After several conversations with Kim over the past few weeks, I decided that I would complete Part Two of “I Grow Because You Make Me” as a guest blogger on My Mothers Footprints. I do not anticipate this to launch a new career for me, as I do not consider myself much of a writer, but I am sure after every one of my FB friends reads my guest post and clicks on the “Like” button I’ll be asked to be a guest blogger on many more sites. Let’s see what my heart tells the brain which tells my fingers to type as my first official blog post. – Tom Dear Kim,
First, I really enjoy watching you write, offering input from time to time and then reading the final rendition of your weekly blog. You have big visions of where you want to go with My Mothers Footprints. I admire your determination and persistence to posting every week, even if your progress is only taking baby steps right now. It is great to see you continue on each week as this has become therapeutic for you (and for our relationship as it has spurred many conversations on the patio at night after the kids are in bed).
Now as I dive into some deeper thoughts, I want to focus on our marriage as we are quickly approaching 20 years of saying “I Do!”
To me marriage is about looking inside your spouse to see beyond what most people do not see; it is to challenge the other, to love them through the ups and downs (or as you have often discussed – “unconditional love”) and to help encourage and bring the best out of them. With 5 kids, uncountable moves both in state and out of state, title changes at work, college, financial challenges….we have experienced a ton that has made the past 20 years fly by in a lot of respects. While we are both extremely busy, you have taught me to realize and appreciate what is really important in life. “I Grow Because You Make Me.”
Twenty+ years ago as a young couple we each took a leap of faith, committed “until death do us part” before family and friends and started on this journey. From those early days I enjoyed watching you take on new challenges and the phrase began in our relationship, “I Grow Because You Make Me.” I always get a kick out of hearing you say that, but I guess I never really stopped to think about how you have made me grow during our marriage.
In subtle ways you have worked more on developing my inner emotions/self while I have encouraged the physical challenges for you. You have encouraged me to express my feelings, let down my guard, be more open and I have to say I think by your persistence I am more tolerant, willing to communicate more freely, and we have developed into a stronger couple. "I Grow Because You Make Me."
While most of my reading has been industry related magazines, newspapers and an occasional book on “selling,” I never really spent much time reading for pleasure or on topics that would make me a better person. Through your passion to read on topics to improve yourself, cope with marriage and kid's challenges, and through your continual encouragement I have managed to take the time to read articles that you have sent me, left out on the counter with a note on it and even a few books over the past couple years which have helped make me realize the importance I can be in our kid’s lives. While I will never read to the level you do, "I Grow Because You Make Me."
When we started our engagement we were not very religious, and we even explored a non-denominational place to have our wedding ceremony. While we ended up marrying in the Catholic Church to appease our parents, it took a very long time to open our mind or hearts to God. As kids came into the picture and life threw some challenges at us, you started to take a greater interest in a spiritual side of life. With your encouragement, I have opened my mind again. I have to say this has been another area where I can say, “I Grow Because You Make Me!”
Part One of "I Grow Because You Make Me" started because I wanted to continue on the success I initiated to live a better life by starting a juice fast. Nothing but juice for the next 10 days. You decided to join in the fun, but for entirely different reasons. Day 1 for me was really not that difficult and I tried not to gloat too much about it as I saw you suffer for something to chew on. The fruit juice concoctions were pretty easy to make and drink, but vegetables needed to be a part of the daily consumption. I have to admit I never really found a vegetable recipe that tasted good but drank 2 - 3 glasses of whatever I made as quickly as possible with a smile on my face. With Day 1 I was down 3 lbs. Come Day 2 you threw in the towel and modified your "juice only" diet and added in vegetables/salads. I was determined to press forward as my reasons were much deeper than yours. Day 2 another 1.5 lbs. lost, total 4.5 lbs. Day 3 - 5 continued on similar to the first 2, but it was difficult at times as I was looking for something solid as well to just chew. Gum came in handy once in a while. Weighing in after Day 5 I was down a little more than 8 lbs. and decided the weight was coming off too quickly plus we were headed into the weekend. I added in some salads, fruits and nuts along with still juicing for a meal or snack. Through this experience together, I will have to call this one "We Grow Because We Make Each Other" we have started paying more attention to what we eat and more importantly to what our children are now eating. Our visits to the grocery store focus on the outer ring of the store where most of the fresh, non- processed foods are. I have to also compliment you on the success of your no wine, no Cheetos nightly insanity lasting 7 nights. While the Cheetos continue to be absent, your nightly wine ritual has been reestablished, although I think you realized no wine at night after the kids are in bed is not as big of an issue as you might have thought it to be.
I feel I could keep writing now that the juices are flowing (no I am not still drinking juice and too lazy to get up to use the bathroom) but I feel I need to wrap this up for now as I hate to wear out my welcome. Here is a song that has always made me stop and listen and as I listen I think of you.
I love you and I look forward to “I Grow Because You Make Me!” as we embark on our 20 Year renewal of vows.