Time is what really matters

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I was having a discussion with a co-worker earlier. I told her a story about taking my daughter out for ice cream at Dairy Queen and how much we enjoyed it. This prompted her to tell me about a new custard creation at Sonic and how delicious it was. I told her it sounded intriguing and that I may just have to try that out. Then she jokingly said that my husband and I should do that for our date night.

Here’s where the conversation went from a simple exchange to something a tad more serious. She was cracking up at her “joke”. I looked at her seriously and said “why not?” And she said “Oh you wouldn’t want to go do that for your date night you need to do something much fancier than that!” I repeated my question of why not. She shrugged her shoulders and said “Oh I guess it doesn’t matter for you anymore because you’ve been married for so long.” (We’ve been married 16 almost 17 years by the way…)

I looked seriously at her and took a deep breath. I wasn’t sure if I should attempt to impart some wisdom to this young, single girl or not. I truly think that a lot of people are quite confused about expectations when it comes to so many things in the world today, like love/dating just to name one. My co-worker then gives me a perplexed look because my facial expressions hide nothing so she knew my brain was working overtime.

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“Let me just give you a little wisdom from a married woman who is also incredibly cool. If you truly love and care for someone it doesn’t matter where you are, or what you are doing. All that really matters is that you are together and spending time with the person you love. Whether you are at McDonald’s ordering off the value menu, or at the fanciest restaurant in Memphis … it doesn’t matter. As long as you are together with the person who means more to you than anything else.”

She then tries to argue her point with me by saying, “But if you are going out to the theatre to see a play you don’t want to go to McDonald’s or Sonic before a nice evening out like that!”

So I plead with her to see the error of her ways. “I’m serious here. Whether you are taking your private jet out for the flashiest date in the world, or both at home on the couch or in bed sick as dogs just watching TV. It wouldn’t matter if you are at a park eating PB & J and home made microwave popcorn that you brought to the park with you. All that matters is that you are spending time with the person that you love. That is ALL that matters is the time not the activity or the fanciness of any of it.”

She then looks at me and questions me again with a Really? I reassured her and told her that sometimes it’s nice to go out for a fancy night out, but even then it wouldn’t matter one bit about the fancy place or activity if my love wasn’t there to share it with me.

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Listen, all relationships have their ups and downs. However, it seems like so many marriages are failing in recent times. Divorce rates are through the roof and there are definitely times that a divorce is the right decision. But what if a lot of times divorce wasn’t the right choice? What if a simple adjustment of expectation was really what is necessary. Now I am not saying that adjustment would be a one-sided thing. A marriage is something that takes BOTH people to make it work. I am just really wondering how many marriages could possibly be saved a conversation about what each of you expect from the other person and trying to come to a compromise on some things or at the very least a realization that with a little work you might be able to save your marriage.

I have never once thought that marriage was going to be easy. I can promise you that I have learned that it is even more difficult that I thought it would be. Marriage is NOT a fairy tale and no spouse is perfect (husband or wife). We all have our flaws and that means every single marriage is flawed in one way or another. All we can do is try to communicate with each other and work towards bettering what we have with the person that we love enough to call our other half.

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Sure there are lots of things that make a marriage work or not work, but in the end what it all boils down to is time.

  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Love
  • Devotion
  • Finances
  • Careers
  • Housework
  • Kids
  • Family Obligations

This is a short list of things that come into play on a regular basis in my marriage. Not all inclusive by any means, but it gives you an idea for arguments sake. EVERY single thing on this list comes down to time. Taking the time to be there for someone other than yourself means all the world to others. Spouse’s included.

A person can’t communicate with themselves. All the people involved in a conversation have to take the time to listen and participate in the conversation so that everyone feels like they are being heard and not ignored.

Respect is something that people have to take the time to invest in with other people. Yes it isn’t just given out, but you have to put the time in to earn respect with someone and through that it helps you to gain respect in return.

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Love is shown in so many ways however, every single one of those ways takes time. Even a simple kiss on the forehead or cheek takes time away from something else that you could be doing in that moment. That moment may seem insignificant, however, taking that moment to show your love for one another can be earth shattering at certain times in your lives.

Do you see the point that I am trying to make? I doubt you all need me to continue on point by point through the list explaining it to you.

The bottom line for me is how much every single moment means. I have realized over the last few years that moments matter. Some moments are good, and others are bad. However, they ALL matter. I try to learn from the bad moments both about myself and about the other person involved in the bad moment. I can take those bad moments and try to improve how I handle myself in a similar situation when it comes up again. I can learn how to better interact with people through those bad moments too. Everyone reacts to things differently so if I need to adjust my behavior with certain people to make my experience with them better, then I can try to do that. It’s not me changing who I am, but it is me choosing to adjust. Me taking the time to make that adjustment for others could mean a world of change for myself and for all of the people around me.

We should not expect for everyone else to always live up to our expectations. We can attempt to communicate those expectations to others, however, that doesn’t mean they have to meet those expectations. What we expect from others isn’t always what those people are willing to give back to us. We have to take what is given to us from others and truly accept it for what it is. That may be the best that person can give at this present time. If their best isn’t what you expected, that doesn’t make it any less of a gesture.

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This whole thought on time for me definitely applies to my marriage, but I also believe that is applies to pretty much every aspect of my life.

Time is the greatest gift that we can give to anyone. Don’t put off the gift of your time when it comes to anyone that you love or care about. It’s too important not to lose another moment.

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It’s that time of year

School starts back for my kids tomorrow. I am so excited for each of them, yet dreading this year at the same time. My oldest will be a freshman in high school. My middle child will be in 7th grade at the middle school. Then the munchkin will be in 5th grade at the elementary school. That’s right folks … one kid in each school. I am so nervous about how I will be able to keep up with the schedules, teachers, and events at three different schools. I’ve got my planner ready though, so I hope I’m good to go on that front.

Then there are the other things making me apprehensive…

My oldest will be in HIGH SCHOOL?! How on earth did that happen? Where did the time go? I was not at all ready for this, but here it is before me. I know that my high school years were some of the most amazing years in my life. I remember them all vividly. I often think back on those years fondly. So many amazing experiences and people that I still cherish. I learned many life lessons in those 4 years that I still use to this day. I know my daughter is excited to begin this journey. I hope that her high school experience is even better than mine was (if that is even possible 😉 ha ha!)

Then there is my sweet boy. He will be all by himself at school for the first time ever in his life. He has always had at least one of his sisters at school with him up until this school year. I know he is smart, responsible and fully capable of handling himself on his own. It’s not like his sisters were holding his hand every step of the way or anything. I just can’t imagine him at school without one of the girls. I went through a similar situation with the youngest last year. She was all by herself at the elementary school for the first time. But not only were the siblings not there, I wasn’t there anymore either. My son has learned a lot about responsibility since starting middle school. He has really grown and come into his own. It seems like he needed an extra challenge and he got it in middle school and is definitely thriving. I want that amazing-ness to continue for him!

Then my baby girl is officially the ‘big fish’ in the pond at the elementary school. This will be her last year at elementary school. She’s always been tiny for her age so imagining her as a 5th grader is even harder for me than I thought it would be. She is too tiny to be a 5th grader! She’s my baby and can’t possibly be old enough for this to happen! But once again as I said earlier … I’m not ready for this, but here it is right before me. I must remember that just as the older kids, she is strong, smart and independent. She will continue to have success!

I am sure that tomorrow will be amazing for each of them. All 5 of us sat down at the dining room table tonight for dinner. Larry and I made lots of the kids favorite foods and we sat down to discuss school and work and life over our meal. We asked the kids what they were each most excited about for the upcoming school year. They all had similar answers, but each answered in their own way too. I love seeing how alike yet different they all are. Larry talked about some big events that he has coming up at work. I just listened and soaked it all in as they talked. I just wanted to enjoy that time with them. I hope to make dining room dinners a regular occurrence for us. Our schedules  are so busy that we need to have time to connect as a family.

I reminded each of the kids to do their very best at school. I also reminded them that even if other students don’t treat them with kindness that it doesn’t mean that they can be unkind to them in return. “Kill them with kindness” or so they say.

I’m sure that tomorrow will be especially hard on me. I am so thankful that I took the day off from work. I will need the time to wipe away the tears for how fast all of my babies are growing up on me. I am almost in tears now as I write this post tonight. However, I know that this is how it is supposed to be. I am supposed to feel this mixture of happiness and sadness at the same time as I watch them grow into adulthood and slowly move closer and closer to the time that they will no longer need me each and every day. I’m going to cherish each step that we continue to make.  This is a brand new adventure and we are going to soak up each and every moment and enjoy it all!

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