Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Matters Most: Part Three

After I did the Ride to Remember in September, I started 100 Days of Gratitude which has helped me reflect on what matters most.  So, in honor of Thanksgiving, I am doing a series of posts on "what matters most."  I wish I could say the posts will be on a specific day of the week, but I'm not accountable when it comes to deadlines.  This is the third post.  
Read Part One here:  What Matters Most
Read Part Two here:  What Matters Most:  Part Two

Above all, my family and friends matter most.  This post is dedicated to the love of my life.

God Gave Me You by Dave Barnes
You stay here right beside me, watch as the storm goes through, and I need you.
God gave me you for the ups and downs.  God gave me you for the days of doubt.  
On my own I'm only half of what I could be.  I can't do without you.

Brian did the Ride to Remember with me this year.  I was so happy to accomplish this goal with him by my side.  
When I married Brian, nearly 25 years ago, I had no idea what was in store for us.  I was blissfully in love with him.  He is a police officer and had been on the job for a few years already, so I thought I knew what to expect.  When we had the boys, Brian took care of them during the school day while I was at work.  He went into work as soon as I got home.  So, I spent night after night caring for the boys alone.  We only saw each other on the weekends and his nights off.  It made for a very lonely existence for me.

Brian is a wonderful husband and an amazing father.  He loves me and our children more than anything.  I know this is true.  But there was a time when I wanted to throw it away.  I was tired of never being able to make ends meet and the constant loneliness that plagued my existence. We needed to work on our relationship, to remember why we love each other, why we got married in the first place, why we wanted to stay married and raise our family together.  It was several tough years for us.
Brian is my biggest fan, my biggest cheerleader, the love of my life.
Our wedding song was That's What Love Is All About by Michael Bolton.
The lyrics are so true - "As time goes by, we've learned to rediscover, the reason why this dream of ours survives.  Through thick and thin, we're destined for each other."
There came a time when I realized I did not have to be married to Brian, that it was a choice.  I could choose to stay married or not.  I could choose to love him or not.  I could choose to let go or hold on.  If I wanted the marriage to work, I had to repeatedly remind myself about the good qualities in Brian, and remember what made me fall in love with him in the first place.  It took time and hard work for both of us to renew the love we had for each other.

Today, I can honestly say, I can't imagine life without Brian.  He truly is the love of my life.

Photo by K&MPhotography
There are a handful of people who have stood by my side during my fitness journey.  I wrote about them here:  Don't Go It Alone and Shake It Off and Dmitriy Made It Happen.  If I were to describe how Brian has supported my journey... he has bought me things I needed along the way (new earbuds, a gym bag, a lock for my gym locker, a Nutri Ninja blender); yelled at me when I was overdoing it; given me practical advice on riding; and tolerated and supported a lot of my moodiness.  The list could really go on and on.  What I appreciate most, is that he stood by my side even when I was fat and unhealthy.  His love for me does not depend on whether or not I am thin or fat or healthy or whether I wear a size 18 or a size 4.  Obviously, I would be naive to think that he didn't care that I was overweight and unhealthy.  But he loved me anyway.

Family vacation:  Oasis of the Seas, 2012
Now that my focus is on living a healthy lifestyle, everyone benefits.  Our overall family nutrition is better, except I eat a whole lot more chicken and vegetables than the rest of the family.  We do things together as a family that are active:  cycling, rafting, racing and hiking.  In What Matters Most: Part Two, I said that my children are my heart.  Brian is the thread that binds us together.  He is our protector, our provider, our caretaker.

One of our family vacations.  Disney, 2011 
Questions for you: (Answer in the comment section below.)
What are you grateful for?  

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