Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beach Bum Birthday

Our family loves the beach. In fact, John and I got married on the beach.

Our Wedding Day

Maybe that's what started our tradition, and now every year we go to the beach on the kids' birthdays. We eat dinner wherever they choose, and then we head out to the beach to watch the sunset and let the kids throw themselves into the water with their clothes on. This has been going on since Ava's very first birthday, so I really should have started bringing their suits, but by now jumping into the ocean in their clothes is part of the tradition, too.



August 24th is a also special day to us in many ways. It's Ava's birthday, first of all. But it's also the day we found out we were expecting Eli. I told John the news on the way out to the beach for the sunset that year. Additionally, August 24th was Seth's due date. So it's a very reminiscent day for me.





As if that wasn't enough, the restaurant Ava chose for our dinner last night just happened to be the place John and I had our first official date at back in college. That night, I told my mom that he was the nicest guy I had ever known. When we got married, we couldn't afford a wedding band for my engagement ring, and on our first anniversary, it was at this same restaurant that John had the manager bring out my completed wedding set along with our dessert.


So with that trifecta, it was an emotional night for me last night. We had fun, as we almost always do when we're all together, and found that when we're together it's easy to slip into the pattern of finishing one another's sentences or ordering for each other in a restaurant.When things are calm and fun and easy between us, it is easy to forget everything that has happened, that there is a huge storm brewing just under the surface, and that at the end of the night John is not coming home with us.




Ava had a great birthday though, or in her words, The best birthday EVER! She is already busily planning birthday #6. Jace and Ava splashed and played and dove and got salty and sandy. Seth mostly observed, but liked getting down and hanging out on the beach a little bit. They made sand angels and jumped over waves and built sand castles. We stayed until it was pitch dark, until we were some of the only people left on the water, and we still had to drag the kids away.



It was so bittersweet to sit there in the sand, looking at the kids and John, so easy to what if and bargain and convince myself that possibly, this could be a nightmare I can still wake up from. Of course, John and I ended up getting into a discussion on the way home, and we are still on such different pages it is almost unbelievable. Sometimes when we're talking, it's easier to stop saying anything at all than listen to him not hearing me. The thing is, I still see glimpses of the person he could be, that he was to all of us.


I just want to tell him that this is all fixable, that he doesn't have to throw our marriage away, that it's normal to forget to feel in love sometimes, especially when you've been through what we have. That not feeling "in love" doesn't mean that there's nothing there to save, that the break down leading to feeling like you've fallen out of love can be built back up, and that when it is, many times you find those feelings of being in love again, and it is better and stronger.


Either God is giving me this perseverance and conviction for my marriage because he knows it is His Plan that we come through this, or I am a glutton for punishment. Sometimes, I'm not sure which it is. I just know that no matter what, even though the battle feels lost, even though everyone else has gone home, I can't bring myself to stop fighting for my marriage and my family.


So, we march on, or trudge on, or hop along, making do the best we can. Yesterday was a victory. Our daughter had a good birthday, even though her whole world has been mixed up lately. She was able to spend time with her parents together, to be a family. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it for them.

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