Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gifts that were Plan B

149. My Plan A was that I didn't care if we had kids or not. Plan A.2 was to have a child after about 5 years of marriage. Due to life circumstance and varied opinion between us, we did not have our son until 12 years after we were married. That means we were older than most parents of his classmates. However, he is the best gift of any we have ever received, and he continues to be so, every day of his life. 150. The parents of his two best friends are now good friends of ours. 151. Those 12 years gave us time to travel and work hard to establish our home before a child came into the picture.

152. My Plan A(again) was to have a second child. When our son was four, my husband gently but firmly confirmed he was unwilling to add to our family. The gift of one child is that we are able to provide more options and opportunity for him, and to give him more time and financial resources than if he had a sibling. Yes, I know there are pros and cons to that, but this blog is only about naming the gifts at this point. 153. The gift for me, which I did not appreciate at the time, is that I wasn't giving birth to a second child at age 40. It was extremely challenging the first time, with medical issues for both mother and child. 154. At 54, I would have a very hard time parenting a 14 year old. Empty nest is a gift, but I'd surrender it in a split second if our son decided to move back home after university. At least for a couple of years. :-)

155. Our current house was Plan B. When we moved back to Calgary from Rainbow Lake (where the road ends, literally) in 2001, we purchased a home that was so lovely, I said "I never want to move again, I love it so much I could live here till I die." However, in January 2008, at my husband's urging, we sold that home and took possession of our current home in a different community. I agreed but I was not thrilled. However, it soon became apparent that this choice was a blessing. Plan B meant I was only 6 minutes from work. Plan B meant we no longer had the back windows of 11 houses within eyesight of our back deck. The Plan B house was private and well treed. The Plan B house had a basement our son loves, air conditioning and an unobstructed, panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains - a gift that just keeps on giving.

Funny, isn't it, how time gives a perspective that showed those things I count very negative at the time often end up bringing positive results? It is so important NOT to discount these gifts, ignore them, or dismissively say they have no value in light of the immediate pain and conflict we experienced. Is it possible that I should be more open to my husband's viewpoints when he determines that something is in the best interests of our family? (That is a rhetorical question). There was only conflict because I opposed him so strongly. Both of us can be pig-headed. Resistance begets more resistance. How much pain we could have avoided, had we learned earlier to listen more carefully, discuss less emotionally, and consider the other's preferences and desires more openly. After all, the best gifts in life are the relationships we have. Guard those with all your heart.

The most important marriage skill is listening to your partner in a way that they can’t possibly doubt that you love (and respect) them. ~Diane Sollee, 

Question: Do you think your Plan A is the only way? How do you remain a loving listener when you are hearing a plan completely different from your own?

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