Our family is the definition of the word “OUTLIER,” yes including the rock formation. If we went by statistics and "proven methods of success," our family should not work. I mean nothing about it should work. According to the numbers, we should be living in poverty, and burdens on society. This has been claimed in every health class, psych class, or any class I have taken regarding human behavior. Yes, I am well aware of the benefits of following the correct path, such as higher education, favorable income, better health, and longer life expectancy. We did everything backwards or in some people's view "wrong." We come from two different socioeconomic backgrounds. Neither Trey nor I went to college right after high school. We decided to buy a house first and co habit for a few years. We had our first child before we were married. After figuring out the whole parenting thing, we got married two years later. We chose to have our second child while dealing with a potentially terminal illness. We also have a non-traditional income structure; mom is the money maker while dad is “Mom.” Dad is also a current grad student. So to say the least, we did not follow the steps for "normalcy," but we work.
Trey and I moved in together after only being together for a few weeks. On top of living together, we worked together. Our only time apart was when we had different shifts. I don’t know many couples that can do this, but I loved it. I loved seeing him all day, every day. We were together a little over a year when we first got pregnant. At this time I had no issue with discussing the pregnancy with him; we have always had great communication with each other, anytime we feel any angst or tension we are able to talk it out. I had no fear that he would be “mad” or “angry” with me, or blame me for getting pregnant. However, I did not expect his reply.
“Hell yeah, I’m going to be a DAD!”
That response was it for me. It was then, at that moment, I realized Trey was my forever home. I mean I loved him before, but that was something special. Kasen was a new challenge for our relationship, not the baby itself, but for us as a relationship. We were forced to grow up, and fast. Trey decided he wanted to go to college to better his and our family’s future.
For the first three years, we juggled school, work, pregnancy, and early childhood. Trey had school all day and then would return to work for the late night shift. Kasen wasn’t a great sleeper as an infant, or even as a toddler for that metter. On top of not sleeping through the night, he would wake up early, and Trey would be angry. Not angry at Kasen, but angry because he was completely exhausted. There would be mornings where I would have to force Trey to stay awake after getting home at 4 am to finish homework that was due that day. Raising a child with a relentless work and school schedule was a catalyst to some not so fun arguments and disagreements. These were our worst fights; nonetheless, we were always able to talk it out. There were times where Trey and I felt distant as if we were just living in the same house, but still, we grew together. Our issues eased when I decided to go back to work, and the money wasn’t solely on Trey. Having two incomes during this time alleviated a lot of grief and frustration. Also, my income helped pay for our wedding expenses. It seemed after the wedding everything was going to go as planned, back when I planned our lives ten years out. We were both working, school was going well, we were raising a happy child, and then Trey got sick. The odds were against us, but we survived, literally. Our support systems during both diagnoses were outstanding. Our community came together going above and beyond for our family. On top of cancer treatments, our second child finally came. He was our breath of fresh air after a year of chaos.
Our family has reversed roles multiple times, which gives us balance. This has allowed us to understand the hardships each one faces with different aspects of life. We are still a one income family. This round I work full time while Trey plays Mr. Mom. We aren’t loaded nor will we ever be. To be honest, it probably wouldn’t have been any different if we went the “normal path”. Money is still tight from time to time. If something breaks, we can afford to fix it. Our family is comfortable, that is what matters for us. However, if you know the winning lotto numbers holler at your girl. We have our share of struggles. From having to trade off responsibilities, juggling one income, changing roles at home, to even just the usual growing pains. Growing up isn’t easy, but how you look at it is what makes the difference. I look at it as we are creating our own fairy tale. Personally, ours gives me butterflies. Could definitely be a Disney movie, just maybe rated R.
Do I think our way is the right way? No. However, I do not think it was the wrong way either. I think the “correct path” is out dated. Yes, I am talking to you old rocks, us new rocks are making some pretty sweet formations that aren’t moving. I do not feel everyone's journey is the same; this is what makes us unique. For those who haven’t gone down the normal path, keep going, that road isn’t for you. Cross boundaries, take chances, do what is best for you, create your own fairy tale. It is perfectly written for you. I promise it will be your favorite.