Jackie’s Thursday Challenge this week has inspired me. I’ve had a small case of writers block this week. Everyone else seems to be posting such fabulous, relevant material and I just haven’t had much to say! For example, if you aren’t already checking out Megan’s daily posts for NaBloPoMo, you should do so! Her readers have asked her some deep, thought-provoking questions and her answers have been a treat to read.

Anyway, Jackie is challenging us to do something thoughtful and unexpected for our partners this week, and I’m thinking that Dale could definitely use a little extra kindness from me these days. What is it about sleep deprivation that makes generally happy, nice people do decidedly unhappy, not-very-nice things? And the worst part is that compared to many, many new parents we are hardly sleep deprived at all!

One of the things that I worried about most before we decided to try to get pregnant was how having a baby would effect my relationship with Dale. Obviously kids change things in a marriage and I wasn’t really sure I wanted anything to change. I mean, Dale and I have been together since we were 16 and things were going pretty darn well, why mess with it? But the lure of parenthood won out and now we have Nate, which we are thrilled about! And for the most part the change in our relationship has been good. Great even. It’s fabulous to watch Dale interact with our son. There is nothing sweeter than seeing the man you love cradling your baby in his arms, or singing him silly songs, or listening to him read books. I love it.

But….of course there is a “but”. I miss the endless hours we had to spend together and our relatively worry-free, stress-free life. Of course it didn’t seem stress-free at the time, but I realize now that we had it pretty easy. I find myself snapping at Dale for no good reason sometimes, or just being generally “touchy” about silly little things. And there really is not good reason. I am extremely lucky. Dale and I share the workload around the house, he has no problem taking care of Nate on his own so that I can go scrapbooking or for a run. On the other hand I have started cooking more since I’m at home during the day (and for those of you who don’t know me – me cooking is HUGE deal). But still, there is the reality that our relationship isn’t the same.

In 12 years, Dale and I have certainly weathered our fair share of changes. We made a huge adjustment from being a highschool couple, to being a college-age couple and then adjusted once again to married life and a move to the opposite end of the country. We have been separated for military reasons more times than I care to count, including a six-month deployment. Each time I think we came out the other side stronger and closer than ever. Yet none of those changes quite compare in my mind to the life changes we have faced over the past two months.

img_4480.jpgSo I find myself wondering where things go from here. I imagine we will just slowly adjust to our new family dynamics and eventually wonder that they were ever different. And I truly hope that as Nate grows older, our marriage will grown stronger. And it’s with that hope in mind that I approach Jackie’s challenge this week. I think right now it is more important than ever for me to do that extra little “something” to show Dale that I appreciate him as a person and as a husband – not just as a Dad (although the Dad part is rather amazing, too!).

I’d love to hear what some other peoples experiences have been in adjusting to life with kids – or any other life changing event for that matter. I also meant to post this pic of latest family walk yesterday for Wordless Wednesday; I think it’s quite appropriate for the topic of today’s discussion! And yes, that big blob of blue blanket strapped to Dale’s chest is Nate. It was rather chilly so we had him bundled up nice and warm in the Kelty Kangeroo (Thanks Kelly!) Finally, I hope that you too will take Jackie’s challenge.