• LJK

Marathon without a Finish Line

I was so excited to publish my first post about the proposal a few weeks ago and am very grateful I did. As I'm discovering, things move really quickly and there are lots of moments to catch up on and write about and I intend to do exactly that. I clearly need to be better when it comes to the frequency of these posts and I'm doing my best to make them happen much more often. Thank you to all of you who've subscribed and who are following along with this blog and/or with the YouTube channel. I've certainly considered myself a content creator for quite some time now, but it's never been in blog or vlog form, so this is all-new to me and I'm trying to get up to speed as quickly as I can.

I honestly am finding that it's difficult to keep track of everything that's happening and it's tempting to only want to post about the high, positive, exciting moments and to steer clear of the moments that don't feel any of those things. It feels more of a risk to expose the moments that don't feel so great. In reality, there are lots of those moments, too. Mostly, I'm trying to find my voice as a stepdad and as an expat. It feels important to me to express from this place and there doesn't seem to be enough literature or perspective on what this is like. This blog and the YouTube channel are quickly becoming my attempts to add to the knowledge base for others in a similar situation.

One of the best moments this week: the kids typically come downstairs for breakfast and take their seats at the table. On this particular day, Magnus was way ahead of his sister in getting dressed for school and came downstairs to start eating. Magnus made his way to his chair and sat with his back to me as he began eating a slice of bread. I figured he was still trying to wake up and went about my business making their lunches for the day, when Magnus suddenly said, "I love you, Lee." While Reina is quite vocal about expressing her love and feelings, this is very rare for Magnus. After a few moments of stunned silence, I recall answering with a feeble, "What?" He continued, "For everything you do for Reina and me. I love you for that." I feel like I don't even have the words to express what I was feeling at that moment and it felt like such a validation of all our efforts to make the house a loving, relaxing, comfortable home for the children.

This moment came on the heels of what I'd consider one of my most difficult moments of the week: the kids returned here after school Monday as usual, after spending the weekend with their father. They're with their dad every other weekend. We'd all sat down for dinner when, ten minutes into the meal, their father drove up to the house to drop off their athletic bags and pick up a shelving unit that had been in the garage. Sofie got up from the table to take care of the logistics and was soon followed by Reina and then, moments later, by Magnus. Yes, the children should have remained at the table, but it was clear they wanted to see their father and I certainly didn't want to get in the way of that. The upshot is that I was left sitting alone eating dinner while the four of them were talking and making noise outside. It felt lonely. I felt lonely. I honestly didn't know what to do and it served as a very stark reminder of the dynamics of this situation. It's uncomfortable and sometimes it really sucks. Moments later, everyone had returned to the dinner table, but it honestly took me some time to work through those feelings.

Honestly feels like I'm still in the midst of processing a lot of these moments even as we continue running the race.

Would love to write more just now but am hopping on the bike and heading out to go to Reina's field hockey practice where I'm one of the "parent trainers." Even got my very own hockey stick and will be putting it to use for the first time today. More soon, I promise.

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