Introspection and Retrospection

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2456241182_d6a41cc0e7_oWhy did I go quiet last year? I had only just begun to find my words again after a long painful hiatus so why did I put my pen down and stop writing?

The words were in my head but I feared the power I could give them if I gave them substance. I still do. All the good “stuff” I could have focused on with my pregnancy was overwhelmed by the swirling craziness around me: my oldest child’s mental health issues, our precarious financial situation, the chaos of my house and even my own struggles with facing starting motherhood all over again when I was just beginning to find my own feet and carve my own path in the world.

I had all these plans at the beginning of 2015. More writing, lots more writing about Sacred Pregnancy and many other sacred endeavours, plus courses I would attend and complete with the end result being the starting of my business so that I could contribute to the financial stability of my family and our household.

By March most of those plans were falling a part and I was trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to put the puzzle back together again without any idea of what it was supposed to look like.

I remember a day in late March about a week or so after the positive pregnancy test, I was crying in the kitchen, unable to stand up for the sheer weight of the anger, frustration and helplessness I felt due to the poor choices of my oldest child and the impact they had on the whole family, as well as my own overwhelming guilt for not being able to help my son more.

I remember wanting my mother but we hadn’t told the family about the pregnancy yet because my brother and his wife we’re due any day with their second child and we did not want to overshadow their happy time with our own news. So I sat there in the kitchen, shaking, alone and I reached out to my Reiki healer friend and my Sacred Sisters via Facebook messenger. They talked me through it and held space for me to just be angry, sad and hurt. They held space for my guilt and my pain.

But I couldn’t write about any of it.

Even after the news of our pregnancy went public, these were not words I could share with the world for a couple of reasons. My oldest child is 19, (18 at the time of these events) and many people who read this blog know him. He has enough issues stacked against him that releasing any more details of his struggles with gaming addiction was not in his best interest, which is why I continue to be deliberately vague when discussing specifics of what actually happened. It is not my story to tell. Yes, as his mother, I have a big part in his story but the main story is his and treading that oh so thin line that loops and curves and often gets tangled up with my own story was near impossible so my pen went silent. I’m still working out the parameters of what I will and won’t say and they could change every time I pick up my pen.

6045365685_3ceb314223_oIntrospection and retrospection have and are key components of my starting to write again. It’s been a year since the positive pregnancy test, a year since I sat paralyzed on my kitchen floor having no idea how to process the events and the emotions that were coming up. I felt like a complete failure as a mom and yet I was about to become a mom again for the fourth time. I felt like I did not deserve to be a mom again and yet the child that was growing within me was counting on me to provide them with everything they needed. How could I do that when I was failing so badly as a parent of the children I already had?

Those are pretty big and polar emotions for anyone let alone a hormonally compromised mother to digest. I was very lost and maybe that’s when I should have turned to my words for comfort and clarity but I was terrified of what my words might say as I worked through the anger so it was safer to put the pen down and do what I had taught myself to do over many years of extensive practicing, bottle it up, push it down and show the world a brave face.

But I was not brave.

Brave would have been facing my pain and anger and being honest about my feelings. I put my pen down because I was scared. I took the easy way out and shut down. I stopped working to take my wall down and instead worked to reinforce it. I had no idea how to process all the emotions so I just didn’t, and here I find myself a year later, with a 4.5 month old child and a solid brick wall built around me keeping everyone out, almost back where I started before I began the work of taking the wall down and freeing myself from its confines.

The difference is this time I know the path forward and what I need to do, and part of that path involves picking up my pen again and letting the words flow, working through the hard, painful emotions and facing some difficult truths about myself and my world and everything that happened in 2015. It’s time to start chiseling away at my wall again and to give myself permission to break free of it and find my way out of its shadow so I can follow my dreams and write my words and learn my truths.

It won’t be easy but it is time.

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She Just Needs to Be Heard!

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The other night I took the time to re-read some of my published words. Some words seemed to come from another world that I had forgotten. Others jarred me back to reality from the fog I have been living in since the positive sign on the pregnancy test changed the course of my life.

I am on a new journey now, albeit reluctantly.

8272758921_df6a8055fe_oI am learning as I go, trying to figure out how to make everything work, how to not let my dreams and hopes be buried yet again under a pile of anger, resentment and responsibility. Trying to work out how all the many pieces are going to fit together in at least some attempt at a coalescing and functional reality.

Most days I just crawl back into bed and try to forget….

My body aches with the exhaustion of figuring it all out so I sleep to forget, to ignore, to pretend that everything will work itself out and that I am strong enough to bear the weight of all the pain, the frustration at yet again re-writing the script of my life, even though deep down I doubt my ability to keep it all together.

Yes, I am working on believing that this pregnancy is happening for a reason, that this baby is an amazing gift to our family but some days I just want my old path back, without the added complications of the needs and space of a new child to worry about. Yes, that’s my inner two-year old throwing a temper tantrum. At the end of the day all my inner two-year-old wants is to be heard. She can’t let go of her anger and frustration until she is heard.

14956794780_c404fa5ec1_oSociety struggles to make space for the real temper tantrums of two-year-olds let alone those of the inner two-year-olds of adults. When our youngest children throw temper tantrums we shame them into behaving or isolate them in time-out corners until they submit to our wishes. What if instead we helped them work through their anger and frustration and just allowed their emotions to be okay? Perhaps there would be less adults running around with repressed inner two-year-olds screaming to be heard. Perhaps there would be less shame around feeling uncomfortable feelings. Perhaps it would be okay to just be angry.

My inner two-year old is refusing to be silenced. She needs to be heard and loved so I can move forward and re-write my script in the best way possible, where I don’t sacrifice all my dreams yet again to the overwhelming needs of my family. Where we find a better balance for everyone with what we have in the place we are right now instead of always believing that when we have more money or when we have a bigger house or when the basement is cleaned up or when my 18-year-old goes to treatment and gets better, that then we’ll be able to work everything out and make our dreams a reality.

Even if all that was achieved, there is always another hurdle, another excuse….

So let me let my inner two-year old out to throw her temper tantrum. Let her stomp, scream and cry. When she’s done, just hold us, love us and help us figure out our way forward

If you make space for my two-year old, I will make space for yours….

I Hold Your Anger Ever So Close

Gaming Addiction – It’s a Real Thing

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5225188282_cc1c7fa459_oI had full intentions of writing more regularly after my last post but the last couple of months have tested every part of me, physically, mentally and emotionally, and the cracks are showing. My words have failed me. Part of the problem is I don’t know what is my story to tell anymore. All the stories are so intertwined. My husband’s, my 18 year-old’s, my baby growing in uteri and the filaments of each story are tangled together with the filaments of the other stories, impossible to completely separate.

I write this blog anonymously but I do know that many of my friends and some family do read this so I have to be careful about what information goes out there that has the potential to hurt the people I love. So my voice and my pen are silenced by fear, fear of betraying the one’s I love and telling too much of a story that’s not mine to tell.

In the same breath the story is one that is becoming all too familiar a story across many spectrums of society, touching so many people. To break the stigma the stories must be told, we must reach out and ask for help. In so doing we put our souls on the line, knowing there will always be those that have negative things to say. My hope is that those people are in the minority and most will try to understand and some may feel comfortable enough reaching out a helping hand.

My 18 year-old suffers with a gaming addiction and depression. It has impacted every part of our lives. It has complicated this pregnancy as I am utterly emotionally exhausted by the unrelenting barrage of craziness that has become my life in dealing day in and day out with an addicted youth. As a mother my heart breaks every day watching him suffer and being unable to help him in any significant way because he has yet to reach the point of helping himself. Options for help are so very few despite all the mental health fundraising and information campaigns to raise awareness. Where does all the money go? It’s just not enough…

It also doesn’t help that gaming addiction is a brand new addiction (no not really) and it is just becoming more recognized by the healthcare community so resources are slow to be directed towards it. Many who suffer with the addiction also suffer with depression or other mental disorders such as ADHD/ADD, or have suffered through some form of abuse or difficult episodes in their lives that like an alcoholic drinks to forget, they game to forget.

Game companies also know exactly what they are doing when they design these games, even some of the simplest ones. The designers build an element of addiction right into the games and anybody who is prone to addiction gets sucked right in. It becomes expensive and like a meth addict needing their next high, the kids look to the gaming companies to source their next hit and they find ways to get the money to pay for it. They can’t control the need or the impulse to do what they need to do to get that hit.

There is no applying rationality to the problem. We can say all the things that make sense but none of it makes sense to the addicted gamer. It’s all about losing oneself in a game, hiding from reality in a fabricated world that allows you to forget everything that sucks in your life, that you aren’t good enough, that you can’t live up to the expectations of others. The outlets into these games are everywhere now, through smart phones, through tablets, through gaming stations, and through traditional laptops and desktop computers. The companies are ruthless and far-reaching with their advertisements and their upgrades and their extra fees that keep you hooked and coming back for more.

So what do you do?

If I knew, I’d tell you. Every day I wake up to this toxic reality running my life and draining my energy. Separating my child from his gaming addiction and seeing him as a lost soul is hard some days. I can’t sit by and enable him. Since he’s not in school and has no job, we lock up the Xbox but he finds other ways to get his fix. The anger and resentment build, on both sides, and it only adds to the problem.

There is a silver lining in this story. I have found a residential treatment program for gaming addicts. It’s only three weeks long. Hopefully it’s a start. I am not naïve, three weeks will not solve everything but if all goes well, he will be admitted very soon and return in time to start his full-time summer job, as well as continue to be supported by his social worker over the summer.

Right now that’s the best help I can find and it beats putting him on the street, which was beginning to feel like my only option and my heart was breaking at the thought of having to take that step. So I am putting out there into the universe a request to anyone who feels called to do so, to hold space for my family’s healing and send us positive energy and prayers as we move through this difficult path. I have to believe there’s healing on the other side and in the baby steps along the way but through all the pain and hurt that shackles my life it’s hard to see those glimmers of hope.

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Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Making Love

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IMG_20141206_154515“I love making love to you and how you make love to me.”

Society’s interpretation of this statement is usually sexual. If that was the case for you, I am inviting you to read the words again and re-think your first interpretation. While sexual love is amazing, it’s not the only way to love someone deeply, beautifully and with conviction. Those words can and should be defined differently for every couple, and the meaning can evolve and grow through the cycles of our lives. In a dynamic, healthy relationship those words are alive and I will share with you what they mean to me in my relationship at this moment in its growth cycle.

They mean a pilgrimage to Paris. They represent my husband’s willingness to get on an airplane, despite his fear of flying, and meet me in a very vulnerable place, with an openness to facing and working on our relationship with people he had never met.

My husband makes love to me through a willingness to sit and hear my words and be open to change, and to loving me in a different way going forward, even if it’s something outside his comfort zone and even if it means making difficult compromises.IMG_64244612633576

In Paris we rediscovered our love and passion for each other and we built the foundation on which the rest of our lives will be supported. My husband showed up to do the hard work, to name our sorrows, our frustrations and our pain and in naming them, we have taken their strength away. We have released them into the Universe to make more room for love.

Making love to my husband is about listening to him when he talks, really hearing his words. It’s about finding time for laughter and fun and kissing every day, and reminding him to let things go that are no longer serving him. It’s also about giving him space to heal his own wounds and find his own forgiveness, but reminding him that throughout his journey, he is loved deeply and unconditionally. My arms and my heart will be open and ready to love him wherever he is in his process.

Paris gave us the space and the time we needed to hear each others love languages and to work out better ways to make love to each other that will be heard and understood. The more we live our lives out as if everything we do for each other is an act of making love to one another, the more connection and beauty and happiness we will find in life, in our family and in each other.

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Taming the Beast

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10726509325_44e1195b13_oMy home is messy.

I used to keep an immaculate home. I washed the dishes every night or at least frequently enough the kitchen was usually pretty clean, and the rest of the house received regular scrubbings and cleanings too. I worked really hard to maintain the cleanliness and then my depression returned full force and just getting out of bed and into work every day was a huge effort and accomplishment. Then more children came along with more stuff to call their own and between my depression and our expanding family’s ever-expanding piles of stuff, I lost control and I have yet to get it back under control.

We live in a small three bedroom condominium and there’s very limited space for each person. It’s not impossible but it takes work and it takes compromise and it requires mutual respect of each others’ space. All of which we struggle with as each person has different needs and different ideas. My husband is a collector of super hero and sci-fi paraphernalia. He places a much higher value on his stuff than I do on my own so I sometimes don’t honour the value he places on things just because I don’t feel the same way about stuff in general. I’m trying, but it’s hard when I barely have a bookcase worth of space to call my own, while he has several bookcases and shelves. The children have no boundaries and their toys and book bags and whatnots and whathaveyous end up pretty much anywhere it’s convenient for them to drop them when they are finished with them. Yes, it’s part of the problem. My husband tries but there’s no consistent measures being employed to set these boundaries and maintain them. It’s on my to-do list…

To give a measuring stick of the mess we live in, we would not qualify for an episode of Hoarders but watching Hoarders makes me feel better about my mess. And it shouldn’t. Just because Hoarders is worse doesn’t make my situation less poisonous, suffocating or overwhelming. I hate living like this but I feel like I’ve surrendered to the beast simply for the sake of my sanity. Going to war every day with the beast and feeling like I was always on the losing end of the battles was and is emotionally exhausting, so I put up the white flag and surrendered. I let the mess envelop me and define me. I took on the mantra of this is me, this is my home and if you love me and want to spend time with me, you must accept my mess.

Yes, I have good days where I get up and say, today is the day I tame the beast and I’ll pick up my bucket and scrub brushes and go to war against the disorganization and dirt, but it’s always short-lived because as one place is improving another is falling apart or while I move on to tackle the next area, the first place falls apart all over again, and so I surrender yet again and the beast is victorious.

It’s not one battle that will win this fight, it’s a systemic planned attack with everyone working together and the adults setting good examples for the children. I can’t get mad at my daughter for not cleaning up her room when I haven’t seen the floor beside my bed in weeks. I have to take the lead, show her (and my other children) how it’s done and encourage them to work with me, but I feel so overwhelmed and I figured out why this week. I went to an Angel Healing session and I asked a question and as part of her answer she said, I sense your house is very oppressive.

It was like a light went on. That is the exact word to describe our home. Oppressive: weighing heavily on the mind or spirits; causing depression or discomfort.

At first glance it doesn’t seem so bad but it’s the emotional stuff people don’t see that really makes my home feel oppressive. The gunk, the unresolved anger, the frustrations, the unspoken emotions, and the soul grinding pain that lives just below the surface and robs us of our ability to live happily. It affects all of us to some degree or another and it won’t stop until we face the mounting pile of repressed emotions.

We’re very good at throwing things in boxes and sticking them in corners and pretending they don’t exist because taking the time to open them up and go through each piece of paper and item to decide what to do with it all feels overwhelming and impossible. There are probably more invisible boxes of emotional detritus that need clearing than there are boxes of stuff we need to go through but we are even better at ignoring the invisible stuff.

We’ve all found ways to cope with the invisible piles of emotional gunk that oppresses our living space. We’ve pushed it down and hidden it away, pretending it’s okay when it’s not. We’ve put up barriers between each other to keep a safe distance so we don’t accidentally trigger one another. If someone is accidentally triggered it rarely ends well. We have all developed defensive mechanisms and they are very quick to kick in.

I’m passive aggressive, I use guilt trips and am quick to assume the martyr role. My husband runs away, pushes away or lashes out if you insist on getting too close, mostly with painful words. My 18 year-old fumes, swears and hits things. My 10 year-old whines, throws temper tantrums and she’s learned a few techniques from me as she resorts to guilt trips and “feel sorry for me” lines. The four year-old is still working on finding his place in this little game we play.

My husband and I have set a horrible example for dealing with conflict and difficult emotions. Until he and I can sit down and put all the detritus and craziness on the table and face our parts in this game nothing will change.

I believe in living by example and it extends to everything not just cleanliness skills. If children see you model good conflict resolution skills they will learn them too. If children see you lovingly deal with difficult emotions and honouring the individual’s trials with help and on-going support, they will mirror that back into the world. If children see you own up to your mistakes and apologize they will learn that too and if children see you trying to work on your weak points, they will know it’s okay to have weaknesses but that you need to always strive to do better. Having a weakness is not a valid reason to hurt others, and the excuse “that’s just who I am” is a very poor excuse to hurt the ones you love.

We must all strive to do better by each other. That is the true gift of loving someone, and it starts with a willingness to unpack and sort through the gunk that’s holding us hostage in our home. We really want to move, but I’d rather not take all this craziness with us. It’s time to purge, it’s time to clean it out, it’s time to tame the beast!

Love is Not a Mistake

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wpid-wp-1413783567264.jpegI have made many mistakes. Many of those mistakes have in return fundamentally changed who I am.

Motherhood started out as a mistake, a responsibility thrust into my young arms that felt too weak to bear the weight. I made so many mistakes but my son was not one of them. He was a gift. A gift I just wasn’t quite ready to receive or fully appreciate. As a result I fumbled around the world of motherhood very lost and distrustful of my instincts. How could I know anything? How could I possibly get anything right?

But I did get one thing right.

Love.

I just forgot sometimes….

Even early on in my pregnancy when my son’s biological father was encouraging me to “get an abortion”, I chose life for my unborn child. I walked out into the world and looked into the eyes of the people around me and wondered why they had any more right to life than my child did?

In that moment I chose love.

I didn’t even recognize it as love until I looked into my son’s eyes and finally met him in the quiet of the hospital room after everyone had gone home. When the nurse came to get him after his feed and I asked her to leave him with me for a while so I could really meet him, fall in love with him, just hold him and smell his beautiful smell. I didn’t want to send him back to the nursery. He was mine and I loved him.

Love didn’t pave our path with bricks of gold or lay pillows on the ground to cushion us when we stumbled and many times we lost the path completely. Loving someone is hard and it is work and it is staying when you want to run and learning from and apologizing for mistakes and most of all its forgiveness when forgiveness seems impossible.

I wear layers upon layers of bruises from all the mistakes I’ve made in the last eighteen years of motherhood. I don’t doubt my son has his own layers of bruising. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair that my introduction to motherhood and his introduction to the world had to come with such painful lessons. The effects of those lessons still ripple through our lives and we’re trying to find forgiveness in a chaos that seems unyielding to any efforts at finding peace. Even in the good moments anger breaks through and smashes the fragility of the bubble that is encapsulating the laughter and connecting fibers being forged by our moment of happiness. As the bubble disperses it is like our world is exploding and though I try to keep it together as with the thin film of a bubble when it pops, it disappears like it was never there and we find ourselves yet again staring across a painful abyss filled with blame, repercussions, anger and resentments.

Many tell me they would have given up on my son by now, that it’s time for some tough love, “let him learn his lessons the hard way” they say. It feels like he’s learned too many lessons the hard way. Moments where I ignored my instincts, made uneducated choices, gave into pressure to follow society’s ideas and notions, or failed to ask for or find help or apologize when I should have or hold my temper when my depression was raging out of control and the pressures of meeting the outside world’s demands trumped meeting my son’s need for love, like the day I lost my cool because he was struggling to practice French dictation words and I screamed out in frustration and smashed my head into the wall leaving a hole in the drywall. Then there were tears and broken spirits and emotional bruises as we tried to pick up the pieces.

I had no idea what I was doing. What I should have done was let the dictation go and pull him into my arms and hold him and tell him it was okay, the dictation didn’t matter, I loved him and would help him. The pressures of meeting the demands of the teacher, the school system, the expectations of society in general that were labeling him a problem child overwhelmed me. I just wanted to prove them all wrong.

They were wrong. They are wrong. I never had to prove them wrong because there was nothing to prove. Love was more important than all that, but I didn’t understand that then.

I do now.

And I’m sorry.

Sorry doesn’t fix the broken walls or broken spirits. That takes work, a lot of painful, slogging through mud and emotional trenches work, not to mention the willingness to dive head first into the trenches and face the demons of the past, the demons of our emotions and behaviours that created the abyss I find myself staring across into the blue eyes of a soul so broken he hides from me in his video games where he finds an outlet for his pain and anger by blowing things and other characters/people up. His video game world is safer than the real world and it was my mistakes that drove him into that world because I forgot that love is more important than anything, than video games, or toys, or money, or meeting society’s expectations, or getting our way and insisting on showing him who’s in charge and that we can make him do what we want him to do regardless of his own will and desires – an illusion of power at best.

After eighteen years I’m trying to hold the memory of looking into the trusting eyes of the seven and a half pound child laid in my arms by a twist of fate he had no control over, and remember the overwhelming waves of love I felt and my need to hold him close and protect him. If only I had spent more time listening to that instinct like when he had night terrors and I sat next to him singing “Jesus Loves You” over and over, drawing him out of the terror with my soothing voice that had rocked him to sleep so many times.

Now my soul is doing the singing, calling to my son to remember the moments in the chaos where love conquered the fear and anger, to remember the love that holds him and surrounds him no matter what because society is wrong and I was wrong. He is amazing and wonderful and talented. He may not fit into the mold society wants him to but it just means he thinks different, he sees the world around him in a different light and somehow he will make it work for him, despite society trying very hard to stuff him in a box and get him to “get in line”.

It will take time, patience, healing and most of all it will take love. That’s my commitment going forward, I will radiate, enclose him and even smother him in love, until the raw wounds become aching scabs, then itchy scars and with some luck at some point even the scars will fade to a barely visible lightness, and we will find our peace, rebuilt upon a solid foundation of love. The scars may never disappear but some day I want the memories to be faint whispers of by-gone stories instead of festering wounds filling an abyss that separates us.

I’m ready  to let love build us a bridge over the abyss. I am ready to heal. I’m ready to do the hard work. I’m ready to forgive myself and let my mistakes go and I am hoping that my son can eventually forgive me too, and help me build that bridge. Surrender the future to love and we will find our way, the path will meet us where we are and if we stay true to love, it’ll show us the way forward.

To my son: you are the child that made me a mother and I will always love you and that isn’t and never was a mistake.

 

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It is Time to Heal

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IMG_20141001_175030Sixteen years ago I lay on the floor trying to sleep, anxious and excited about the events of the next day. The room was ready. Clean sheets on the bed, beautiful flowers on the side table and many little touches of romance all around.

Waiting…. waiting…. waiting….

I was in a place of waiting. Alone but knowing very soon I would not be alone any more. The anxieties, the nerves, the hopes, the dreams crystallizing in that moment as I lay on the floor unable to sleep for the sheer excitement that I would be a bride in just a few short hours, and then HIS wife forever.

How young and naïve I was sixteen years ago to believe marriage could save me from my anger and my pain; to think that marriage would change being a single mom into being a family with the minister simply uttering a few words for us to repeat and then blessing us by the power of the church vested in his 91-year-old hands and heart.IMG_20141001_175301

How so much more complicated the process would all end up being…. And how much more pain we’d unwittingly cause each other in the process…

It has been sixteen years filled with passion, love, anger, disillusionment, grief, and struggles of many varieties including power struggles, parenting struggles, health struggles and financial struggles, but here at the threshold of another celebration the biggest fact I cling to is we are still here. Every day we get up and reach for love, reach for understanding, reach for forgiveness and we look at each other across the bed sheets hoping we can find the love, the healing, the forgiveness to carry us through many more years.

There is a lot to forgive and a lot of letting go that needs to happen. Sometimes the pain feels overwhelming and like a gaping hole that can never be filled with enough love to wipe it out. It’s an ongoing, ever-challenging, ever-changing, ever-demanding process. Some days it still involves a lot of waiting… Waiting for patience. Waiting to feel loved. Waiting for validation – to feel noticed, to feel seen and to feel heard.

One of the most intentional emotions I brought away from my retreat in August is that it is time to clarify, to re-define, to evaluate, to change, to face the challenges of my relationship. To stop settling for unhappiness for the sake of my children. It’s an old story. What kind of example are my husband and I setting for our children when we settle for unhappiness in one of the most important and singularly defining relationships of our lives? I wouldn’t want this kind of relationship for any of my children so why am I settling for living in one and asking my spouse to do the same?

After sixteen years my husband and I are at a crossroads. Neither choice is an easy one.

Down one road, there are lawyers, not enough money to keep two households functioning, inevitably more anger and resentment, children having to adjust to missing one parent when they are with the other, missing their bedtime routines of “I love yous” and “see you in the mornings”, and so many more crazy changes and adjustments we haven’t even thought of. Down the other, there is work, lots of work. Reconnecting work, honouring work, loving work, re-defining work, hard work. Really hard work. Divorce will seem like a viable option at times because it would be easier to move on than face some really tough emotions we’ve spent a lot of time and energy avoiding over the last sixteen years.

It is time to heal.

It is time to face our relationship, ourselves, our choices, our responsibilities and find the love again or, and this is always a possibility, not find it but I want to know we did everything possible to save this family because we do owe our children that much and if at the end of the day we can’t, hopefully this process will at least help us choose an ending that honours each other and our children.

For now we are choosing the path of hard work and in that spirit my husband and I have decided to go on a relationship retreat in December. It’s in Paris, France. For a week, the focus will be us, there will be no hiding from each other behind screens or responsibilities or day-to-day life or the needs of the children. Anni and Tim Daulter will help us find our way back to each other, help us find ways to reconnect, help us find ways to redefine our relationship in healthier ways so that there’s less hiding behind pain, resentment and anger.

As we embark on our seventeenth year of marriage, I commit myself to the work that Paris will bring, to meeting my husband in a safe place where we can begin the process of letting go of all the burdens that weigh us down and keep us from being the people, the couple we are capable of being. I believe in my heart that if we don’t fix us, nothing else matters and that’s why this trip to Paris is so important and I am soooo grateful that my husband has chosen to participate in this retreat with me.

A friend asked me if I was placing too much hope in this retreat solving our problems?

The truth is I have to believe it’s possible, that this retreat could bring us the closure on a less than stellar past and an opening to a better future together. I have to believe we love each other enough to give this gift to each other and be willing to open the package and accept the gift into our lives. If I don’t believe that than what’s the point of going to Paris at all? We might as well give up now… So yes I believe this retreat can help turn our relationship around, can temporarily plug the holes in our sinking ship and give us the life boat to save ourselves. We just have to be willing to get in the life boat and row like hell.

I am willing to do the work. I am willing to let go. I am willing to find a new path. I am willing to get in the life boat with my husband and row like hell, hoping that both of us will be pulling together and working together towards the goal of a healthy, happy relationship that is the center of a healthy, happy home. At the end of the day I believe that’s all either of us really want.

So as we celebrate our sixteenth wedding anniversary, we look to our future, waiting, waiting for the day we pack our bags and get on an airplane and for five days make us the center of our world for better or for worse…

I am ready to change, to heal, to love my husband with all my heart and in return open up myself to accepting his love, his healing and his changes, and together creating a safe place within ourselves and around us for the evolution to happen.

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