“It’s a marathon, not a sprint”, is my comment when asked how my day is going. This has become a theme running through my life lately. I’ve only been cleared to run for the past six weeks, so I’m not referring to my exercise routine. Let me explain what I mean. I have a new job, my dream job really, and developing a new program is both exciting and tedious. I can clearly envision the end goal, but it simply takes time and a lot of determination to develop ‘something new’.

My health needs have become a necessary and ongoing focus in my life. In my twenties I could care less about yearly check ups or the quality of the food I ate. Now that I have a family that depends on me daily for basic needs, love and support, I have to care about myself in ways I never imagine. After we committed our family to one month of ‘clean’ eating, I discovered that I am the person with the most food allergies. Go figure! I now research dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free organic recipes. I often cook two hours before going to work, after an hour at the gym. So I realize my health is not a short-term fix, it’s a long-term commitment.

Raising school-aged children has had its ups and downs. A phone call from school means a sick day, a disciplinary concern, or an award. When our kids are sick, it’s always a burden, even with the support of two loving grandparents. Inevitably, Sharlene takes the brunt knowing I have a job that’s new and less flexible at this time. Or, I receive the ‘update’ that our daughter has hit another bump and we’re trying a new social story. After three new social stories, and a couple of flying chairs, the parent-teacher meeting has been bumped up to a PPT. We’re only in first grade, what’s middle school going to be like?

This year is the twelve-year anniversary of our Commitment Ceremony and name change, our first ‘marriage’. Three years later we had our Civil Union and three years after that, Marriage. Our relationship has never been easy, but it’s always been good because we committed to the ups and downs together. Through family difficulties, financial hurdles, health crises, and sleepless nights, we’ve always put one foot in front of the other and continued to move at our own pace. I realize that it’s always important to have great company along the way and I have the best company of all.

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