Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Ties

Steven and I talk about family a lot . . . because we are one, but also because we are both interested in the different dynamics going on in a variety of families that we know. What makes up a "healthy and happy" family? I KNOW for certain that different families have different definitions for that. But is there a universal definition for healthy family relationships?

I don't know.

I know that growing up I held the family-given motto of "Sister's Come First", meaning above boyfriends, cousins, parents, best friends . . . you took care of your sisters first. I was also extremely attached and dependent on my parents. But now I am married, and I slowly adjusted to my new motto, "Steven comes first." This takes on a lot of new meanings for me. It doesn't just mean that I take care of his needs before I would take care of my friends needs. It means I go to Steven for help before I go to my friends or parents or sisters for help. He is my first thought in any situation (or should be).

Today we talked about some big-worded psychological theory, that I will rename "The Airplane Theory" for this occasion. When you are on an airplane, they tell you if the oxygen masks drop down, adjust yours first. You cannot help your neighbor if you have passed out. So we were talking about how we have to look out for ourselves in order to look out for each other.

All of this sounds neat and all, but what if you can't help yourself? What if your spouse WON'T help you? Or what if they think you are being selfish by looking out for yourself? Then can you bypass those rules and ask other people for help? We didn't come to a conclusion really. But I would still say look out for yourself, and have the strength long enough to find someone qualified to help you do this. You wouldn't take driving lessons from someone who had their license revoked for reckless driving . . . not even to learn from their mistakes. You wouldn't take relationship advice from someone who was currently going through a divorce. You wouldn't take parenting advice from someone who had their kids taken away by DHS. But we so often vent to friends who (with the best of intentions) give us advice . . . but who are probably not qualified to guide us in that situation.

I have rambled for awhile. I guess I have just really learned to value the people out there who study and pay to become qualified to help others in their life's journey.

I hope to be one of these people in a couple of years.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the beauty of advocacy

Sometimes there comes a point (or many points) in one's life where they are not strong enough to make decision's for themselves. Sometimes they don't have the clarity of mind to know what is the best. Sometimes they are made to feel selfish for needing to take care of themselves. As a school teacher and a parent, I understand the importance of children having advocates - someone who will defend, support, and encourage them. However, I have recently learned that adults sometimes need advocates too.

I have been so fortunate to have recently seen the beauty of advocacy. I have been bullied and beaten by this situation at school (not people at school, mind you) and I was determined to be strong through it and do the job I committed to do. But the situation is taking it's toll on my mental, emotional, and physical state. It was beautiful and maddening the day I was venting to my husband, and he DEMANDED that I put in my two weeks notice. It was beautiful and frightening when I feared that my father would drive to the school and give someone (who knows who) a piece of his mind. It was beautiful and confusing this morning when I spoke to my motherly principal about what I was experiencing and she convinced me that I needed to take care of myself so I could take care of my family.

With that I gave my notice that I would start looking for something else to pay the bills. It is a shot to my pride to say goodbye to something that I was so excited to be a part of. But my advocates did for me what I could not do - and that is to pull the plug on an unhealthy situation without making me feel bad or selfish about it. I hope that I can be this for someone some day.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Saturday night I went to a high school friend's wedding. I love going to wedding's now and reminiscing my own. I listened to them take their vows and remember the thought that went into writing ours. We didn't want it to be the standard vows - not because they don't mean anything - but because we wanted to really be heard by each other. The vows I took were these . . .

"I, Kinsey, take you, Steven, to be my wedded husband. I will embrace you when you are loveable just as much as when you are difficult. I will love you when we are wealthy just as much as when we have nothing but each other. I will take care of you when you are healthy and strong, just as much as when you are weak and ill. You will be my closest and most trusted friend until the day we die and I will thank the Lord everyday for such a personal and precious gift. This is my vow to you."

It helped me to really know what I was getting myself into when we wrote them. Stuff happens. Big, hairy, complicated, tragic stuff happens. I was accepting the grab bag of possibilities - positive and negative. Luckily, so far with Steven, it has been almost completely positive. No big horrible events. But life is complicated. Somehow, the person that I wanted to spend time with more than anyone in the world, is the person I have allowed myself to see the least. Our work schedules are near opposites. Our hobbies don't so much complement each others hobbies. So instead of compromising, we have just allowed ourselves to do the things we need or want to do . . . without each other.

Steven went to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas this weekend to train for a competition. He really wanted me to go so badly. I said no. I just started work and I wanted to relax this long weekend at home - plus I didn't want to worry about having Davie out there. I regret my decision now. I miss him, and not just because he's gone this weekend.

Sometimes I wish we could pack up and move somewhere that neither of us know anyone else. All we would have is each other. Everything we would do would be together. The friends we would make would be OUR friends.

We have been so grateful that Steven could stay home with Davie, while I teach during the day, and then he can teach at night or on the weekends - but really I would rather have Davie in daycare than never see, or really enjoy, my husband. We have date night on Fridays, but it's not enough. So for now, I don't really have a solution - except to muster up the energy to do things he wants to do in the evenings. But it feels good to want to muster up the energy for him - to not be apathetic about our relationship. He is too good to not be with as much as possible.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Davie Lu's Birthday among other thoughts

I feel like a bad mother for not blogging about Davie's birthday - but hey, I've been busy. I also haven't had time to upload pics or video from her party. But I will . . . one day. It was a good one - except the birthday girl didn't plan her naps very well and was a tad cranky at her party. But she turned one anyway. She is big now. Crawling is SO 11 months old. I feel like she looks less and less like me everyday. She is her own little lady now, and I love her SO much it is hard to even think about.

Today was one of those bad teacher days - there was nothing much motivating the students to be good it seemed. My blood pressure pretty much stayed at the top of my head most of the afternoon. The sea of 5th graders seemed to swell up and suffocate me. But even when I sent a student to the office for being extremely disruptive - I found myself excited to see what he is like in 3 years. I imagined him coming back to my room from 8th grade and helping me to round up the new batch of 5th graders. I imagined him hugging me before he left for boarding school. These 5th graders have a long road ahead - but I want to be around to keep them on the road.

I love/hate teaching.