Monday, September 10, 2012

I Didn't Sign Up For This Family...Or Did I?

I'm officially devastated! Olivia Newton-John played a concert 15 minutes from my house Saturday Night, and I was not there! I could kick myself right now. Saturday was an awful family day. The Jensen team was completely out of sync. It was one of those crap days that could have been easily saved by the sight of Olivia in person.

It started with an AYSO soccer game. Dave and I are not meant to attend soccer games together. Alone, we do fine, but when we go together it's just not enjoyable. I sometimes feel that Dave is expecting a group of six year old girls to play at a college level intensity. He has an athletic drive and I guess he can't understand why anyone (six years old or not) would stare off into space or pick dandelions while they are in the midst of a soccer game. So what happens is this, he gets sort of quietly annoyed and I feed off of that and then I'm annoyed with him and we all go home wondering why we signed up in the first place.

This all feels so strange because the games take place at this huge park that he and I lived next to in the early years of our relationship. We loved this park. We played tennis there, hiked the trail surrounding it, played golf at the course behind it and even had our engagement pictures taken there. This should be a happy environment for us, but now it's just the crappy Saturday morning soccer park. It's crazy how much has changed in the last twelve years.

All of this got me thinking about the huge gamble you take when you get married. You sign up for something (much like soccer) and you think you know what it's going to be like, but you have no idea. It doesn't matter how long you date, there is just no way of knowing what your "perfect" relationship will morph into once you add years, stress, finances and kids to the mix. Kids especially, because they completely shift the focus of the relationship in ways you can't prepare yourself for.

I got married sort young, but I wasn't especially naive. There was no question that I wanted to marry Dave and continue on in our perfect little dating bubble. And the early years of our marriage were exactly that. It continued to be great and we proved to be very compatible with one another and then one day we had a baby. Over the next few years I started to understand how stressful just one baby could be on a relationship, but we were handling it okay, so we had another. It isn't easy at all, but we can do this together. We aren't nearly as compatible as parents as we were just as a couple, but we continue riding the family life roller coaster anyway. Saturday, the coaster was very much at the bottom of a hill...Sunday, it started climbing back up the hill and it felt a million times better.

It's not easy running a family and I get get pretty irritated when I see people make it look like it is.  I call bullshit on that scene. It's adorable for your blogs and your Facebook status, but I can't be fooled on that stuff at all. Everyone should take comfort in the fact that,behind all those enormous baby girl headbands and those family photos on the train tracks (hello dangerous), the struggle to balance it all is universal. Most don't feel comfortable enough to share it, but we all feel "driven to drink" so to speak on a regular basis. The grass isn't greener on the other side, not even at the AYSO soccer park. But I bet it appeared greener at the amphitheater where Olivia Newton-John was singing!

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