Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Simply a Good Marriage...

I've encountered a few questions here and there in the past year related to my surgery. Most are easy to answer...others make me stop and think a moment or two.

The one question I've been asked time and again is "How's your marriage? Is it better or worse?" Even my therapist has asked me that same question at least twice (is she trying to trip me up and get a different answer?)

I'll be glad to answer that question.

My marriage is amazing.

It is better than amazing. It's simply over the moon.

Nope. I'm not lying. Hand on the Bible. (and we all know how I love me some Jesus) I am telling the honest full complete truth.

I would have never had this surgery if I didn't have the support of my husband behind me 110%. Sure, it was ultimately my decision to make, but I needed him to be standing beside me every step of the way. And he has. He went to the seminars with me, doctor's appointments, pre-op appointments, and he was there when they wheeled me back to surgery and was waiting when I got back to the room. He knows as much as I do about the post-op life and keeps a loving eye on me when I eat to make sure I'm okay. He doesn't hover over me, but I know he's watching and when the food addiction wants to take control again, he's there to help me get a handle on that raging monster.

Many marriages don't survive a spouse having a drastic weight loss. Insecurities rise to the surface and the marriage can drown. Many WLS* patients who are in unhappy marriages pre-op find confidence that was deeply hidden after the weight loss and will spread their wings. My wings were never clipped so I never worried about my marriage drowning in the aftermath.

We have taken this walk together. I'm about 35 lbs smaller than when we met and started dating. Oh yeah....this man is loving the new and improved Miss Hope. I've rediscovered confidence I forgot existed. Then again, I'm paranoid and very reluctant to wear more fitted clothing. So many times I put an outfit on and critique it in the mirror (usually on Sunday mornings before church) and when I'm an inch away from changing into something else....he reassures me that it's fine and I believe him. He has ALWAYS called me "Beautiful", even when I didn't believe him because I knew what I looked like in the mirror. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but one day we were going on base/post and I looked at my military I.D. and then I put it beside my face and said, "Wow! Look at this!" He glanced over and did a double take. He then said the most memorable thing. He said..."Ya know, I never saw you like that. I just saw my beautiful wife."

Please, don't think we're not a normal couple. We disagree on occasion. I backseat drive better than anyone I know and it gets me lots of sideways eye rolls and huffs of exasperation. I also PMS like nobody's business once a month, and still he stays. I tend to nag when I ask for something to be done and weeks later I'm still waiting. Yet, here he stays.

Tomorrow is our 9 year wedding anniversary. We joke all the time that we've known each other 11 years total and STILL LIKE EACH OTHER! I can't imagine my life without him. I want to grow old with this man. I want to finish raising our kids, spoil grankids, and travel in our golden years with this man.

I am grateful my husband had an amazing upbringing with wonderful parents. I love his parents with all my heart and wish we lived closer to each other all the time. Anyone who knows my in-law's can testify I'm telling the truth. Neighbor Debbie and I share custody of them at times and she claims them for her own, too. I know I'm blessed to have such a loving relationship with my mother and father in-law. I cherish it and hold it close. They did an amazing job raising my husband (although my FIL would be glad to tell you a few stories about raising The Man that would make you think a little different!) and they love their grandchildren fully and completely. My children know the love of grandparents even though distance separates them. Thank you, Mrs. M and Mr. C!!! I owe you a debt of gratitude!

Raising kids isn't easy, either. This Man has been the most amazing father to my three babies. He may butt heads with the oldest at least once a week, but that gal knows her Daddy loves her. In fact, she'll text him quicker than she will me! The middle child is comfortable and confident in his love. They give each other a hard time and pick like crazy on each other, but she's quick to sit on his lap like she's still 2 years old when she needs a Daddy moment. Oh, that boy of ours. He is quite the handful, but that boy loves his Dad and his favorite time is when they go every three weeks to get a haircut and stop at the Waffle House for breakfast. It's their time and it's special. I thank God all the time for letting this man be the Father he is to these incredible people we've been blessed to raise.

I appreciate every single time he opens a door for me. I appreciate how he never fails to tell me I look nice/good/beautiful when we go somewhere. I appreciate how when we're sitting in the evenings watching t.v. and I look over at him and say..."Hey, I'll give you a dollar if you fix me something to drink (usually coffee)." and he will get up and do it. (I probably owe him a few hundred bucks by now.) I appreciate how he loves me and accepts me as I am....even when I can't.

Happy Anniversary, Honey. I look forward to many many more with you. There's nothing better than being able to tell you I love you every single day and mean it from the bottom of my heart.

*WLS-Weight Loss Surgery

Monday, September 10, 2012

New All the Way Around School Year

I am aware my younger two have been back in school a month. My College Kid has been walking the campus for a few weeks now. I didn't do the annual back to school picture of the youngest two as I wanted to include the oldest in on the post, too. Add in the fact that when the younger two started, I was wide open getting the oldest prepared to leave the nest. Holy cow! Preparing a kid to have their own place is expensive! I kept thinking of things I felt she would need and we had the Tahoe packed to the limit and her car when we took her that big Friday.

Of course, I took pictures to share with you all. I thought I'd share some and explain as we go. Kind of like an Edge Show and Tell post. Won't you come along for our first day pictures?

First day of 8th grade. For the first time since she was three years old, she has bangs. Granted, she was still learning how to make them work, but she loves them. I can't believe this tiny kid will be in high school next year!!

Yeah, she has personality. 

 When we went school shopping, this boy took off in the store after asking his size and did a little shopping of his own. I was kind of impressed. This is the shirt he picked out for his first day and I think he did pretty good. Man, that's a good looking guy!!

He picked out his backpack. I have to laugh at him wearing camouflage shorts. He is the exact opposite of a boy who wears camo. He loves those shorts, but I find it hard to match a shirt! I know. I know. Everything is supposed to go with camouflage. Not in my mind, people.

 We had the third row of seats down and this vehicle was packed to the limits that Friday morning. I told my husband that if we got hit on the road, we would literally explode.

 See this small amount of stuff? When we were checking Paige in to get her keys, I stayed in the truck with The Boy. This young kid pulled up in a small beater pickup truck beside us. He had an old bicycle thrown in the back and in his truck was a garbage bag, a blanket, a pillow, and cardboard box. That's it. All his worldly goods he thought important. I started laughing because I know that's how boys roll. That kid had less stuff than this pile right here.

We stopped for breakfast on the way. We laughed. We drank coffee. I enjoyed every single second I had with my girl. Yes, her siblings went with us. The Boy's psychiatrist felt it might be a good thing to take him to see where Sissy was going to live. It gives him a picture in his mind and it truly helped with the initial separation. It was definitely a family affair.

I may have texted my child more than a few times to beg for a first day of school picture. I threw the whole "I have one since you were in 3k so pleeeeeaaaaasssseeeee". She's a good girl and Mama got her picture. Look at my girl all growed up!!
It's been an adjustment all the way around. Third grade now has real grades! (Don't get me started over the past two years where he simply got S's). I admit I was nervous about the real grades and we worked in a 3rd grade workbook all summer and talked about grades and how important they are. I am THRILLED to say he got his interim report last week and has 100 averages thus far. Also, his teacher called to tell me he's been moved to a higher math level class. Chances are he'll be tested for gifted in the Spring. Who's bustin' buttons right now? This Mama!! Homework is a different story. It looks like the ADHD meds are wearing off earlier due to him taking them earlier in the day. He may have to take a "piggyback" medication in the afternoons so he can focus on homework and have calmer evenings. We're still contemplating this.
Eighth grade is what my Makenna loves. She has every single class with her best friend. Projects are the norm every single week and she never complains. Chorus is her passion and she's trying out for all-state this year. She's already researching fine art degrees. What?? I just tell her she can succeed greatly at whatever she decides. I love how this kid has a great group of friends and she's finally getting a little social on the weekends. She's always been content to sit at home, but now she's wanting to do sleep overs and go places! YaY....I think.
College has been an eye opener for Paige. First thing she realized is that there is much walking to be done. She's finding her way and we text quite a bit. I send her pictures of Prissy and her siblings on a regular basis. She even got a picture of her brother's first interim report. I have vowed to keep her involved in their lives and vice versa. She's had her car towed with a call full of panic to her Daddy. God bless the man because he can figure it all out over the phone and she had it back within the hour. She's making friends and exploring her new area. This past weekend, the air conditioner went out in her room/dorm/apartment. My child is not one to sweat so she got busy finding out how to fix her air. Suffice it to say, they will be getting a new motor in their A/C today. She was put out that her room mates were just going to sit there and swelter and suffer. I told her that's why I've made her do the things I did while she was growing up. You have to prepare these kids to take care of themselves! Another example to show you is the first week, she was taking the garbage out and chatted with the maintenance man. He was disgusted that the first night, there were a half dozen calls to come plunge toilets. The kids had no idea how to plunge a toilet. Paige blinked and informed him she's been plunging toilets since she was tall enough to do so. In fact, her Mama bought one and it was sitting beside her toilet at that moment. He was thrilled to hear this. I miss that girl with every fiber of my being, but I am so proud that she's out there and taking care of herself and having fun.
It's been interesting the past month for sure. I'm hanging in there and watching my kids grow at the speed of light. It feels like I'm going to blink and it will be Christmas morning!