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July 23, 2008

Comments

Adrien

Y'all are so cute I'm gonna barf. But seriously, you guys are absolutely meant for each other, all three of you. Anyway, here's a dumb thing my husband and I do that I can't believe I'm sending out to the internet: Every night before bed we tell each other what to dream about in the form of an animal and a dessert. So I might say, "Dream of, hedgehogs...and strawberry pie!" and he might say, "Dream of ponies...and chocolate ice cream bars!" It's something we've done for years and I don't even know when it started, but I love it.

Cheryl

Nikole, this was such a lovely and real reminder of the evolution (it's welcome, but an evolution nonetheless) of romance and relationship once a baby enters the family.

Scott and I always kind of giggled at the concept of "date nights"...whenever the babes are "down" it's a date night! (Now granted, it may be watching political punditry, Rescue Me, Mad Men or Flip this House, but restful, together time simply talking and BEING...that seems to work well for our marriage tending, and blooming.


Karen Maezen Miller

What a beautiful tribute and reminder to love.

STE

We say "thank you" a lot. Even if it's a regular chore, or something simple that was done there's something to genuinely acknowledging the effort to take care of each other and our home and our relationship. We try to not take for granted small things, even taking out the trash or doing the laundry.

Thanks for sharing this.

Dale

I love that you posted this garden ~ marriage entry. I have become increasingly aware of things since Ava was born - when the wipes container was left open, when laundry is left in the dryer for two days, when the swing cover is left in the living room despite having carrot spit up on it. Those little things make me crazy. My husband is a wonderful husband and a wonderful father, but why do I notice only those annoying little things?

And then the garden - I have been working in our yard this past year. Spending lots of time, money, sweat planting and watering and nurturing my little plantlings in the hope that they'll grow and be beautiful. Then one day I noticed slime mold. It's nasty, disgusting and is ruining my garden - it's harmless but I see it and it infuriates me. Just like those wipes left open or the stain that might not come 100% clean, the mold is not really ruining my garden. It just ruins my day, which in turns ruins my husband's day, my dog's day and most likely Ava's day.

After reading your post today, I realized that I need to tend to my garden more fully, with more love and not in the mean-spirited way I have been lately. I think in the physical way my tending my real garden with more love will bring about prettier flowers, not letting those little things get me down so much will bring about a happier family.

And I love the comment about dreaming of hedgehogs and strawberry pie. Wonderful!

joriel

I love this. What sweet rituals - both yours and the one in the first comment!

I've had several experiences recently of not being as caring or generous a partner as I want to be in my anxiety about getting ready for our birth and new baby. It's often easier to worry about things I wish Ben would know or do than to acknowledge the many things he is doing and the sweet support he so often provides without being asked.

I truly believe that keeping our relationship strong is one of the best gifts we can give to our baby -- perhaps the most important thing, since it will be his primary model for all future relationships.

Mad

Seriously one of the nicest posts I've ever read. Before having Ian I never ever imagined that divorce was a possibility for my husband and I. Then came Ian. Not to say that we are even close to divorce or even unhappy but I began to understand after we became parents how easily our happiness in our marriage could slip away from us. I have found especially since being back at work that Motherhood is hard. How to be a mother without losing myself and also be a good wife, friend, sister, daughter?

I honor my husband my making a conscious effort not to nag him or criticize him especially about how he fathers Ian. I respect that their relationship is their own to care for and nurture.

We thank each other a lot. We don't take each other for granted. We have many inside jokes that we laugh about constantly. We remind ourselves how and why we fell in love every so often.

Kelly

well...hmmmm. I pondered on how, or if to answer this because to answer this I have to get really personal.

I will start by saying that after all the loss you and John have suffered, your relationship has already been tested a great deal. Those kinds of challenges put such a huge burden on a couple, so you must be really strong to have withstood those storms together.

We were married for 5 years before we started a family so we were a really close couple and we'd had years to focus on nothing but each other. Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and I thought I would die from the emotional pain. Then we had our son.

My husband has struggled a great deal from depression and anxiety and after becoming parents, the added pressure made it much worse.
(I have had my own growing pains, but they don't have a nicely packaged name)

This is not to say that our son is not our world (and our new daughter too) or that being parents is bad. Quite the opposite. We are so fulfilled and so blessed and we just love each other as a family so much it hurts. We laugh alot at our crazy kid and the things we hear ourselves saying to him (don't you make me come in there!!) and the things we hear him saying (mom, do elephants have wheels?) Parenthood is the greatest thing we have ever done individually or as a couple. We have grown so much we marvel at it. But growth is painful. We almost imploded, exploded, melted down, died, shriveled up. We continue to have to work really hard to keep it together on some days.

I will be honest, staying connected at the soul level has been difficult. During the hard times, we weren't connected. Now we are better at sensing and calling out when the connection seems strained so it doesn't get too far. We are kindred spirits and really do resonate with each other on the deepest level. But life does make it hard to keep that connection fired up. We both work and we have 2 kids now. Our son is a total handful. Economic times have made us financially uncomfortable for probably the first time in our marriage. There is a lot of pressure on our relationship.

We rely heavily on God to relieve that pressure for us. Sometimes we don't know what to do or how to fix it, just that something isn't right.
One thing that really helps us is just time alone doing nothing...just watching a lame movie or going for a walk or eating good food or remembering where we started. Cherishing our memories has been key. And we, too, try to say thank you alot. I write him notes telling him the things I appreciate or something I saw him and our son doing that really touched me, or something he did to really hold me up, or something along those lines. He does the same for me. We try to have lunch together once a week. We don't succeed all the time. =) We always say I love you, we try to never part angry or without saying something kind.
SO our garden grows by the grace of God, alot of hard work and perserverance on our part, some blistered weed pulling hands, and a true, deep, abiding love and appreciation for one another that grows more every year.

Kelly

What an incredible post, Nikole. I admit I am painfully jealous. I'm so happy for your family to have this type of love.

lydia

A couple of summers ago I had foot surgery, and the recovery was awful. For eight days, a desk chair was my only way to and from the bathroom, and the rest of the time I was bed ridden. I was miserable, and stuck on my side of the bed so that I could keep my foot propped and be sure it didn't get jostled, because any touch was excruciating. About four days in, I seriously thought I was about to lose it, and that night in bed, as I cried and cried some more, my husband crossed the midline of the bed and took me in his arms--it had gotten to the point that the pain wasn't going anywhere, and he knew I needed comfort. It wasn't until I snuggled up next to him that I realized we hadn't been able to do that for days, and I literally felt a wave of comfort wash over me. I knew that everything was going to be okay, and I even *felt* that for the first time since my surgery.

It was that moment that brought me to realize what connects my husband and I most, and it is touch. Before then, it was something unspoken, unrecognized, just a natural occurrence. But that settling of my soul taught me the power of his embrace, his presence... Each day, we cuddle, snuggle, love up on each other, whatever you want to call it. Even if we argue, we always end up next to each other, even if we aren't ready to talk it out--there is something about physically being next to him that calms us both and reminds us how much we love each other. I can only hope that when we bring another person into our little family that we are able to maintain that closeness.

Thanks for sharing, Nikole.

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