And They Lived Happily Ever After….Right?
Everybody enjoys a good love story.
This is how it’s supposed to go: Dashing English Gentleman meets Sweet American Girl. Gentleman and Girl fall in love and get married.
And they lived happily ever after.
Ummm….no. Not really. Two strong minded, opinionated, passionate people rarely live in pastel-tinted bliss for 60 years. And anyway, it sounds kind of boring.
Here’s what really happened: The Sweet American Girl (Katie) was a Bad Ass single mom to an awesome 7year old named Ian. She was a take no prisoners high school teacher in Baltimore who did not take crap from anyone. She was NOT looking for a relationship ‘cause she had things to do and places to go and no time for that kind of trouble.
The Dashing English Gentleman (Lee) was hardly from a posh part of England – think grim industrial north rather than green and pleasant countryside – and few would use Lee and “dashing” in the same sentence. Funny, yes, kind, sure. A diamond in the rough – absolutely. He was also a footloose and itinerant camp worker who was all about travel, meeting people, and good times. He was NOT looking for a relationship ‘cause he had things to do and places to go and had no time for that kind of trouble.
They met the summer of 1998 at a summer camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Lee actually thought Kate came with her boyfriend when they first met.
Love at first sight it was not.
But summer can have a funny effect on even the most hardened of hearts. By the end of that first summer, Kate was bringing Lee home to meet the other man in her life – her German shepherd, Kodiak – and the rest, as they say is history.
Fast forward 15 years and life is not anything like we expected. Ian has grown up and left the nest, and we now have four more wonderful kids together – William, Nyree, Jonah and Jago. We’ve lost Kodiak but added a few more pets, moved to England, and learned to live with a little thing called autism.
It has been an amazing ride with some crazy adventures and a lot of good times. Like the time we drove cross-country and stayed in as many National Parks as we could. Or the time we wild camped on the banks of a Scottish Loch. Or the birth of each of our babies. Or when Ian grew up and took himself to China to see if he could do it – it was incredible to see our son take on an adventure like that at 19 years of age.
But it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses.
After years of struggling to make two careers and several kids work, we have now made our family our one and only priority.
How do we do this? We homeschool. We hang out. We travel. We raise our kids and never miss a minute of their amazing lives.
And work? Sure, we work – at building our on-line business and helping others do the same. We work from home, we work together, and we work to live life on our terms. Work comes second.
Family comes first. Every day.
Most people start out together hoping for Happily Ever After. Maybe in the beginning we thought that was possible. Maybe in the beginning we thought if we did things the way we were supposed to – get good jobs, a big house in the suburbs, a new car every few years – we would get our happily ever after.
In the Real World, however, happiness isn’t something you are given.
In the Real World, there is a difference between what you think will make you happy and what you really need.
For us, going through some wonderful ups and the difficult struggles of family life, we learned that what we need is to focus on our kids. We need to raise strong, confident, resilient children who grow into capable, thriving adults. We want to be there to guide them and share in their moments large and small. It is hard work, but hard work breeds success and our children are worth it. It’s what makes us happy.
No one can promise you happiness. But finding out what you need and then going for it?
Maybe that’s the key to finding Happily Ever After.
And hey, what’s not to love about that?
What is your Happily Ever After? Share your stories in the comment section below because everybody loves a good love story!
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