Where do I begin?

It’s been almost two years since I left my exhusband. Dating hadn’t really crossed my mind, not anything serious anyway. I had gotten used to doing basically everything on my own. I didn’t have anyone I had to share the covers with, no one to argue with about what got done in the house while I was home and two of the three kids were in school, and only three tiny people to worry about feeding.

Some time after I had been on my own with the kids, I remember saying something on Facebook about how difficult it is being a single parent. I had an aweful day. Nothing was going right and I was exhausted in every sense of the word. My children’s father never used his visitation when we were in Washington, so there I was living almost as far as geographically possible from my family without leaving the continental United States with three children, running a full time birth photography business, and in school full time working on completing my undergraduate degree (which, as of right now, I have only 8 weeks left of!). One of my girl friends commented on that post acknowledging my feelings, briefly told me her story, and said something along the lines of me finding my person and when I do it will be the best thing I never expected.

And she was right. She was so right.

I had been friends/acquaintances with my best friend’s husband’s nephew, Nate, on Facebook for a bit. I had asked him to call me one night because I had some general questions about a situation involving one of my sisters. I remember talking with him and how he completely put my mind in a place where I could actually process the information and not completely lose my mind. Over the following weeks, we started to develop a deeper friendship. It felt so good having someone that I could call and talk to without being judged and could be completely open with. Not that my close girl friends don’t give me that, but our friendship just felt different.

It wasn’t long before our friendship developed into a relationship… We would Skype daily, and he was usually calling as soon as he walked in the door from work. We would talk about anything and everything… and when it was time for bed, we would keep Skype on.

Orlando Family Photographer

We planned for him to come to Washington to visit me and the kids for five days after Christmas. I remember when we bought his ticket I just started dancing and he had himself a good laugh.

That’s when the count down began.

60 something days until I saw him between that day and the day he flew into Seattle, I think it was. He said something about how counting like that would make the time go by slower… but I didn’t care. I couldn’t wait to see him standing in front of me in the airport.

The plan changed about two weeks before he was to arrive in Seattle. Instead of him coming to visit for 5 days, he ended up flying to Seattle to help me pack my home, my kids, and my animals to bring us home to Florida. The look on his face when I told him that the kids and I were moving back home was something I’ll never forget. His whole face just lit up.

When I picked him up from the airport, and saw him for the first time, I thought, “There he is…” I barely gave him a couple seconds before I was kissing his face. Once my hand slid into his, I knew that was the hand I never wanted to let go of. I never believed in the whole “finding your other half” stuff until I met him. I just felt like I had found the last missing piece of myself.

I was nervous for him to meet my kids. He and Delilah developed a relationship via Skype during the months we were apart, so I wasn’t too worried about her. She’s always so friendly and happy, I knew they would hit it off. Gracelynn is a little harder to get to know. I was worried that she wouldn’t like Nate or that she wouldn’t even give him the time of day. I was interested in hearing how Noah felt about him, but I knew he and Nate would be ok.

One of my favorite friends took the kids the day Nate came in so we could have a night to ourselves. When we picked the kids up the next day after getting the u-haul, they all acted like they had been friends forever. That alone put a lot of my fears to rest.

Before we left Washington, Sandi Harkness did a quick family session for us. Nate doesn’t like having his picture taken, but he went along with it because he knows how important pictures are to me. When I look at these images of us… my love, and my little loves… they make me feel so happy.

Happy that my children love him as much as they do.

Happy that he loves them like they’re his own and has been around every single day of their lives.

Happy that I have found someone who makes me feel whole, makes me laugh from deep down in my belly, like I can do anything I put my mind to and work hard for, and that loves me for me… even with my sometimes unreasonable attitude.

We aren’t the perfect pair, but I’d rather have a thousand difficult days with him than perfect days with someone else. I see (and feel) how much he loves us every day. From washing the dishes from the day (even though he was at work) to making sure I get the oil changed in my car on time to checking the tire pressure to folding the laundry to taking care of my kids when I couldn’t… he has shown me what is to be loved by a man. These things may seem small and insignificant to many women, but they are a big deal to me because I’ve never had that. I’ve never had someone who goes out of his way to make sure that I’m taken care of.

I’ve found my home. And he just feels so good.

 

 

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When I think of ‘motherhood,’ I don’t necessarily think about all the good, happy moments. I often think about the daunting pieces of motherhood.

The dishes and laundry that pile up, that I can’t seem to get a handle on… Waking up at the crack of dawn to get the kids ready for school… The end of the day routine that seems to make the evenings fly by in the blink of an eye, and the many nights of little sleep… 

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Up next in our blog circle is Melissa Rowley. I hope you’ll follow on to her post and through the circle. 🙂

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I never used to enjoy running. In fact, I loathed it. I played soccer in high school for a season, and conditioning was not my favorite. At all. I joined the Army when I was 21, and you know what we did a lot of in basic training and after I got to my unit? We ran. A lot. At least 5 days a week, and many days we ran twice a day.

Here I am, trying to learn to run again. Why? Because even though I never enjoyed it then, I always felt better afterwards. Especially on the days I could keep up with everyone else. (Did I mention I also was an awful runner?!)

I’m also in a very different place (in many ways) than when I was in my early twenties. My priorities are different… I want to develop a healthy relationship with running. I want to know what it feels like to actually enjoy running… while I’m running.

Seattle Documentary Family Photography

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