Don't things look good in pictures? You know why? They are quiet. That's right - pictures are quiet. They don't portray the floor shattering thumps of boys jumping off dressers. They don't tell the story of babies up at night screaming. Pictures are quiet. And words. They are quiet too. For the most part anyway, unless of course you are typing LIKE THIS!!!!!!! And even then it is quiet, but you get the feeling there might be yelling going on.
I had a conversation at work today about our "perfect" family. How sweet we all look. How loving my words are. We are, aren't we? Sweet and Loving? If you don't count the Ultimate Fighting Championship that happens in my living room (or any other available room) a few times a week. Or the Nascar race around my first floor and Ethan conveniently, accidentally, of course, tripping Owen as he turns the corner. Or at night when Owen is supposed to be going to bed, but instead he is singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star rather enthusiastically. Either that or he is yelling "I want my daddy!" because he has just gotten in trouble for the final time. Ah, sweet and loving indeed.
But then there are the moments of reckless abandon. The laughter. The smiles. The hugs. The kisses. The words. These three children are beyond anything I could have ever imagined they would be. They love unconditionally, passionately. Whatever they do, they do it with gusto. But they are not quiet.
And then there is my marriage. Oh, my wonderful, delightful marriage. And it is; wonderful and delightful - now. Chris absolutely fulfills me and I couldn't imagine a life without him. That is not to say that we haven't had our dark days when neither of us were sure we would actually pull out of it. At one of our lowest times, I actually left and stayed in a hotel for a night. Most likely because I was OVER IT picking his clothes up off the floor. Now, I will add I was in the depths of postpartum depression at the time. Chris had no idea what to do or not to do to help me. I was hateful and mean and sad and lonely and all the rest of it. I cried more than I did anything else and I am sure part of him didn't really want to help me. Who could blame him? I wasn't pleasant. But then I read Brooke Shields book "Down Came the Rain" and a light bulb went off in my head that maybe, just maybe I needed more help than I could possibly give myself. Things started to turn around after time but Chris and I were still just kind of co-existing. And then the heart attack. And suddenly everything that I thought was a sure thing in my life was in question. And right there, just like that, I knew it would change. And it has. And that is why I can say without a doubt that I never want to live a day without him. Now when I write loving things about Chris they are from my heart. A can't wait until Valentines Day this year because I am completely head over heels smitten with him and I can't wait to celebrate. Yes, he does still leave his clothes on the floor occasionally. But that's a small price to pay for everything he brings to our family. That's not to say that I don't roll my eyes - HONEY!
So the lesson is let's be honest with each other. Raising children is hard. Hard on a parent, hard on a marriage. You spend many days trying to come up with one more recipe for chicken breasts or just getting through the day one step at a time. It is rarely ever glamorous unless you call being pee'd on, pooped on, spit up on, wiping bottoms, or cleaning up vomit (which is the one thing that I can't do without gagging) glamorous, and it doesn't do anyone any good to pretend that it is. We have struggles just like everyone else. But at the end of the day, they are our struggles and we will work through them as a family. What is it that Jon and Kate + Eight used say? It may be a crazy life, but it is our life.