Thursday, January 10, 2013


As I've fallen quite behind on posting a few things that I want to post, I thought I'd tackle them one at a time.  I couldn't let Jim and my trip to Newport that we enjoyed about a month ago now pass without mentioning it.  As I've said before, Jim and I have decided that once a year, no matter how we do it, we need to spend some time away together--without children.  When Lilly turned one, we went off to Italy for a week.  The next year, it was to London.  And this year, it was a quick little trip to Newport, RI.  While a beach in Mexico or a trip to Paris would have been a bit more exotic, I came back from our trip to Newport with the realization that it doesn't matter where we go.  It's amazing to get away, stroll around a new place together, holding hands (because there's no stroller to push or little ones running ahead wanting to play games) and talking.  We explored some of the Newport mansions and enjoyed the cliff walk along the waterfront.  We walked around the entire town for as many hours as we wanted.  We were out enjoying dinner at 9pm, sitting there laughing and chatting with no end in sight.  We had no bedtimes to get home for; no children needing to be fed.  It was just us, and it was wonderful.

The Breakers--The Vanderbilt Estate in Newport.  A really amazing place to visit!

The fireplace in our room.  Heaven.
Growing up in the Stephens family, we had many discussions (at the time, we may have called them lectures) at the dinner table.  As we've all grown up, whenever we get together, we sit around the table chatting for hours.  Sometimes it's over endless cups of coffee in the morning.  Other times, it's with never ending bottles of wine at dinner.  I find myself thinking of these discussions often.  So much of who I am and what I believe in today arose from dinner table conversations.  Over the past few years, relationships, in particular, have played an important role in our discussions.

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to get caught up in chaos (even if it organized chaos). Between taking care of two children and being pregnant with a third, in addition to trying to take care of myself, it's easy to push my relationship with Jim off to the side.  It's easy to take each other for granted as we know what roles we play as parents.  Mum and Dad have always stressed the importance of our relationship.  After all, it all started with Jim and me 13 years ago in college.  And in another 15 years, we'll have kids heading off to college and sometime after that, it will be Jim and me, alone again.  While I can't deny that our children are important and we love them unconditionally, I remind myself often that Jim and my relationship has to come first.  I don't want to look at Jim in 15 years and wonder who this person is that I married back in 2007.  Hence our little trips away.  They're special and give us time to be us.  I'm surrounded by relationships--some that I admire, but many that I do not.  I see many couples who barely acknowledge each other when they're together.  Unless you knew them, you wouldn't even know they were married.  I'm by no means an expert and I don't pretend to know what works for other people, but I know that relationships take work, and unless you keep working at them, it's easy for them to fizzle out and die.  Before you know it, the love that was there when you got married however many years ago is gone.  In its place are houses and children and jobs and money.  It's easy to push love aside, and much harder to work to make sure that it's always there.  When I'm 80 years old, I want to be able to look back on my relationship with Jim with a smile on my face, and know that I love him more in 2061 than I did when we were 19 and fell in love.

I write these things down because I want to pass them onto our children.  I want them to know what's really important in life.  This is something that I believe in strongly, and something that I believe many people take for granted.  I know we'll have lots of discussions with Lilly, Jack and little Clark #3 down the road (and I'm glad we've got many years before the real relationship discussions start happening) but for now, I get to write it down so I know it's there.  It's what is truly important.    

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