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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happily Ever After


The best we can give our children is a happy marriage. Mac Daddy and I, together, are the blocks that built this family. We are its foundation, which is apt since we can both be stubborn as bricks. I think we would both say that the family we are nurturing is far different from the families we grew up in.

I grew up wanting for nothing. Well, nothing but an emotional connection, some affection, a belly laughing good time, and a little less tension swirling around the atmosphere. All of my physical needs were met but few of my emotional ones. My family's "emotional intelligence" would have been off the charts, as in below the starting point. My home was not filled with laughter and silliness. Whimsy was not a word I understood until I had children of my own. We were simply four silos sharing a last name living amongst each other in the same field. And then we were three, one silo having moved away, changing its name.

Perhaps I am overcompensating now that I have a family of my own. But is there such a thing as over doing it when we're talking about building a strong, healthy, happy family? Can a mother overdo her love (well, aside from the helicopter mom syndrome)?

Mac Daddy and I spend loads of time with Bird and Deal. We rarely miss dinner together at the table (TV off, natch). We all truly enjoy each other's company. Whether it's on the tennis court or traipsing the aisles of the grocery store, we spend our time together. We are a very affectionate family, giving each other drive by kisses for no reason. Bird used to do this as a toddler, and I can still picture him tossing his arms around my neck and then scampering off in a blink. The thing is, all the time we have amounts to a cosmic blink.

And so in that time, I want my sons to grow up and remember their childhood fondly. I want their memories to be filled with kitchen delights, stolen kisses between Mommy and Daddy, tickle fests, games of baseball in the backyard, family slumber parties, Dance Party USA. I want them to want to emulate the foundation Mac Daddy and I have built. I want to give them a sense of HOME - belonging, security, unconditional love, trust, warmth, fun, connection.

I have no connection to my family's roots and heritage, giving me no sense of belonging. Despite my many years of prodding (13 to be exact), I have little to no information about my family to share with Bird and Deal. I don't even know my grandparents' names. I have no family lore to share. No tales to weave about their Indian heritage. No tools to celebrate 50% of their ethnicity. Luckily Mac Daddy has a wonderfully detailed tome about his family roots so we can share that with the boys to enrich their sense of family ties. It goes back several generations to the first settlers in America. It does make for a great read, especially because the old fashioned names like Muttes crack us up.

We will no doubt embarrass our boys, tormenting them throughout their adolescence. You should hear the whooping and groaning when I kiss Mac Daddy goodbye every morning. The decibel is exponentially louder when we kiss for no reason at all. You would be hard pressed on at any given time of day to find someone in the family not touching someone else - bestowing a hug, grasping a finger, climbing atop a shoulder, perching on a lap. I know that deep down inside, we are showing our boys what it is to be loved. Mac Daddy and I have a great marriage, not without its pockmarks as every relationship bears. But we are best friends, cheesy as it sounds. He lifts me up, bails me out, cracks me up. There is, however, an ongoing argument about who's funnier. I have contended it's me since the day we met. He says that being my own best audience doesn't count. The boys say it's Ms. Kris, Deal's teacher whom Bird also had.

Mac Daddy and I are among the fortunate few who don't have to pretend the happily ever after. We live it. And love it.
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18 comments:

Jen L. said...

Great post! And don't forget the other great lesson you're teaching them: How to treat your significant other well! Very important.
I am definitely funnier than my husband.

who are we? said...

This is the best gift we can give our children. Learning to love, laugh and truly care for the ones who do it in return. I often myself trying to create the emotional world for my girls that I wish I had.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That's such a great thing to hand off to your sons--a healthy marriage. And I think it's those of us who grew up in unhappy families who feel most blessed by the opportunity to create happy families--houses full of lightness and laughter. Amen, sister.

dadshouse said...

What a wonderful post! I'm so happy for you and your family. It sounds like you are indeed giving your kids a great gift.

As a divorced dad, I miss those stolen kisses, and stealing them in front of the kids. I realize I am doing them a disservice by not modeling a loving and healthy relationship for them. That breaks my heart. But as a solo parent, I do my best with what remains. We enjoy the half-time we spend together.

I really enjoy hearing stories like yours. It reminds me that love can be strong, and marriage can be forever.

ilinap said...

Jen L, I had a hunch you were the funny one.

Ilina said...

Who are we? and Green Girl, high five to you both! All we can do is improve upon what we know. It's an endless cycle. I'm sure my kids will grow up with new neuroses; I just don't want to impart the same ones on them that have influenced my life.

Ilina said...

Dadshouse, you are not doing your children a disservice. Staying in an unhappy/unhealthy marriage is a disservice. Children will thrive when surrounded by love and attention. Stolen kisses will come back to you. Somehow I just know it.

TwoBusy said...

Sounds to me like you're doing it right.

foolery said...

Great post. Your family sounds very healthy.

Hey, know what the captcha code is?
BREASTS

Not kidding. Hmmm.

T said...

Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing your love with your family... and with us!

Mark said...

Dads House gave you high marks on this post so I came over to see for myself and I was not disppointed. You are living a truly blessed life as are your husband and children. It is refreshing to hear your story, may you always be in love, be in peace and be well.

Janet said...

What a beautiful post! You give me hope that I will one day find this for myself. :)

Ewan said...

A wonderfully happy post - thank you for sharing.

The Exception said...

Dad's House sent me over here too. A house fill with love and laughter provides a great foundation for your kids and for the difficult times or challenges that a family (of any form) might face. What a model you are giving your kids!

Bill said...

Well, it turned out that the best thing WE could have given our children was a divorce. Way better than leaving them with battling parents. Then I went and found (and work hard to maintain) true love (which I respectfully model for my children), and that too has made a difference for them. It took me 45 years to discover how to be a great partner (as documented in my new book, New Earth Relationships). Sounds like you guys were smarter or luckier.

Anonymous said...

Dad pleads guilty as charged and is tortured everyday in his endless pursuit of the illusory goal of retroactive redemption. If it is any comfort, I want you to know that I have always loved you even as I contributed my share in robbing you of the most precious gift a child deserves - a happy family environment. I will love you always, unconditionally.
Dad

Staci said...

Sounds like your little ones will grow up with wonderful stories to tell. Little smiles and giggles are the best thing in the world, and it sounds like your house is full of them!

Anonymous said...

wow! beautifully written. You sound like someone I could easily be friends with. I too am the kind of mum who's trying to make up for what my parents (esp mum) couldn't give me. I'm always hugging, kissing, encouraging my little girl, and walking with her step by step. If we can make happy children, bursting with love from happy households, then these kids will go out into the world, and make the place much better and more balanced.