Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dealing with Disappointing Our Kids

Just about a year ago, I watched Roger "compete" (I use this term loosely because it was definitely more about fun than competition) in the 24 Hour Mountain Bike Relay with a group of old friends.  He loved it, the vibe of the whole event was right up my alley, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it too.  Before the race was even over last year, I told Roger I was IN for next year.  I've been excited ever since!

So when it came to race time preparations, we prepared the tent trailer, pumped up tires, lubed chains, prepped food, packed coolers, and headed to claim our spot down at the race venue the day before everything got started.  Roger and I were JACKED!  So excited for the adventure together!

We ended up needing to go down to the park one more time that evening so brought the kids along.  They both love camping and were so excited to see the tent trailer set up!  At this point it became obvious to both of us that our daughter, Emma, was bummed to be "left out" of all of this excitement and adventure.  We tried to explain that it just wasn't going to be a great situation for kids when both parents are racing... especially with the lack of sleep... but she wasn't consoled.

Even the next morning, she was still bargaining to come.  She wasn't willing to compromise and come down for a daytime visit, but wanted to be a part of the whole event and stay overnight.  All or nothing.

So we chose nothing.

Our usually-super awesome kiddo was having a reeeeeeally hard time being selfless and happy for her parents to have this adventure together.  I get it.  She's 10.  It's hard to be selfless period, and much much harder when you're 10.  But it kind of surprised me that even when reminded about the countless swim/cross country/track meets that we have rallied for - her events - she couldn't rally for us.  She was bummed.  We were bummed and disappointed.  I even had a bit of a pit in my stomach.

BUT, we left anyway.  We knew she was in great hands with our niece and parents and left it all behind, even her disappointment.

Because, it's okay to choose us.  In fact, it's good to choose us.

Much of our life revolves around our kids, their needs, and their activities.  We choose them with happy hearts many, many times. We LOVE being active, involved parents.  We wouldn't have it any other way!  However, we've learned the hard way, that there are also times where we need to choose our marriage over our kids.  When Roger and I are close and connected, the whole family is so much better for it! Aside from filling our tanks and helping our marriage thrive, it makes us healthier, happier, and better parents too!

And beyond doing it for me, for us, for our marriage, we are also doing it for our kids.  We are teaching them that they will have an identity beyond being a mommy or daddy and that someday, they too will need to choose their marriage over their kids... and that their relationships and families will be better for it.

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