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trip_to_australiaA challenge we face as parents is our inability to prioritize our time with our spouse and children.  Mothers are lions and the children are our cubs. It is the one place in life that comes natural, where we fit. Instinctively, we yearn to be with these miniature clones, to make sure they are cared for. It is there we feel needed.

One of my girlfriends shared her marriage philosophy over a cup of coffee. Her words of wisdom to me were “you need to look your best and take care of your husband first, before anyone else.  If you don’t have a good marriage, you don’t have a good family.”

She went on to say,  “every Sunday night I ask my husband what his needs are for the week and vice versa before we deal with the kid’s needs. I not only prioritize our time together, I prioritize his needs as well. As a result, we have a great marriage and a close family.”

Believing this to be true, I live by those words. Last weekend, those words rang in my ears when my husband invited me to join him in Australia. My first thought was how exciting it would be.

“Australia???” I repeated.  “Wow! I can bring my new cowboy hat. Wait a minute, what season are they in?”

“Um, I think winter,” my husband replied. “That’s not so bad. Their winters are mild.”

The visions of me shoveling 8 feet of snow over the winter went through my head followed by the 85-degree weather we were experiencing and the crystal blue color that our pool had taken on. On the other hand, John would be traveling to 4 countries in 7 seven days. The trip would entail two weeks alone on the road, and I couldn’t see him spending the holiday by himself.

The trip would be fun but would also come at a cost. Every year on Memorial Day weekend we have the same routine, parades, parties, opening the pool, and being together with our family friends to barbeque and to celebrate. Either way, this year would be different.

“Mom” my daughter said in an angry tone “Dad took this job, not you. I can’t believe you are leaving us on a holiday weekend.”

“No” I replied. “Dad didn’t take this job. We took the job.”

Life is about choices. Some are easy. Others are hard. Each one determines the path our lives will take. Last weekend, my choice was to go to Australia, where I would take my cowboy hat and spend quality time with the man of my dreams.  Would I think about home and about my children? You bet I would. The reality was that one day my cubs would leave to start their own families. My marriage? That was forever.


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