Monday, April 19, 2010

we went over the bridge and past the troll

A very long time ago we made a few HUGE decisions about the path we would take. We felt really good about these decisions, like we were being led by the hand into this chapter. We knew the following months would be difficult because the chosen path separated us for more than half of 2009 (me with our young children), and although we would be together again come the New Year, Duke's work schedule would be rigorous, leaving me once more alone to parent for several months longer.
I now have limitless respect for single parents. And military families. My heart aches for the load they carry.
Maybe sometimes it seems like I've kept it all together effortlessly. False. This has really tried me. There have been mornings when I've desperately wished that the sun wouldn't raise on another lonely day. What kept me going was the promise of an end to these struggles.
The end came. But, strangely, the relief didn't. Duke had several days off to spend with us, but even in his company I felt alone. I realize now that it was silly of me to think that overnight I could become endlessly happy. The result of my dashed hope was a heap of tears, an angry tantrum, and a very confused husband.
Of course I still would feel lonely. It takes time to cultivate good relationships, and equal effort to repair strained bonds. Plus, I can remember what it was like to become a parent for the first time. Why wouldn't it be just as hard for someone to get back into the swing of things after an extended time away.
We talked things through over Thai food, the kids with Grandparents for the day. We still needed to talk so we went shopping together. And we talked more over hot coco at a cozy coffee shop. Time together, quality time with only one another, heals me.
We realized that we hadn't officially celebrated the great feat we had accomplished over the last 16 months. We clinked our mugs and sang the "we did it" song from Dora the Explorer (if that's any indication that we spend all our time with toddlers). We said a prayer of gratitude and asked that the Lord accept our offering, despite our shortcomings.
And like that, it was over. The chapter was over. Like that, it was Spring.
The words of a sweet woman, Miss Barbara Thompson, came to mind; "Most of you work very hard to perform your duty, to keep the commandments, and to obey the Lord. You need to be able to recognize the Lord’s approval. You need to know that the Lord is well pleased and has accepted your offering."
How often do we do our very best and still not feel like we're good enough? I know I am guilty of feeling quite guilty. I learned that I can just turn it over to the Lord. And He will most likely send me peace and words like these; "I, THE Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies." (Doctrine and Covenants 111:1)
When we were shopping, Duke picked out these great tights for me, and I wore them Sunday. We took a family walk, we each gave lessons at church, then we spoke at a "fireside" which is a meeting in the evening to rejoice together about the Gospel of Christ.
The above picture is of our church's nursery, where our children play and sings songs. Below is the Primary room where I teach the children between the ages of 3 and 11. Duke gets to be in there with me since his assignment is over the 9 to 11 year-old boys.
Saturday was heavy. Sunday was light.
And now I am starting to notice that the blessings we've received far outnumber our sacrifices.


Mrs. Blimes said...

beautiful M. Exactly what I needed to hear on this crazy hard disappointing Monday. The Lord truly can lift us thru the times when it seems like we're just waiting for the next chapter to begin.

I just have to say once again, I love your blog to pieces!!!



emily said...

wow. this is fantastic. you really have been through a lot. i can't imagine being a single mother and you did it for your time with grace. i'm glad and husband you took time alone together and really got back on track (and welcomed spring). it makes me happy to see it because i always worry about having enough one on one time with ben once we decide to have kids.
hope you are happy and well today, lady.

Team Cowan said...

I really appreciate how you don't cover everything with sugar and top it with a perfect little cherry. Sometimes life is hard and our job is to figure out how to enjoy it despite everything else. And, more importantly, be grateful for the opportunities to grow. And I love the tag on there: "We're a mess but so in love." I think that's the case with every happy marriage. :)

Domesticated-Bliss said...

Wow. Such an honest post, I don't want to comment just to comment, but I wanted to thank you for putting your experience into words. I think lots of couples go through this feeling, when you get used to taking care of yourself and of doing things by yourself, it can be difficult to begin to 'share' again. Glad you're through it :)

Love the yellow tights!

Rachel said...

I wanted to be the first to comment on this post because I KNOW people will. I just wanted to say thanks for the awesome pictures of my childhood. I know you know that I have spent A LOT of my young life in that lovely building and at that great park and it was great to have a flood of memories come back to me. And THANK YOU A BILLION TIMES for putting our adoption button on your blog!!!

*Lesli* said...

Heartwarming post as always. I am a single mother and there are days when I feel guilty for not being able to do it all effortlessly, and without a smile on my face. It really is exhausting, but as you know, worth every minute. I'm happy that you two took time to talk and celebrate together. And I love your tights!!

MaryPosa said...

I do know how you feel. I'm married to a basketball coach, and in all honestly, during the season we rarely see each other. (it doesn't help that on top of basketball he often works 60 hour weeks - it won't be like this forever, but during his student teaching it's a necessity.) I always think that the second basketball season ends that I will feel all perfect and less like a single parent. But it's never really like that is it? I'm glad i'm not the only married girl who feels completely lonely sometimes. But I know it will be worth it in the end, for both of us. :) Thank you for sharing your testimony here. I love it.

On a side note - We also sing the Dora "We Did It" song after momentous occasions. It comes with the territory of parenting toddlers I guess. :)

Bridget said...

LOVE your yellow tights. and now i have dora in my head.

and people are sooo very complicated... and we have such expectations (high or low) on ourselves that sometimes we don't meet... and it's brave to admit that and know that it's okay.

robin said...

great post. you are one gorgeous girl.

love the blowfish flats. i was JUST looking at those on zappos. seriously.

Brieanna said...

I admire your ability to be so open with your feelings. I find myself holding back because I worry that I may overwhelm Joe, who is already doing so much. We have talked about it and he said he would rather know, but it's my nature to keep things to myself. You're very lucky that you can let it all out. In the AA big book, it is said that expectations lead to premeditated resentments. I try to remember this always. Sometimes when we have this ideal and it doesn't work out, we get angry. It's easy to do. You are wonderful Meg and I'm sorry it was such a hard time for you. You are beautiful.

Linzi said...

You are a great mom and a great friend. I miss you even more after reading this post! Your strength simply amazes me at times. I'm so glad things are going to quiet down and you can spend some time as a family. I'm also loving the flats!

Rach said...

So I got kind of emotional reading this post, I'm so happy for u guys. You did it! Is it weird to say I'm proud of u? Cause reading this post, that's the first thing that came to my mind.

Chasey and Cash said...

Such a great post...I love that you can talk and work through things together...I was seriously lacking in that department...and I did end up a single mom. It's so unbelievably tough at times, I raise my hat to you. Somehow you raise three boys "mostly" alone and you do it with a smile on your face..(most of the time).
Marriage is so easy to give up on...believe me...I didn't give up...but my other half did.

For better or worse, right? I truly, truly believe that!

Briggs Family said...

In many ways I know what you are going through. Let me just say that when Brandon and I started living together again permanently after being apart for almost a year due to his work, it was hard. Its hard adjusting to the way we do things and being together all the time again. Its nice to know others know how you feel. Thanks megan, you always did know just what to say:)

Vashti said...

I really love this post! Me and my husband are going to be away from each other for quite a long time come september, so reading this gives me such good insight on what it will be like, but also how to try to get things on some normal ground when we are together again. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I love the way you dress! :) And I like your sincerity, it makes everything you write more real and encouraging!

Kat & Paul said...

you did it!

Mandy said...

" the blessings we've received far outnumber our sacrifices."

You said it, sister. Powerful stuff.

I love reading your life.