Posts filed under ‘Marriage’

Faking It

Part of Perfect Moment Mondays…

Though we’re home all day together – every day — admittedly, my husband and I don’t take enough time to do things together just for fun. Just for us. Everything lately seems to have a purpose, goal or responsibility attached to it. And when we’re done with all that by the end of the day, who has the energy to just have fun? So last week we took a family vacation to Vail and left all that grown-up stuff behind us. It wasn’t our first snowboard trip to the mountains, but this one would be different.

Typically, we share our lift tickets. One of us will ride while the other watches our now three-year-old Princess, Reagan. We trade off at nap time. When you’re on a budget, it’s hard to justify the $130/day extra for daycare and a second lift ticket – another $100 each day to ride together. Of course, this means all the exhilaration, fresh air and beauty of riding the mountain becomes a solo experience. It’s enjoyable to do alone every once in awhile, but is so much more fun to do with others. And, since this trip was planned last minute, none of our local friends could make it up on such short notice to take advantage of the little condo we had reserved.

While our plan was to again ride separately all week, we were prompted by my good friend, Fiona, whose family goes up to Beaver Creek every weekend together, to take at least one day together on the mountain. Since Beaver Creek is just around the corner from Vail, we brought our families together at the end of each day for one weekend. Our kids had a blast and Danny and I always enjoy some adult conversation and laughter, whenever we can get it. Wish they had been with us all week.

While cooking us a delicious dinner in their condo in Beaver Creek, my dear-friend-turned-marriage-counselor, encouraged us to spend the money, even if for just one day, to snowboard together. She stressed how important and refreshing that time we would spend on the mountain as a couple would be, not just for us, but for Reagan. And for our family as a whole. A solid, loving, happy marriage is at the core of your children’s happiness and sense of security. Sure, we know this, but, it’s the putting it into practice part that is easy to let slide. I always used to wonder what people meant when they said marriage was “work.” We didn’t have to work at much at all for the first five years of our marriage.  It wasn’t until we had Reagan, and our focus was no longer on us, that I understood how much work marriage could become. And that cancer stuff sucks too.

We hadn’t snowboarded together since before Reagan was born. Sad, really. Pregnancy, chemotherapy, finances – all have played a role in the past few years. But, we were here now. Neither one of us throwing up this time. And Danny is set to go back to work any day now. No excuses. For the next few days, while taking turns on the mountain, we went back and forth about using our last two lift tickets to go out together on our last day. We called around for daycare options and I waited patiently for Danny to come to the same conclusion I had: I missed what it felt like to share this experience with him so many years ago. It was time. Eventually, he came around.

Our last day in Vail, was our best. Reagan, Ms. Social Butterfly, was ecstatic to go to daycare, running off to play without so much as giving us a passing glance back. And Danny and I had the best ride of the week exploring new runs together, enjoying the warm spring weather and mashed-potatoes under our boards. It was just like old times. Only this time, I could keep up with my old man. No better feeling than when he complimented me on riding the catwalks better than he could. In reality, I was just faking confidence. Just like when we were dating. And it was perfect.

April 19, 2010 at 11:22 am 2 comments

Thankful for New Beginnings

While we give thanks for what we have–family, friends, a roof over our heads and food in our bellies—in our house this year, we’re even more thankful for what we’re about to have. Because of what we’ve been given: a new lease on life. Not once. But twice. And when I say we, I mean Danny. Which through transference, also means me. By marriage. Remember that part of the vows that goes “in sickness and in health?” That part of the lease.

The first lease was taken out just over a year ago when Danny was officially proclaimed in remission from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after six long months of treatment. Recovery from treatment ended less than nine months ago, which is when it genuinely felt real. The survival rates for Lymphoma have doubled over the past 25 years because of the advances in chemotherapy, radiation and stem-cell transplantation which give Danny a great prognosis to be able to declare himself “cured” in five years!

The second lease was taken out exactly one week ago when Danny had a fairly new surgical procedure known as Lumbar Disc Replacement. Not your ordinary back surgery. So new, his surgery was played on a big screen in the surgical center auditorium for visiting doctors around the world to watch and learn from. Danny now has a hunk of titanium where one of his discs used to be. In just five more weeks, he will be completely recovered from surgery and able to do things he hasn’t been able to do since his 20’s when he first injured himself. Almost 20 years he has suffered, often out of commission one week out of every month since we first married eight years ago. He’s promised me that the monthly back spasms starting around the same time we got married have nothing to do with the proverbial “ball and chain,” if that’s what you’re thinking. So there.

As happenstance would have it, Danny turns 40 this Friday. The big 4-0. The convergence of his new lease on life with a possible mid-life crisis might have other wives worried. But, not me. I know what’s most on Danny’s mind is the prospect of being the husband and father he wants to be. He dreams of rolling around on the floor with Reagan, tossing her up in the air, teaching her to snowboard and father-daughter dances. He woos me with the promise of taking on additional responsibilities around the house to give me more of a break. Just the idea of Danny cleaning bathtubs and toilets, hanging shelves and laying tile has me all weak in the knees. He throws around tackling my “500-tasks-long Honey-do list” like it’s an aphrodisiac. Tip for all the men reading this: IT IS.

And finally, in just a few short months Danny should be cleared medically by the FAA to return to flying for Frontier Airlines again. We are thankful that this day is so near after two very difficult years of struggling physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Here’s to a bright and healthy 2010!
Happy Thanksgiving!

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November 26, 2009 at 5:08 am 3 comments

Weathering the Storms for 8 Years Now

Scan10001Eight years ago today, Danny and I said “I do” under a hot desert sun and embarked upon a journey that had already been set off course by the events of 9/11 just two months earlier. Danny was immediately furloughed from his job as a pilot and called to active duty with his Air Force C-130 unit in Colorado Springs. He reported for duty as soon as we returned from our honeymoon in Lake Tahoe. He was to serve six months on base and six months abroad. As newlyweds, knowing we had to be apart for six months was torture, but we didn’t have to be apart the other six. And just like that, we were selling our home in Arizona to set sail for Colorado. The plan was simple: start over.

DSC00394_2By the time Danny’s year of duty was up, he had been called back to his job flying out of St. Louis for a commuter airline. What a relief! However, I was finding it wasn’t so simple to start your career up again in a new place where you knew no one, there was a recession on, and there were 200 applicants for every one job. Maybe we should’ve investigated this a bit more before we jumped ship back in the desert? There was only one thing to do. Move to St. Louis. And start over.

DSC00575Life was finally moving along. Danny no longer had to commute from Denver to St. Louis for work as he had been, and I found a good job in the city. We were ready to settle in and start our family. Apparently, Al-Qaeda was to have a say in this too though, because no sooner than we started skipping down the yellow brick road did Danny get called up again. Six months in Colorado Springs; six months in Qatar. One yearBaby Bird 005 away from me. We made it work. I found a new job as a contractor where I could set my own hours. I flew out to Colorado two weekends a month and just before Danny was to do a 3-month stint flying in and out of war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, we got pregnant. And though he missed my first trimester, and we lived in two different states for the second, he was home for the third and most important part, the birth of our daughter in February 2007. What a great time to… START OVER!

DSC01827Reagan was just six months old when we moved back to Colorado. Danny had achieved his ultimate goal: to fly for Frontier Airlines. It was exactly one month between his hiring and our move, during which time Danny was in training in Denver while I sold the house, packed it and boarded a plane with our newborn. It was the most stressful time I had ever been through and I thought I was near having a nervous breakdown. Now I know that was only God preparing me for what was the real stress to come. On Reagan’s first birthday, Danny was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. The reset button had just been pressed again.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that Danny is now cancer-free and waiting to be cleared by the FAA to return to work at Frontier. The Air Force is deciding whether to let him re-train in a new position (read desk job) or declare him medically-retired as the chemotherapy damaged his heart to where he is now considered “undeployable,” and can no longer fly for them. After thinking I had retired from my career in graphic design to be a full-time mom, I was suddenly looking for work again as soon as Danny had recovered from his treatment and could care for Reagan.

IMG_2289While this may not be the life we planned on, we’ve learned to be thankful for our blessings amidst the storms. And, there have been many. The two biggest being the birth of our daughter and of course, Danny conquering cancer. We figure with as much as we’ve weathered together in this first eight years, it should be all smooth sailing from here.

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November 10, 2009 at 2:34 am 14 comments

Southwest and the Unknown Frontier

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Okay, I admit it. I was excited to marry a pilot. I know it shouldn’t matter, but, isn’t it true that marrying a pilot is equivalent to marrying your prince in most little girl’s (and big girl’s) fantasies? There’s something about a man in uniform commanding a mega-ton aircraft with hundreds of lives in his hands every day that commands our respect and makes us dream about happily-ever-afterwards. And the travel benefits don’t hurt either.

Before we walked down the aisle, Danny felt it necessary to give me “the talk.” I think he wanted to be sure I knew that being married to a pilot wasn’t likely to be the fun-filled fantasy he expected I was imagining. He warned of higher divorce rates for pilots (mostly anecdotal), job instability, low starting salaries and long periods of time apart among other stressors. It would be a long time before his career choice might pay off and there were no guarantees that it would. No longer the secure, glamorous and lucrative career it once was in the ’70’s and ’80’s, becoming a pilot now is a career gamble and sometimes marital suicide, he cautioned. Who did he think I was? Alice Green? I could take it. After all, our entire relationship had been long-distance up to this point anyway.

That was 10 years, 5 moves, 3 states, 3 airlines, 2 furloughs, 1 bankruptcy and -1 ugly malignancy ago. Neither one of us could have imagined how seriously more stressful being employed (I use that term loosely) in the airline industry would become since our talk, pre-9/11. Furloughs, bankruptcies and base closures uprooting your family are now just part of the regularly-expected career hurdles.

frontier_airlines-740489In April of 2008, less than a year after Danny was hired and a few months after his cancer diagnosis, Frontier Airlines declared bankruptcy, following the flight path of many other airlines in these tough economic times. A few months ago, Republic Airways announced it was putting in a bid to buy Frontier, shutting up all those who previously thought this a preposterous rumor. And then, they were trumped. On Friday, Southwest Airlines announced their plans to outbid Republic for the bankrupt, yet still “profitable” and much-loved hometown Denver-based airline.

Republic has already gone back on its’ word not to merge the pilot seniority lists, a move that would make many Frontier pilots junior to their new and primarily less-experienced counterparts and decrease their salaries. There are lessons to be learned from the America West/US Airways merger debacle of 2005, still being fought by the pilot unions today.

Should Southwest win the bid, one of the possible options, and the one we hear most frequently, is that Frontier pilots would have to interview for their positions. For junior pilots like Danny, this would be the end of the runway. Another option could be that they are “stapled” to the bottom of the Southwest pilot’s seniority list, but their jobs are secure. Since salaries at Southwest are higher, and the pilots are already mostly senior in flight time and experience, this would be the preferable outcome. The fear is that Southwest may have more finite plans in mind than they are willing to share right now. That is, to cut all Frontier employees loose after a few years as their only goal may be just to dominate gate space at Denver International Airport where Frontier right now is their biggest competitor.

Southwest_Airlines_logo-1It’s hard not to feel like cattle on the auctioning block as we wait to hear our fate. Will we win the airline lottery with Southwest as Danny’s new employer, or will we soon be exploring Plan C like several other of our pilot friends who have had it with the airline industry and have started over in new fields? Keep your seat belts fastened, until the Captain has turned off the “fasten seat belts sign,” we’re expecting more turbulence ahead.

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August 3, 2009 at 1:44 am 8 comments

Jon & Kate Take the Easy Way Out

gosselinenoughWhile listening to Jon and Kate Gosselin say over and over again in last night’s TLC one-hour special episode of “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” that they were both “thinking of the kids,” while choosing the divorce route, not once did I hear mentioned that they had been to counseling. “We’re doing what’s best for the kids.” Are you? Do you really think that your kids want to be from a broken home? The two of you are really going to spend all the holidays together with your kids… together? Really? How long will that last once you both start dating other people and want to include them in your holiday celebrations? How’s that going to work? Is having both your parents and their boyfriends/girlfriends all together in the same room at Christmas really what’s best for the kids? Sorry to get so judgmental, but I was very disappointed to not see what I had hoped the announcement would be last night: “We’re going to end the show to work on our marriage.”

Instead, we learn that divorce papers were filed yesterday, June 22, 2009. Done. Wow. That was fast. No couch time with Dr. John Gray? I’m sure he’d be more than happy to donate his time like so many other “sponsors” of the show have for such incidentals as hair plugs, tummy tucks, teeth whitening, all-out kid’s days at you-name-it theme park or zoo. Not even some visits to your Pastor? Maybe some of this did happen, but you’d think they’d mention it. Since the Gosselins’ have chosen to share their faith on their show and how it has guided them in raising their children, should it not be guiding them now in their time of family crisis? Kate has written two books quoting Biblical scripture throughout, sharing her beliefs as the basis for how they raise their kids and building a very wide and deep Christian following as a result. I am shocked that they are now not checking themselves when they most need to and asking “what would Jesus do?” Doesn’t the Bible tell us that our marriage is to be put first and foremost before our kids? As parents, we are to be a model for our children to follow and a strong foundation upon which our kids can flourish, feel safe and loved. Destroying that foundation puts at risk a child’s fragile sense of security in the world. I kept waiting for them to say they were in counseling to repair their marriage…  waiting… waiting… waiting… DIVORCE! It seems too quick. Too simple. Too soon. Please don’t tell me you are “doing this for the kids!” That phrase was repeated so many times it started to sound like an annoying jingle I then couldn’t get out of my head. Is this something you are both now telling yourselves just to “make it okay?” Please excuse me for making presumptions, but, now that you are both financially free and already have your own lives apart from each other, isn’t this really just the easy way out?

Have Jon and Kate become so much like every other Hollywood couple now that even their eight kids aren’t enough to keep them together? My heart went out to Kate last night who seemed to be the only one in the marriage who was interested in saving it. I usually put my dukes up for Jon, but after hearing he’s not even interested in talking about their problems, there is no more defending him. No matter how emasculated he has felt since becoming a stay-at-home-Dad and seeing his wife in the limelight (see prior post here), there is no excuse for walking away from a ten-year marriage and eight kids because you feel you’ve “had enough.” Yes, Kate is overbearing and sometimes even unfairly belittles you, but, man up, Jon! Walking away only confirms that you are as weak as you appear on TV. Being that you are only 32, it is still possible that you may one day grow up and realize the 20-something life you may think you have missed out on… isn’t going to bring you the fulfillment you are seeking the way living up to your promises, being an honorable and dedicated husband and father will. Hopefully, when that does happen, it won’t already be too late.

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June 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm 10 comments

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

58757764_e384192d83Drifting. For the past year and a half. Life definitely has a course of its’ own and we have no control of the rudder. What is the lesson here? Still trying to figure that out. For every lighthouse in the distance, a new reef has emerged.

Truth? After two months of working from home, I miss being a full-time Mom to Reagan. I’m good at it. Not liking this role reversal thing. It’s just not me. And, no surprise, it’s not for Danny either.

I came back to work kicking and screaming, but have given it my all because I have no choice. It’s either earn a living or see my family become homeless. Now, as I had feared, the results have not been good for any of us. I know there are families out there making this work. I wish I knew how. It has only caused us much strife, stress and malaise.

During this past weekend away from home, I spent much time pondering and praying the answer be revealed to me and came up short. All I know for sure is that Danny and I are definitely happiest in our traditional roles of Ralph and Alice. Does this mean that will happen? Not for at least another six months when Danny may be medically allowed to return to his job as a glorified bus driver (pilot). So, how do we get through our time adrift on this great, big ocean of crashing waves and scorching sun? I don’t have an answer to that. I’m just leaning on God with all my might and praying He put the wind back in our sails and send us in the direction of safe harbor once again.

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Photo credit: Dbuc

June 10, 2009 at 1:33 am 3 comments

1st Day of Summer Preschool — It Ain’t Pretty.

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So, while other mommy bloggers post beautiful, professional-looking photos of their children that could occupy the pages of Pottery Barn Kids, I just post what’s real. This is my kid home from her first day of summer preschool. Her first ever class that isn’t “Mommy & Me.” She’s all on her own. And while I had no worries about how she would handle that, or if she would cry, I was worried about how her Daddy would handle getting her to her 9am, bi-weekly, hour-and-a-half-long Summer Fun Club. I told myself to have a little faith in my husband before going to bed late last night/early this morning after finishing up a project. After all, I’ve neatly folded and paired up all of her new summer preschool clothes I just bought and told him where to find them in her drawer. I gave him the name of the class, time, days, a map and directions. Still, I imagined all the possibilities of how this could turn out, and was glad I was going to be sleeping through it in the morning. At least that’s what I thought.

If only I had hung the car keys by the front door where they belong, Danny wouldn’t have had to wake me from my coma to ask where they were and I wouldn’t have noticed while looking for said keys that it was already 8:55am. Reagan’s preschool class is a 15-20 min. drive from our house. If only I had hung the car keys by the front door where they belong, I wouldn’t have noticed Reagan’s Flock of Seagulls hair and her… oh no! That’s what she’s wearing! Are those her only-wear-around-the-house and for-rolling-around-in-mud-like-a-piggie play clothes?! But, I did notice. I saw it all! “Alright Reagan, say good-bye to Mommy,” Danny said. And in the blink of an eye, she was headed towards the front door holding her Daddy’s hand. In my still groggy, state of shock, I froze up. Knowing she was late and that if I said anything about anything, I would be the one hauling her to class while still wiping the sleep from my eyes, nothing came out of my mouth but a hopeless “gufaww.” Mouth still open, I waved bye-bye to my Princess as she walked out into the cold without a jacket, excited as can be and looking like Nick Nolte meets Richard Simmons. If only I had hung the car keys by the front door where they belong, I would’ve slept right through all of this and never known the extent of my humiliation until I awoke refreshed and mentally prepared for it upon her return.

Rejoining slumberland proved futile at this point. I tried to push out of my mind the images of the other parents looking at my kid and instructing theirs’ to be nice to her, “she’s special.” I tried not to imagine the teacher’s reaction to her late arrival and appearance, “poor, neglected, little girl, I’ll have to be sure she gets some extra attention.” I told myself, no one is going to care, only YOU care! Just go back to sleep! But, it was useless. I called a friend to vent. That made it a little better, but I was still awake. Might as well get up now. The Type-A Mom in me just could not let go! I wish I could have Jennifer Gardner’s attitude about this, but that’s just not me. Hey, at least Ben Affleck makes an attempt with the two sad little barrettes in Violet’s hair!

By the time Reagan returned home with that big, goofy grin on her face, arms outstretched, running towards me for that I’m-so-happy-to-see-you hug, I was pretty much over it. Besides, now I knew what I was going to write about today! I’ll just be getting Reagan a long-overdue haircut tomorrow and lay out her clothes from now on.

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June 1, 2009 at 6:36 pm 3 comments

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A half-hatched role-reversal takes flight on a wing and a prayer.

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