Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Imperfectly, Perfect Life

The following post I wrote almost 3 years ago. I needed to read it this morning for many reasons. I needed to share it for many more. Somehow we have come to a place in our lives in which people look to WB and I for inspiration, for guidance in their own marriages. I am humbled, but also frightened by this. No marriage is without hard times. No family picture perfect. I could do a series of posts on “What kind of wife not to be”. Those would be easy, I had years of experience at it.

This post written 3 years ago gives you a glimpse of our life in the early years. A very condensed version, I must say. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves and others where we’ve been in order to fully understand the blessing of where we are in the present. Welcome to my imperfectly, perfect life.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Counting Blessings Even In Our Failures

When WB and I had Em, our first born, she came into the world in crisis. I would spend a week in the hospital, which was an hour from our home, with her before we could go home. WB visited us when he could, but it was mostly my mom and I that stayed with her that first week. Then I had to have major surgery in Houston when she was just four months old. Again, my mom and I would take care of her while WB remained back at home working for most of the time. It was no wonder that bonding was difficult at times for WB and Em. Even though she looked just like him and resembles him in many personality traits. The road was a difficult one to say the least. Being a new parent is like being thrown overboard without a life preserver...sink or swim. Many days you do both!

WB was having a difficult time in many ways. He'd gained 40 lbs since we started dating, he had a job that was thankless most of the time and stressful to say the least. I'm sure the signs were there that he wasn't happy, but I was too busy to see. I was a new mom. Breastfeeding what seemed like 24/7 , not sleeping, not thinking my husband might need my attention as well, and adjusting to staying at home while all of my friends went off to work each day. Family was far away and we rarely, if ever, had a babysitter or went out without our daughter. Life wasn't exactly picture perfect, but at the same time it wasn't the end of the world either.

Then came our second child, I knew things would be different. It wasn't that WB was a bad father, it was more like he just needed more time and more practice. Unfortunately, our second came about the time his work situation was at it's melting point. He was laid off, things looked dismal. But at your darkest moments your faith seems to shine the brightest.

The same company that laid him off hired him back for consulting on a project. So now we not only collected severance pay, but also his consulting fees. We still had insurance and benefits and a little bit of the weight was lifted off our shoulders. We suffered through the whole finding a job and interviewing process. Had our hopes dashed a few times and then WB was offered a job. A job a half an hour away (no moving) and with a company that was thriving.

WB loved his new job. People listened to his ideas, asked him for input, and LISTENED. Something that had been severely lacking in his last job. He started exercising, eating better, and slowly began to shed those 40 lbs. We had our set backs, but we managed to weather the storm. The girls left their baby stages and WB had more time to concentrate and be comfortable in his fatherly skin. I learned to relax, not be so critical, and listen to that inner voice. I learned to sift out some of the other voices. The ones that might mean well, but didn't live in your marriage day to day. WB blossomed into fatherhood and I into our marriage.

Life was good. WB loved his job and began to move up the career ladder. The company he used to work for slowly began to fold and now 5 years later is no longer running the plant he worked at. Blessings, yes. We were bestowed many blessings, even though at the time they felt more like punishments.

So when I learned I was pregnant with my third child, I cried. I asked God if he was serious, three pregnancy tests later told me he was. I wasn't prepared, I had things to do, and I was not ready to start over. I was trying to finish a novel for heavens sake, on top of being a director of a school that had some major issues!! I cried to my sister like a big baby. I struggled with the gift I knew I had been given, but pouted with the timing never less. I dreaded telling WB. We weren't expecting this right now. In fact, I had cried months earlier over the fact I may never be able to get pregnant again. So I had moved on, told myself to suck it up, it just wasn't in the cards. I made other plans.

I told WB over the phone. I was in Houston and he was at home. I held my breath and listened as he said, "No way...Really. That is so wonderful." Really, even though it wasn't planned. He reminded me none of them really were and this would be great. I'd like to say it was all happy times from there but it wasn't. It was a difficult pregnancy, we moved an hour away to a new house. A fixer upper at that. WB buried himself in projects to prepare for the new arrival and for the whole family. I tried not to be miserable and to enjoy each day. Some days I was a huge success, others a terrible failure.

Blessings, they sort of sneak up on you. I sit today and watch my 22 month old as she holds her big sisters hands as they walk around the yard and my heart melts. I smile when her daddy lifts her up each night as she rushes to greet him at the door. I see the ease into which he handles all three of his children, an ease I have to admit I wasn't sure would ever be possible. He is an awesome dad. And I have become a much better wife.

God has blessed us in so many ways. Many of which I probably am not even aware of. He gave us everything we needed, He put people in our lives that have taught us so much. He steered us through the toughest of times. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that even in our failures there are blessings.

So as I sit here today I am overwhelmed when I start counting my blessings. They are many. So are my failures. But thank God He has found a way to lift us up even when we fall flat on our faces!!



How we’ve all grown in just 3 years!

When you look back at your life do you tend to see only the good things, only the bad, or do you find a way to focus on both?


Warren Baldwin said...

Kara, I didn't read this three years ago (I wasn't blogging yet), so this is my first read of this story, and it is wonderful. One reason people are seeking your counsel on marriage/family today is b/c you guys have experienced so much, and have not only survived, but have thrived. I believe most everyone wants their marriage and family to work; many times we just don't know how to do it. That is where mentors are so valuable.

Life, relationships, marriage, they are all a process (something I have posted about right now). We are never "finished", but are always in a state of change. Sometimes it is good, sometimes not good, but always, under the grace of God, it has potential tobe for the better.

Great post. Hope you guys are all continuing to do well!


Coleen Patrick said...

Beautiful post Kara.
I think of both the good and the bad I guess, but it is far easier to understand it all in hindsight. I agree with you wholeheartedly that even in our failures there are blessings.

Kara said...

We are doing great Warren. I'm heading over to your blog to catch up. Your posts are always a much needed inspiration to me!
Coleen, thank you. Hindsight,if only I could find a way to make it beforesight ;)

Jessica Nelson said...

What a beautifully honest post! I tend to remember the bad things in the past but in the moment I see the good things. We definitely had some hard times when our kids were younger but I feel like now both hubs and I have grown into (in your words) our parent skins.
I'm not surprised people look up to your marriage. :-)