My everyday life probably doesn’t look like yours, and that’s okay!
At different stages in my life, I’ve had different perceptions of what the perfect life would be. It’s evolved over the years as the dream of discovering I’m royalty fell by the wayside and the dream of four stair-step babies didn’t come to fruition either. I will tell you one thing though, I finally stopped and realized that I am living the dream. I’m living the dream and the life I was meant to live.
There were some pretty bleak statistics out there for finding “the one” as I was nearing the milestone of 40, but a picture on a refrigerator and a college roommate visiting from out of town sealed my fate (a whole different story for a different time). Long-distance dating wasn’t easy, but we sure made it work. The lack of face-to-face time meant that talking about anything and everything via phone was our go-to get-to-know-you method. Actual Facetime wasn’t an option back in our Blackberry days of 2010, so we just talked and talked.
Man, did we talk about everything. We also visited as often as possible when our schedules would allow. I was balancing 100+ kids as a middle school teacher, and he was balancing a blossoming career and 2 amazing boys from a previous marriage. Against all the odds, it worked, and I walked down a sandy aisle on a beach in St. Thomas to three gorgeous guys (ages 38, 10, and 9) that joined me on the journey of the life I was meant to live.
Eight years, three states, three houses, a fourth gorgeous guy, and lots of miles later, we’re still going strong. It hasn’t been perfect or easy, but it’s been the best we can make it be for all of us. Blended families and careers can take a lot of compromise and sacrifice from everyone involved. You have to look at life through the big picture lens and understand that the easiest route isn’t always the best one. The perfect Facebook life doesn’t always play out in real time, and that’s perfectly fine.
Do I experience mama guilt for the hours my preschooler spends in transit? You bet. Would I feel even guiltier if he didn’t have the opportunity to build the amazing bond he has with his two older brothers? Absolutely, yes, yes, yes. Our decisions as a family to make career choices that require moves are all discussed and viewed through that big picture lens. It’s about building the best future we can for all three of our kids. While we miss some games during the week and don’t have the face-to-face time as often, we do have Facetime and other communications and check-ins to fill in the gaps. As a blended family, this is how a lot of everyday life would be even if our zip codes didn’t differ during the week.
So, no, I’m not living the dream I had back in my 20s or even my 30s, but I’m living the life I was meant to live with a man I can talk to about anything who shares the dream of being the best we can be for our family. That dream looks like hard work and crazy schedules and two houses and finding that perfect balance for us that in reality may not look perfect to anyone else but us, and that’s okay. Blended families and dreams are about finding balance, and that balance may require a lot of readjustments along the way, but as I’m living my dream, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
A special thank you to today’s guest blogger:: Lani Aquino
Lani is relatively new to Cincinnati, and after living in Columbus for nearly three decades, she’s glad to be back in the Buckeye State! Keeping all the wheels turning with her family of five serves as her full-time job, but she stays active with her teaching background by working with several education companies. When she’s not stealing some time at the keyboard, she enjoys exploring all Cincinnati has to offer through the eyes of her four-year-old. Cooking, traveling, sideline cheering, and binge-watching a good drama series round out her favorites, but some of those happen much more often than others!