God’s timing was perfect. Right here before our six month mark of marriage, we were able to renew our relationship by just focusing on us.
While we love our children more than anything, it was nice to be in a cabin without having to worry about where the kids were. No arguments over which bedroom is for the boys and which is for the girls. No one saying, “I’m hungry” or “I’m bored” every twenty minutes throughout the day.
There are some times more than others when I am exceptionally aware of how lucky I am to have Joe. Last weekend was one of those times. He planned it all out and truly did everything in his power to make sure I was able to relax and write. God knew what he was doing when he kept me single for eight years before reconnecting me with Joe – I was waiting for him. And there is one thing last weekend has proven to me with absolute certainty… I can’t wait to grow old with this man.
I am an extrovert who thrives on being surrounded by laughter and excitement, so the fact that I can spend an entire weekend with no television, no cell service, and no other human being and love him even more than I did before we left, says a LOT. It helps support the fact that I have married the man I am supposed to spend the remainder of my days with. We can enjoy each other in every moment – dancing in front of the fire, walking in the woods, cooking steaks on the grill, rocking on the front porch, napping in the afternoon – just because we can.
Of course we got home to about 10 tons of laundry that needed to be done (including 20 towels… yes, 20 TOWELS) and today I have gotten the call from school that my daughter has a fever and then I got a text from my son telling me that he has a horrific headache. So it’s back to reality.
I am thankful for the renewal weekend though and it has proven to me the importance of us taking the time to focus on ourselves every once in a while. We are committed to not be one of the statistics, no matter who is pulling against us. Our children will see what a real marriage looks like when they look at us and for that I am proud. It may be a “second marriage,” but it’s our “forever marriage,” which is much more important than any number.