With every good memory, there is a smudge of bad – an argument, outside variables, health, natural disasters, mishaps of life – in the life of a blending family. We just have to decide what we want to remember more (because you just can’t erase the smidgens of the past; they’re part of the story, too). Life is real – real good; real bad – really beautiful, regardless. This memory – & this picture – is one of my faves of us.
Three years ago. We travelled to Dallas, sans kids. It was our designated weekend without kids. Sure, Dallas beckoned for one of our kid’s extra curricular activities, but we chose to also make it a one night getaway for us, since after her meet she would be with her others. I hope you noticed the words, chose to… you choose how & when to spend time together, alone, with your spouse/partner/life partner/number 1/favorite person.
In this picture, taken at Billy Bob’s, everyone gets to see us smiling, imagine us dancing at a notorious country club, listening to live music, watching rodeos, seeing famous signatures adorn the walls… and we really did all of that. But, we argued, too, quite a bit. Road trips can open discussions…
(Enter sidebar note: Arguing is not negative… it is inevitable. It also gets you from a stagnant point to an enlightened one. How you choose to deliver your message(s) can be negative, though… Handle the delivery of your words to your spouse/partner/life partner/number 1/favorite person with care. I mean, they are your spouse/partner/life partner/number 1/favorite person. You should want to handle them better than anyone else, right?)
My husband & I are not a languid amoeba. We are two different people, finding our way. Two people with complicated lives before we met, which tend to rear their ugly heads with impeccable timing. Two people with their fair share of issues. Two people with their fair share of successes long before we met one another. Most importantly, we are two people choosing to do family, together, regardless of the real good & real bad. Two varying spirits longing for two separate beautiful goals we are trying to choose to compromise into our own chosen goal. Together.
This post – albeit the first after a long pause in posting – is brief today. I chose to share these words because I recently heard someone mention how great we look on social media- our family, our life, us. Whereas those beautiful pictures are true of us, it would be a farce if I claimed to be a couple without hard moments encountered. We have experienced the horrendous; we even have witnesses (we have even been the subject of colorful discussions (yeah, those chats tend to find their way back to our ears.)). There is always a psychological, philosophical, &/or medical explanation behind each unbecoming event, too. Most could care less the reasoning behind those unfortunate moments. Let’s be honest- the world prefers smiles & good times, & they’ll be damned if you ruin it. It’s a socially acceptable form of selfish preferences of others. **raising hand as guilty in annoyance & frustration, too, when someone ruins my good time** Life just isn’t always smiles & good times, though.
With that being said, if you’re having a tough time this holiday season, know, you are not alone. Most of the world surrounding you has been there in one form or another. **raising hand as guilty for my share in tough times** Most just don’t want to chat about it. **raising hand as guilty for not always being in a position to listen to others’ bad times** Find the ones in your life willing to genuinely listen, hold your hand, & encourage you to get through your hard times. For it truly is unconditional love & an attempt at empathetic understanding (& often sympathy) which enables a person to get through life’s more difficult trials. **raising hand as guilty for needing to reach out to my true people** There is no easy formula. Everyone is different & requires altering journeys back to their happy place(s).
When the camera is in front of you this holiday season, smile. The good times are more fun to remember when you look back.
Also know, even though my family, today, often appears in this manner on social media-
(My husband’s fave pic of this fall’s family photo session.)
(One of my fave pics of this fall’s family photo session.)
We are most often resembling this-
My husband’s face speaks a thousand words of a man surrounded by too much estrogen, the teens are primping (does that ever stop?), the 3rd grader is ACTUALLY being patient (although she probably just got done telling the photographer how to take the pic, haha), the baby is about to steal the guitar, & my head is chopped off (lol, which we as mothers tend to feel at times… forgotten, right?!)… a picture perfect account of REAL LIFE!
And, this is probably the most accurate account of us-
Our oldest with her, “really, kid?!” expression, my firstborn beaming with unconditional love, pride, & understanding of her little sister, the little sister laughing at the temper tantrum of the baby (or laughing at me wresting the baby to get back to the picture (or both)), my husband attempting his natural way at Jedi-mind-tricking our kids, and me genuinely loving even these moments (despite my anxiety & what-sound-like-complaints-but-are-really-normal-mom-frustrations). (And, this is my top fave pic of this fall’s family photo session).
So…. As you peruse through the perfect photos posting on social media this holiday season, do not allow the pristine nature to steal your joy by feeling as though your “chaos” is not good enough. Because guess what? Every smile seals the real chaos behind. We all have it. Remember, your chaos is beautiful! I know mine is.
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Family Photos Credit to Sara Mullins Photography https://www.saramullinsphotography.com/
Our Couple Selfie Photo Credit to my husband, Donald Antley, which popped up today on FaceBook’s on this day memory… and sparked this blog… shortly after a beautiful argument I shared with him- my spouse/partner/life partner/number 1/favorite person.