The Yin and Yang of My Life

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I’ve been wanting to pick up my metaphorical pen for some time now and put thoughts onto paper.  But I believe I’ve been slowing suffocating under the weight of parenting.  You know, that place just under the surface where you can see your personal goals and dreams shining above you in the sunlight, but the weight of a thousand burdens just keeps pulling you back under.

I’m not afraid to tell you this isn’t always my favorite place to be.  Yes, I keep having the children.  Yes, this is the life that I chose for myself.  And yes, maybe there will be more little people in my life for me to take care of.  For the love of all things sane, we just got our children a puppy.  Which means they spend 15 minutes a day with him and I do every single other possible thing that puppy needs.

When I start feeling like this life is just too much, that maybe I chose poorly, and that it is possible I actually may not survive it, I try to see my life in the context of the yin and yang.

Many think that yin and yang represent good and evil.  But that isn’t accurate at all.  They aren’t opposing forces, but rather complimentary.  And these two forces, they interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.

Can you hear what I’m saying here?  When I close my eyes I can see all that parenting is for me within the yin and yang circle:  the light and the darkness, the fall and the spring, the dying and the rebirth, the white and the black, the loneliness and the closeness.  And that mental picture, that greater whole, is a complete beauty that makes my heart burst.  I can fall to my knees in gratitude for the full yin and yang of parenthood.

Yet the struggle is real, isn’t it?  Because we move back and forth, from one side of the circle to the other.  From the masculine to the feminine.  From the light to the dark.

There are days I just don’t want to do the work necessary to shepherd these loons into full functioning adults.  You underestimate my seriousness on this.  I literally have days (read weeks) where I could care less what they eat, if they do their homework, if they are kind, if they bathe.  I just don’t have it in me anymore.

But I push through.  We all do.  And that is what makes us amazing.  That right there is why I rock at motherhood.

Last week one of my children had a grammar lesson on gerund phrases.  Yep.  You read that right.  Gerund phrases.  People, I was a high school English teacher and I need to know that ridiculous nonsense as much as my three year old needs to do trigonometry.  I wanted more than anything to advise said child to burn that paper, take an F, and tell the teacher their mom said “This is as important as a fart.”  (Actually I did say all that, but my children are turning out better than me so they told me to get serious and help them study)

So I took a deep breath and dove in.  And yes, the gerund phrase is a waste of time.  But the time spent with my child wasn’t.  It’s about putting in the hard to get the easy on another day.

Nostalgia is a funny thing.  Makes people believe that there was only one side to the circle.  They choose to remember either just the yin or the yang.  I don’t want to be like that.  I want to recall that it took a full circle of emotions, joys, struggles, and difficult times to create the yin and yang of our family.  So that in time like this, when I feel just under the surface, I will be reminded that I’m sure to be in the sunshine again soon.

why i hate my bagless vacuum

 

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My mom just purchased me a new bagless vacuum.  It is my first.  My other one has the traditional white bag and a door that closes snuggly on that said bag.  I took my new vacuum on a test run and after I was done, I looked into that clear cylinder and saw a pile of dust and dog hair that made me a little grossed out.  And I realized, I don’t want to see the junk that this vacuum sucks up.

That stupid clear cylinder is just a picture into what I know is in my house, but what I’m not interested in seeing.  Which my friends, is my life story.  Some of my greatest conflict arises when I see in others what I wish not to see in myself.

Last month we did back to back vacations with the family.  My kids were good for the most part. They don’t really fight and there weren’t that many moments of complaining.  But 13 days in a condo, car, or hotel room can put all of us on edge.  And would you know who I was the most annoyed with?  My husband.  Every time he lost his patience with the kids I was upset.  But the honest truth is, it annoyed me because it’s the thing I like least about myself.  I’m always feeling like I’m in an internal battle to keep cool 100% of the time.  And I don’t know about you, but this is not, and never will be, a realistic goal.

I have the same conflict with my kids.  What bothers me most about my children is when the exhibit traits that I either did have, or I’m afraid I do.  I have some serious issues with thinking that I might be lazy.  So I work harder.  I will often give my husband a run down of all the things I did during the day.  It takes a week of massive To Do lists being checked off to allow myself to even watch TV.  It’s crazy.  So when my kids “appear” to be lazy while they binge watch The Office while sitting in their messy rooms, I am beside myself.  My children become that clear cylinder and I catch myself thinking They can not have inherited laziness from me!

People often think that parents have the most conflict with the kid that is most like them. For me, I have the most conflict with the kid that appears to be a clear cylinder that is filled up with all of MY junk.

I believe that people around us, including our children, are in our lives to teach us something.  There is always more focus on what we need to instill in our children or how to better express our needs to spouses so they can be better to us.  Sometimes we just need to look inside that clear cylinder and sort through all the junk that we know is in there but have so much trouble looking at.

We can not grow and change until our junk is out in the open and visible anyway.

I probably still won’t be using the bagless vacuum though.  Not just because I can see the junk, but also because it makes it really hard to hide all the legos I vacuum up.

 

The Storyteller

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I am a storyteller.  As long as I can remember I’ve loved to tell the joke much more than to hear it.  I revel in the moment when a good tale begins and I know it’s going to end with laughter.  It may not come across in my writing, but I’m funny.  Really funny.  It’s one of my favorite things about me.  If I was on Deal or No Deal and instead of the million dollars, my suitcase held a fantastic sense of humor, I’d hold out to the end no matter what the banker offered me.

I won’t deny spending countless hours mentally crafting the perfect Facebook post to make people laugh.  Time well spent.

And I don’t just end with the jokes.  I am constantly writing stories, letters, dreams, all inside my head.  Living in the moment is often hard for me because I spend a lot of time crafting dreams and tales of the future.  Endless dates have been spent drawing out future places to travel and live.  I read adoption blogs like it is my own life changing right there on the computer screen.  I become way too invested in TV.  I still think about Hurley, Jack, Charlie, Sawyer, Freckles, and the rest.  It’s been 5 years friends.  I have a zombie apocalypse plan.  There is nothing I love better than a great story.

This obsession with a great story is what made me fall even deeper in love with God.  When I first fell for Jesus I spent all my time reading the new testament, thinking there was little of relevance in the old.  And then I turned back my bible to page one and discovered the most extraordinary, deeply complex, beautiful story of love and redemption that I’ve ever read.  Let me tell ya, that God, he’s a storyteller.

Yet on Jan. 2nd my child almost died.  It was two weeks before we knew if she would even make it and even then, we were unsure if she would recover to any extent that resembled my little girl.  Did my faith waiver?  Not really.  I still belived that God was all good, all love.  But I can not tell you how many times the words I could have written a better story than you ran through my mind.  Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but for me, it had a heavy impact.

Because that question wasn’t really about my faith wavering, it was about my hope.  I was losing it….and fast.

During that time someone posted this on Facebook: “I understand that Christians have hope in the fact that there is life after this one, but how do we find hope in the middle of our struggles right now?”

I wrestled with this question for days, intertwined with my thoughts that I was a better story teller than God.  What would I say to someone who asked me How can you have hope in Jesus when this has happened to your child?  When he is allowing this nightmare to continue?  When you are begging from the deepest recesses of your soul for Him to give you a miracle and He is silent?  

To know you have hope and to be able to understand why are two very different things.  I needed an answer, if only for myself, because I knew I would love Jesus regardless, but I wasn’t sure where myhope in today was going to come from.  It was wafer thin.

During this time I couldn’t pick up my Bible.  It made me feel too vulnerable in a time when I needed strength.  However the best thing about reading scripture is that in times when you can’t pick that book up, so much of it remains inside of you.  I could hear the word of God in my heart.

My favorite verse is Micah 6:8.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  I love it for so many reasons and God has led me in the direction of finding justice and mercy for those around me.  It is my life’s mission. Humility however, can be a hell of a thing to get a handle on.  Especially when your daughter is on a vent and you are busy screaming I COULD HAVE WRITTEN A BETTER STORY!

As I struggled, God placed that scripture on my heart.  But I didn’t know it was from him, since I have that verse hanging on my wall and it’s my next tattoo.  Yet I was only focusing on the mercy and justice part.  Jon and I’s New Year’s Resolution was to get our foster care license.  Come on God, I was thinking.  Why would you take us away from doing something so good?  Mercy and Justice.  Way easier than humility.

My thoughts moved to the idea of walking humbly with God and I realized that claiming to be a better story teller was a far cry from humility.  It’s arrogance.  And selfishness.  And such a lie.

I was sitting in a moment of the greatest story ever written – the story of humanity – and I hated it.  But here’s the thing.  I’m not the main character in the story.  God is.  And that’s actually what I’ve always loved about his story – he weaves a tapestry full of color and uniqueness that is all about love and allows me to be a part of it.

This revelation did not bring me great joy to be sitting through such a horrible thing.  I am still greatly disappointed and hurt by God allowing this situation.  But it did give me back my hope.

I have hope because the greatest story teller ever is doing something huge and original and magical with my crappy chapter.  That is beautiful.  Overwhelming.  Why he would include me, or any of us, is beyond my understanding.  But He does.  He wants to.  I will never understand the full impact that today, this moment, or my life has on the story of humanity until Jesus can tell me that himself.  Somehow that doesn’t really matter.  Because after reading God’s story of love and knowing that a love story is the ONLY story he would ever write, I can have hope that today will matter in the long run.  Today will bring about mercy and justice to someone, somewhere.  Today matters in the story of humanity.

Rise Up

Halloween Party's photo.

This wan’t about being a democrat or a republican for me….it just hit me on a day that my heart was hurting.

Yesterday I sat with a 21-year-old mother that has an 8-year-old son though incest. Although this mom is working so hard to beat the system and rise above – she is down on her luck right now. When I got in the car, I wept, I swore, I cried out. My heart was so broken for the 12-year-old girl she was when she got pregnant and I wondered who had ever cried for her. All those years of abuse, did anyone love her enough to shed a tear?

Then I get home and I’m scrolling through Facebook and I read the above cartoon. On any other day I wouldn’t have even thought about it, but yesterday, it made me cry again. All I could think about was this young woman, her struggles, her pain, her dreams, while in contrast there are millions of people with so much to spare who don’t want to “share their candy” and consider her lazy.

Please, this is not a welfare post. Welfare is a broken system. I know that. It needs massive reform. People abuse it. I’m fully educated on all its problems.  About five years ago the house next to me became a rental and a family moved in that had nicer cars then I did, newer clothes, more disposable income.  They remained unmarried, leased cars, and kept all property in the father’s name so the mom could still receive full welfare funding.  Shameful.

Again, this is not a welfare post, but rather this is a post to the church.  To the body of Christ.

RISE UP CHURCH.

Prior to the 20th century, the church was on the front lines, ministering to the poor. Not just economically poor, but the mentally, socially, spiritually poor as well. Then a debate began about the fundamental tenets fo Christianity. Evangelicals did not see a connection between humanitarian efforts and bringing Christ’s kingdom. Steve Corbett in When Helping Hurts writes “As Evangelicals tried to distance themselves from the social gospel movement, they ended up in large-scale retreat from the front lines of poverty alleviation. This shift away from the poor was so dramatic that church historians refer to the 1900- 1930 era as the “Great Reversal” in the evangelical church’s approach to social problems.”

You know what began in the 1930’s? Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Welfare. When the church did what it was called to do, the government didn’t need to step in. We are so far from that church.

I grew up without a lot of money in small town Iowa.  I knew people with food stamps.  My grandma got free government cheese.  It’s not bad.

Again, this is rise up church post. I look at the church in Acts and how no one went without because they all shared and I long for a world like that. Where we as “blessed” Christians live a little less “blessed” in order for the least of these to have more.  I use the term blessed lightly, because people tend to throw that word around as if to imply that wealth is how God blesses.  It’s not.  Being chosen to cross paths with one of God’s children who was abused and then to be the one that cries for her, that is a blessing from God.

Keep in mind, I am a hypocrite.  Completely.  I now live in Tinley Park and I have to make an effort to look for people who live with the daily struggles of buying food.  Sometimes I hate it.  It brings a burden upon my life and my children and I am exhausted by the pain and suffering of other people.  Exhausted.  I want to quit.  Part of me wants to light my fireplace, pour a glass of wine, and think nothing of those outside of my home.  Part of me doesn’t want to give to the point where I have to make a sacrifice.  I want granite counter tops, hardwood floors in the bedrooms, a new van.

But more than wanting those things, I want to live like the bible tells me to live.  Because it’s better.  Jesus says it is.  So life is a about living in the middle.  Battling my wants against God’s calling.  Choosing not to judge anyone, even when my mind is full of prejudices.  Understanding I am a hypocrite and fighting it until I die.

Somedays I don’t see it.  Carrying the weight of another human’s pain doesn’t fee like a blessing.  But it is.  The connection to a human life is the best gift we could ever be given.

Rise up church.

Rise up.

My Epic Summer – Part 3 (finally)

Our third major milestone this summer was marking the one year anniversary of Iris’s adoption.  It was the quickest year of my life.  We arrived home last August just after her 7th birthday.  Here is the first picture we saw of her:

We thought she was beautiful from the beginning!

Part III – What my second adoption taught me.

#1 – God has a plan

Yep, even this time around he did.  I have spent a great many years dreaming about going to China to adopt a little girl.  By the time we got around to the adoption, China was a 5 year wait unless you went special needs.  I wasn’t mentally ready at the time to add another child with special needs to our house.  I just had a major mental block there.  That’s because God intended to send me to Africa to get Mesfin.  When our hearts were open to another adoption I just knew China was where we would go.

I’m so thankful that I listened to God’s plan.  And it wasn’t easy.  When you dream of a child for so long as I did a daughter from China, it takes time to make the mental switch to another country.  I had to mourn this daughter that I yearned for so much.  She wouldn’t be.

But God knows the desires of our hearts and even though I had put it all aside, He was just asking me to wait.

#2 – Sometimes adoption actually DOES save a child.

Although I believe that no one should go into adoption for the sole reason of saving a child, AND that children are better off with their biological parents in the country of birth if possible, I can’t ignore the millions of children that sit in orphanages with little or no future.  In Russia and Ukraine, 16 is the age that you are forced out of the orphanage.  15% of the kids commit suicide, 60% of the girls end up as prostitutes, and 70% of the men go to prison for major crimes.

Parts of China do their best to help a child be successful after the orphanage, but the ones with special needs are hopeless.  Iris would have little chance of getting married and would face much discrimination in the workplace.  Iris has a mild knee deformity that causes her leg to be slightly bent.  That’s it.  But she wasn’t perfect enough.  We have friends in Ohio who adopted a Chinese 11-year-old with spina bifida and she wasn’t allowed to go to school.  They felt her handicap was too great.  She sat in a diaper and wheelchair all day, every day, never leaving the orphanage.  What would have ever become of her at 18?

We are called to be a father to the fatherless.  Adoption is an answer.

#3 – The journey can be the easiest in life

Yep, that’s right.  We were so prepared for another major adjustment, yet Iris sailed right in like she owned the place.  We are so similar that I think it is more likely I was kidnapped for 12 months, kept drugged, impregnated, and then gave birth to this girl as opposed to we just randomly picked her out from a stack of files.

And the sarcasm my friends.  It is a wonderful gift God has bestowed upon me and she is also brilliant at it.  How is this possible?  The Chinese are not particularly known for their biting sarcasm.  I’m telling you, she came from my DNA.

#4 – Wounds remain

Iris’s sorrow is over choice.  Through tears she has told me that adoption is just so hard because she didn’t get to pick any of it.  She promises she would have picked me if it was possible, but it is all so scary because no one ever asked her what she wanted.

Iris also spent the first 5 years of her life with a foster family.  Then the governing agency said it was time for school and so she left that family and went to an orphanage for school age kids.  Then they chopped off her long hair.  I hear that story often.  She misses them.

Both foster parents continued visiting her at the orphanage once she left.  They called her and brought her gifts.  But they did not prepare her well, for she was even unsure if she came out of her China momma’s belly.

No, I told her, there was a mom that had you in her belly and she had to give you up.  Then when you were two days old you went to live with your foster parents. 

I don’t want to talk about it, she replied.  I don’t need to miss two mommas that gave me away.

When she was told she would be coming to America, Iris called her foster parents and says they cried, exclaiming We don’t want you to go!  Of course the mother said that because she would miss her.  But what Iris heard was I am so mad at you for going!  No matter what I tell her, she will not believe that her foster parents still love her, instead believing they harbor a lot of anger towards her for leaving.

#5 – Forever will never be long enough

I know you just read this about Mesfin, but it’s true.  Every project in school where they do a time line or a biography and I can only come up with a year, five years, of memories makes my heart hurt.

On her birthday I will always remember that there are two mothers in China that ache for Iris.  One that felt her grow for 9 months and one that spent 5 years clearly covering her with love.

I get the forever.  And I will do it to the best of my abilities in dedication to the women who came before me, for a shorter time, but loved them both as deeply as I do.

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My Epic Summer – Part 2

Our second major milestone this summer was marking the 5th anniversary of Mesfin’s adoption.  Five years doesn’t seem like a long time, yet I can’t really remember a day that Mesfin wasn’t with us.  Not only that, but he was almost 6 when we picked him up, so he has still logged in more time in Ethiopia then in America.  He seemed so old when we saw him (his paperwork said he was only 3 – hahaha) so when I look at this picture I can’t even imagine he was that little.  Those are not my memories.

The day we met Mesfin.

The day we met Mesfin.

Mesfin has taught me a lot about myself.  Some of it is really ugly I might add.  His adjustment was difficult and I in no way handled it with grace. This blog isn’t addressing all the yuck that bubbled out during that time.  I’ll save that for later.  Or you can adopt yourself, make a mess of it, then call me and I will reassure you I did it too.

Part II – What my first adoption taught me.

#1 – God has a plan
We filled out our paper work for a child under the age of 4 because Will was 5 and our agency was very firm on their policy not to break birth order.  Our referral sent us a picture of the beautiful boy above and gave us a birthday making him 3.  As I mentioned, he wasn’t.  We met his birth mom and she told us his birthday and that he was about to turn 6.  Say what?  There might have been some freaking out as we huddled in a small guest room at the orphanage, during rainy season, with not enough clothes (I just couldn’t fathom bringing a sweatshirt to Africa – stupid), while the city carried out random periods of blackouts to use less energy.  It gets dark in a city with no power.

When we arrived home I mentioned that the adjustment was difficult.  Not just for Mesfin, but for Will too.  He would go to bed crying “I never told you I wanted a brother.”  But a few weeks after we arrived home Will told us “I’m so glad he’s older.  I was praying for a brother that was older because I really like being the baby.”

Mesfin is such a perfect fit for our family now.  It’s took so much time for us to realize that while we were trying to control the situation through paperwork and what we felt was best, God had a young man picked out for us and he was bending information to put him with us.  God’s plans don’t always work out in such a way that makes sense to us, but He is always orchestrating the details of our lives.

#2 – Adoption isn’t about saving a child

I’m going to say it:  A child is better off with their biological mother in their native country than anywhere else.  But our world is broken so it can’t always work out that way.  Mesfin loved his life and it was brutally interrupted by adoption.  He had a mother that loved him and there was no way to reconcile the massive issue of HIV in Ethiopia.  For him, it was so much more like a kidnapping.  The rivers of gratitude weren’t flowing when we arrived home.  It was more like being dragged through the sewer system.  Adopted children have no choice.  They do not owe their parents anything.  Not love, not gratitude, NOTHING.  It is with love that we enter into this and that is our choice, so we owe them that plus a lot more.  Not the other way around.

#3 – This journey can be the most difficult in life

Living with a grieving child was beyond what I expected.  Mesfin’s first full sentence he strung together in English was “I already have a mom in Ethiopia so you will never be my mother.”  What does someone do with that?  Well I locked myself in the bathroom for a long and fruitful cry.  He had moments of anger, violence, uncontrollable sobbing.  All emotions to the extreme.  We hated each other a few times.  I recall crying out to the Lord I’ve wanted to adopt since I can remember!  Why would you give me a child that hates me?!  The grief for Jon and I was ever-present.  Our motto was “Love is a verb.  Fake it ’til you feel it.”  There were times I prayed for a way out.  (remember I said above I did not handle this with grace and beauty) When we enrolled him in kindergarten school had already started and I sat down with the teacher to talk about Mesfin.  The first thing she asked was “Tell me what is so great about Mesfin.”  I blanked.  Couldn’t say a word.  I was in such a state of emergency dealing with our house that I was unable to even see the good.

It was an honest full year of struggles.  Gradually getting better, but I don’t think I let my guard down until after that first year.  It can take some time.

#4 – Wounds remain

Although Mesfin is a happy and fully a Zabrocki boy, there are wounds that will always remain.  Sometimes I forget he’s ever had a life before me, but he doesn’t.  Last year I asked him if he was ready to go back to visit Ethiopia and he said “Mom, you just don’t get it.  If I go back I will want to look for my mom, but she will either be dead or, if I find her, I won’t be able to talk to her.  Either situation is unbearable.”  Loss never disappears.  It just softens over time.  There will always be a hole in his heart for the life he had before me.

#5 – Forever will never be long enough.

He is my son.  The love of my life.  Sometimes I want to tell people I had an affair just so that I can claim him as my biological son.   Mesfin is loved no differently.  In some ways I love him more fiercely than the others because of all that he had to go through and because of the crazy sense of protection I have for him.  I don’t want people to see my “adopted” son.  Just my boy.  Beautiful.  Serious.  Funny.  Smart.  Sensitive.  Clumsy.  Silly.  Handsome.  Oh to have the chance to go back and tell that kindergarten teacher what is so great about Mesfin.  There is an endless list of things.  I think about his Ethiopian mom so often.  I can. not. imagine.  I’m sure if she was sitting in front of this computer, writing about her son, she would also say forever will never be long enough.  But for reasons out of everyone’s control, I get the rest of forever.  That is so heartbreaking, and beautiful, at the same time.

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My Epic Summer – Part 1

This summer brought about three major milestones.  Jon and I celebrated 15 years, Iris checked off her first year as a Zabrocki, and Mesfin rang in year #5.  Big events around here.

Since I am now an expert in all things wifely and motherly (insert sarcastic laughter here) I’m beginning the first of three blogs detailing things I have learned and experienced from the above three people.

Part I – What 15 years of marriage has taught me.

 

Jon and I!   (Look how serious our friend Jenn is in the back.  Yes, she's picking out a beer, not buying stock.)

Jon and I!
(Look how serious our friend Jenn is in the back. Yes, she’s picking out a beer, not buying stock.)

#1 – I am not his Holy Spirit

I know, it’s hard to believe.  Three years before we adopted Mesfin, I was ready.  God said go and I said ok.  But first I needed to follow Jon around the house on a weekly basis to let him know what God had said and that his signature was going to required on multiple pieces of paper for MY adoption.  Shockingly, that ended in a fight.  Jon was not as convicted as I was.  His reply “You can pretend that all this crap is helpful to God, but you’re not my Holy Spirit.  This is just called nagging.  If God can convince you, then he can convince me.  Let it go!”

Hmmm…I pondered.  Can God actually convince people to do things without my assistance?  I decided to say nothing more and just pray about it.  It took four months, but once I was out of the way, God managed to finish the job by himself.

Note:  I’m still working on this.  I fail to believe that God can convince Jon to shut dresser drawers or Will to keep his shoes tied or Emily to clean her room or……well, you get the picture.

#2 – Have sex

I’m not going to say much about this one because my in-laws do read my blog.  Let’s just say it’s hard to stay mad at someone if you are naked.

#3 – Give up what doesn’t join you

I am not saying here that you stop being you.  Don’t let go of those things in life that you enjoy or the friends that you have.  Not all people and events need to unify you into one, but evaluate what just might bring you apart.

When Jon and I were first married we had very separate lives.  It happens when you tie the knot at 28.  I had a really great guy friend at work and we spent a lot of time together.  Jon got a new job shortly after the nuptials and he was working endless hours.  I began to find myself sharing more with my friend then my husband.  He became my emotional support.  The negative impact of Jon’s  excess working and my emotional attachment to another was a realization we came to at a marriage retreat.  It took some deliberate effort for me to pull away from my friend and for Jon to step up his support.  Jon also decided on a new job that wouldn’t take him away from his family 6 days a week morning to evening.  Was our marriage falling apart?  Were we fast tracking it to divorce court?  No, but we were heading in the opposite direction of the sweet spot that our marriage has certainly become.  We were heading apart, not together.

#4 – Build him up

No matter how manly your guy is, he wants to hear that you respect him.  Saying things like “Thanks for working so hard for this family”  or “I am proud of the father that you are” goes a long way.  And why not?  It may sound a little contrived at first…something you might hear in an after school special…..but if it’s from the heart he will appreciate it.  I was surprised when my husband once confessed that the weight of providing for his family sometimes kept him up at night, mainly because I spend very little time thinking about money and my house, and health insurance, and all the material things needed to run the Zabrocki corporation.  I’ve discovered that he’s not the only man with the strong desire to be a good provider.  It’s time to let them know that you think they are.

#5 – Laugh

On our last road trip my son Mesfin looked up at the two of us and remarked “Every time I look at you guys you are laughing about something.” Best. Compliment. Ever.  And we are.  We have learned to make light of almost anything.  Spend an afternoon eavesdropping on us and you might think we are the most insensitive people ever.  Yet it’s the opposite.  We love this big mess of a family to the point of suffocation sometimes.  But folks, there are days that if we aren’t laughing, we would be crying.  Not kidding.

And laugh at yourself friends.  You are not that cool.  Last month I did something so dorky (no full disclosure here) and my husband made fun of me for a solid 10 days.  Constantly.  I finally questioned my own laughing fits considering I was the butt of the joke.

Well that ends my wise and essential wisdom on marriage. (again, insert laughing at myself here) Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of my epic summer!