Put Yourselves First

I have been thinking about this story for awhile, trying to remember when I heard it for the first time. Romantically I think maybe it was before I got married and I am sure it was repeated then but really it was much sooner than that. It is one of those family stories that I know was told throughout my life and it became part of my consciousness.

This is advice my mom passed to me but it was advice a priest gave them before their own marriage.

“Put yourselves first.”

“Put yourselves first. You will have jobs, and kids, and money problems. You will have all kinds of things happen that you can’t predict or even imagine but if you two have a strong foundation then your family will be strong and you all will be OK.”

My parents had a beautiful relationship. Just like everyone, it wasn’t perfect but they truly loved each other. I think they took that priest’s words to heart and did make themselves our foundation. Our family was built on them and even when there were struggles, and there were many, they were a team and we managed.

My Dad has been dead for 21 years and I truly believe in many ways my mother misses him about the same today as the day he passed. They were made for each other.

Alex and I didn’t always act on this advice during all the years of our marriage but we really try to now.

When we wrote out our commitment to each other at the start of this Dd journey that was the first thing we wrote, that we were rededicating ourselves to put ourselves first before all else. Before jobs, schedules, other family members, and even our kids. That does not at all mean that we are neglecting any of those things and that they don’t sometimes take precedence in time and effort but what we are committed to is making sure that in the midst of what ever distractions we are faced with that we remain in touch and connected. That we touch base with the other to make sure we are OK and that we acknowledge each other.

It is a real shift in how we interact and takes time and effort. Anything worth doing takes effort though and the benefits for our whole family are so worth it.

Kids come into our lives and take so much of our energy that it often seems that we have no time to spare for our spouses. Before I ever had children I was drawn to the quote that says that we should give our children two things. One is roots and the other is wings.


My parents gave me that gift. I hope when my kids are my age they feel the same.

In order for the roots to be strong though we have to be strong and so we have returned to the advice of my mother and the priest who she got it from. We are stronger now than we ever have been. We see each other. We pay attention. We make sure our foundation is strong because that is the greatest gift we can give our kids.

Worry Wart

Earlier this week Susie used the same title for a post about weather and traveling and worry for her MM on snowy roads. Sorry for the highjack Susie.


Well the last 24 hours have given that new meaning for me as I sat home powerless to help Alex and our oldest on a journey south through snow covered mountains. They were never in an accident themselves but the interstate they are driving has been closed for about 12 hours.

Unfortunately they got stuck in the middle of all of it and ended up sleeping (or not) in their car all night.

The road FINALLY just reopened and they are starting to drive again. Keep in mind they are still two states away and still have several hours of driving even if there are no further delays. Both their voices sound so tired.

My girl flies back to her school tomorrow so this was supposed to be a relaxing day to get her packed and ready for the next semester. Lack of sleep, the cold, and just the general stress of leaving and the new semester have her completely freaked out and pretty much an emotional puddle. I’m not sure Alex is much better at least on the inside.

I think worry wart pretty well sums up how I feel right now. My logical brain knows that it will be all right in the end and that after a few more tough hours their ordeal will be over. But my mom brain and my wife brain are working overtime right now with worry. It will be a long day until they are both home safe again.

Top Spot

As we have gotten into this dynamic we have seen changes big and small. Our kids notice. Some they like and apparently some they don’t.

Certain patterns and rituals develop that are known and comfortable. Where we sit at the table is one of those things. We each have a spot.


As parents we each sit at an end of the table with the kids along the sides in their chosen seats. He essentially sits at the head and I at the foot of the table but as kids moved out to school I stayed in my spot and he moved up closer to our daughter. This then put me at the head of the table.

It stayed like this even after there were only three of us at the table most times but in the fall I started to feel weird about that so I moved over. I started sitting on the side and Alex sat at the head. It felt right to me and it felt right to him.

What’s funny is it did not feel right to our daughter.

It kind of freaked her out. She very begrudgingly has accepted it but only just.

Last night we had dinner with our oldest. Just us three and I sat in my new “spot.” Much to my amusement she didn’t like it either. Apparently dad should not sit in my spot and it somehow rocks their world when we mix it up.

I don’t care. I like my guy at the head of the table and the head of the house.

It is a sign of respect that he sit at the head of the table. He didn’t ask me to move. I did it for him and now it is our new natural. The kids will catch up.