Monday, May 15, 2017

On Celebrating Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and I had this nagging feeling all day that I didn't really feel like "celebrating." Not to suggest that I was upset about something -- the closest word I could find to describe how I was feeling was - undeserving.

Then we took a family trip to the grocery store, and I suddenly became aware of what it was that I was feeling. It had nothing to do with me and feeling "undeserving" of a good mother's day; it was actually a reinvigoration of appreciation for my husband. It's not that I didn't feel like celebrating Mother's Day, it's more so that I had internally redirected my focus on the strength of our relationship. I felt like it should have been a "Parent's Day" instead of a day focused on me.

We were in the checkout lane, and the cashier made a comment about how "it was dad's turn to cook" and that I deserved the day off. We chatted about how busy the restaurants were going to be that day, because, as the cashier put it: "the men don't know how to cook, so everyone goes out to eat on Mother's Day." We laughed, paid for our groceries, and then made our way to the car. This was the moment in which it all sunk in: I really did marry the right guy. The reason I don't feel like I "deserve" a mother's day where everyone caters to me on hand and foot is because I NEVER feel that I am the sole person responsible for caring for our family and tending to our household. I'm so incredibly blessed to have a husband that shares all of that work WITH me! We BOTH cook (so much for what the cashier said!), we both clean, we both do laundry... we split the work. I never feel unappreciated or that the weight is entirely on my shoulders to take care of our family.

Of course, dividing the overall work equally doesn't mean each person does 50% of each type of chore. There are some things that he owns while other tasks may be primarily done by me. But in the end, we both feel that the split is equal across all of the tasks. I think the format may be different from family to family - maybe one person works full time while the other cares for home and family (which is also a full time job!). Regardless of the distribution of work-work to home-work - the way everything is divided should be a conversation and an agreement between the two people involved. In our scenario, we both work full time so we split all of our home and family efforts. And we periodically discuss who will handle what, and ensure that we both agree that the distribution is fair.

Equality between a pair is an important part of a relationship's foundation, and is intertwined heavily with the respect you give to each other. This counts for marriages, and all other types of relationships, too. I will ensure that my daughters see how their father and I respect each other and treat each other as equals, so that they can apply the same expectations to their relationships (some day in the distant future... maybe I'll allow them to date when they are 25 or so).

And if you are wondering - yesterday was a fantastic Mother's Day. We ran some errands and found ourselves at a hardware store buying random things. We purchased and installed a bird feeder outside, and released 1,500 lady bugs into our yard (partially because they are a natural form of pest control, and partially to watch my girls' faces light up at the sight of 1,500 lady bugs). Then we barbecued, and played all afternoon. It was what we call a "no plans day" - we do whatever we feel like. And it was perfect!

Not an actual photo from yesterday - there were WAY ladybugs than this!


  • All relationships - not just marriages! - should be built upon respect and equality
  • If things are not equal - discuss and come to an agreement, together
  • Buying and releasing 1500 ladybugs into your yard is as fun as it sounds

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How I Met Your Father

Side note: There is one sad part to this post - my girls will probably not get the title reference.  But on the plus side, my story ends happily and AS EXPECTED.  Stupid TV shows and their terrible endings. Sigh.

Love at first... work assignment?

The story of how I met your father is not terribly interesting. We worked at the same place and he made me nervous. It was the first time in a long time that a guy had made me nervous. He'd show up and suddenly the temperature went up 500 degrees in the room, or he'd smile his charming smile and the next sentence out of my mouth made little to no sense. I always seemed to have the after thought of "why the heck did I say that?" when our conversations ended. Here he was, this intelligent,  handsome, funny, Brazilian guy and I felt like I couldn't even form proper words when I was in his presence. But none of that is interesting. What IS interesting is how he conned me into our first date - although, he didn't realize that is what he had done. But his unintentional con worked!

Can you feel the love tonight?

We had often chatted at the office, but it wasn't until about four or five months into me working there that we were given a project to work on together. We had made some progress, but we hadn't had many opportunities to sit down and focus on it. Our boss was out of town and due back Monday, so your father made the wonderful suggestion on a Friday afternoon that we go work on the project offsite so we could make some significant progress to present to bossman on Monday. Just us, no other co-workers to bother us with other tasks or issues. I agreed that this sounded was a good idea, and we decided that a local bar with wifi would be the most productive environment for us.

And, surprisingly, it was. We both clicked and realized that we were a great team. The ideas were flowing and the productivity was incredible. After several hours, we realized we were hungry so we grabbed a bite to eat. It was a great, productive work session and gave us the chance to get to know each other a little more. And, if you ask your dad, this was our first date. No way, buddy. Working together is definitely not a first date.

The misunderstanding and the REAL first date

The next week at work was a short week for your dad, as he was leaving for a month-long trip back to Brazil to visit his extended family.  On Monday, a coworker mentioned that there would probably be a goodbye happy hour in downtown before your dad left town. On my drive home that evening, I received a call from your father, inviting me out to downtown on Tuesday night. I said yes, thinking that this was just another invite to the goodbye gathering that our coworker had mentioned to earlier that day. Your dad's response - "Great, it's a ... plan!" Literally, this was his response. I had no idea that he had just asked me on a date and there was no group happy hour planned. To be fair - I would have said yes to your father either way! I might have caught on a little sooner if he had used the traditional phrase of "it's a date."

Tuesday evening rolls around, and I head to your dad's apartment as he had suggested we ride to downtown together. We had a briefly confusing conversation about who else was going (no one!) and then it hit me. There was no happy hour - this was a date! That stinker (and also, woohoo!).

That evening was the best first date I'd ever had - and, the last first date I would ever have. We went out to a delicious dinner at a Spanish restaurant, followed by some yummy gelato and a moonlit walk on the bayfront park. Then, we finished the night with a few rounds of pool. It was romantic and fun and it felt so natural, as though we had always been together. The conversation was easy, the laughs were frequent, and we seemed to have the same stance on so many topics. A night that I thought would be just another happy hour with coworkers ended up being the most magical date of my life. It was the best misunderstanding I could have hoped for - because it led to our happily ever after. Although, remind me to tell you sometime about how your dad asked me to move in with him. That was another fun misunderstanding (and again, obviously worked out well!).

romantic date with future hubby + gelato in hand + stroll through this park = heaven