The last few weeks have been a real blur for me. The whole madness of the Wizard of Oz season, and now post-season, coupled with William's sudden weaning, my hormonal changes, subsequent emotional state, etc. etc. have raised all sorts of interesting issues and questions. Funny that.
My mind has been plagued with questions regarding things I even struggle to put into words. But I am so interested in getting some feedback on this that I will try!
So, the question put simply is this. How do two people, once married and down the track of life a bit, find the balance between their own lives and identities and the responsibilities/ group identity of family life? Does that make any sense? Let me back-track.
I was 19 years old. Stuart was 20. We had just become engaged to be married, and over the next 2 years would do a great deal of thinking and planning (often on giant spreadsheets of paper!) for our future together. We were SO close, inseparable in fact. Enthusiastic, dreamers, idealists! Our whole lives ahead of us! If you read this post from last November, you'll already know things haven't gone quite to plan. :) Some of the little disappointments and major failings have also lessoned our enthusiasm in general I think.
It's true that I leaned fiercely on Stu from day one, and *needed* his affirmation, love and affections more than was healthy; I have since given my heart to Jesus and now try to look to Him for these things- but I do still struggle in this area.
Our engagement was just 9 years ago, but it feels like a lifetime.
I cannot believe how much having children has changed me. I mean, really really changed me. When Stuart said the other night, "Don't you remember what we used to be like?" I had to honestly answer "no, I don't!!" I simply cannot remember who I was before Saraya's birth. Is this normal?
Stuart absolutely remembers, in fact, he is still very much the person he was all those years ago. Yes, he's a youthful kind of guy, and yes, he's a prep teacher and thus a big kid in many ways and may never grow up, and yes, he's a man and they seem more like "islands" to me than women who need to be connected to people and things........... BUT, shouldn't I remember?? Shouldn't I still have a separate identity, see myself as valuable and worthy outside of my motherhood, see myself as a woman with a life and a future, have personal interests and pursuits, take time to develop the relationships with the women precious to me, ....... remember who I am????? What do you think??
Also, I have always seen Stuart and I as a package. You know, as one.
When I made any decision it was always in light of "us". I never went through a single day or moment thinking of myself as separate from him. Or our children for that matter.
I've realised in the last month that Stuart doesn't see things that way. (I think..... I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog anymore but if you do Stu, feel free to verify/disagree/leave me a comment on all this rambling!, shed some light....)
Stuart is Stuart. He is his own person. Sure, he has a family and I know he loves us. He is often a wonderfully supportive, kind and generous husband. He is considerate and helpful, and we have a polite, friendly relationship.
And I know deep down he loves our children very much.
But when it comes to the crunch, he is just Stuart. Independent Stuart. Prep teacher. Funny guy. The pied piper to the many children around us. Lover of history and geography. And now, like me, a lover of musical theatre. (forgive me Lord, I'm working through my emotions on that front.....) And friend of many through the popularity of facebook. ;)
I have felt so alone, so confused over all this. My head is always filled with the most mundane of things..... cooking, cleaning, washing, folding, baking, sorting, shopping, etc............ and the most serious of things........ mainstream schooling vs. homeschooling, a little girl with complex emtions, chickens who look sick (am I just paranoid after losing our last lot?), renovating on a budget, diet and nutrition, personal growth, my faith, etc etc. I am desperate to share this all with Stuart. And he will listen if I talk to him about these things, he is always willing to sit with a cup of tea in the evenings and hear me talk. (got to use up those extra 3000 words before bed, you know?!) But in the deepest parts of my heart, I want him to want to know. To want to know I am going. How the children are going. To be intimately connected to me, to them. To really, really care. To be here. Is this right? Wrong? Normal? Unrealistic???
I am absolutely NOT criticising or putting down my husband. As I have said, he is a wonderful person.
I just feel over the last 9 years we have drifted. Fragmented. Become separate people. Or maybe we were always separate people and I just didn't realise it. Maybe we should be.
I just never thought this would be a reality for us.
I can feel myself drifting from him. Seeking out myself after being "lost" to my children and the domestic world for so many years. In many ways I feel our relationship would be better for me finding myself again, being more independent, less needy, less naggy, more self-sufficient. I am deliberately going to God about many things rather than to Stu, leaning on God more, seeing him as a support and Father to my children when I know Stu is wanting to be busy doing other things. I know He is the ultimate Father and giver of help and wisdom.
I'm just concerned that in all this drifting, this letting go, this seeking of my independent self, and encouraging of Stuart's, we will grow further apart. That we will become two separate, happy adults, with our own friends and interests and pursuits. That we will be merely friends and housemates who happen to have three children to our names. That the intimacy and deep love and dreaming and longing will be lost.
Please, help me! Women out there- how do you see your husbands? How do they see themselves in terms of the family unit? How do you keep the union alive yet allow room for individuality, freedom and time to oneself? Does anyone else feel we need more hours in the day? I know I do! Weekdays are so full, and by the time evening comes around we both are exhausted! I am longing for connection withStuart, and yet we both also seek time on the computer.... facebooking and blogging etc. We both tend to retreat. And yet we used to want to do so much more together. The couple of hours of evening just disappear.
Please forgive this ramble- you know I do this every so often! But please please please leave a comment if you have made it through this post- I am so interested to know what you all think! I just want to do this right.